It doesn't take a special month for Army Community Service employees to work to prevent domestic violence.
On a regular basis, officials say, classes focused on communication, anger and stress management, and conflict resolution are held to help people deal with situations.
The Army has set aside October to put a focus on the prevention of domestic violence.
"This month is so critical because it allows us at least once a year to put a spotlight on the hushed topic of domestic violence," said Vanessa Stanley, Fort Gordon's Community Service chief.
There is a 24-hour hot line for victims of domestic violence. Staff members work as victims' advocates by providing them with resources to escape dangerous situations, she said.
Giving someone the advice to simply leave an abusive situation might be more difficult than it sounds, Ms. Stanley said.
"With military spouses, if they are the victims, they may be hesitant to report it and leave because their livelihood will be cut. They think they can't take care of themselves," said Frances Maxwell, a family advocacy prevention specialist.
Many victims are isolated. With military families sometimes being far away from home and their built-in support systems, the isolation can be even more pronounced, she said.
Victims of domestic violence should set aside an extra set of keys in case the spouse takes the keys. Victims should have clothing, important documents such as a birth certificate and identifying papers, and money in a separate location.
"There are stories of victims leaving the house in the middle of the night in their nightgowns with no proof of identification and no clothing," Ms. Stanley said.
Community Service has networked with the surrounding communities to provide as many resources as possible, she said.
Though most of the victims are female, Ms. Stanley and her staff said they know there are many male victims. Sometimes men, however, are less likely to report the abuse because of pride issues, she said.
Sharon Sullins, a victim advocate, said commanders should look for signs that all is not well in the home and act on them.
"Sometimes, they may have an inkling that something is not right. They can reach out to our office," she said. "There is help out there."
The Community Service emergency hot line number is (706) 791-6297. For more information, call (806) 791-3579.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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