October is domestic violence awareness month. As your prosecutor, I am focused on seeking justice for victims of violence and will aggressively prosecute these cases. In addition, I want to place emphasis on this topic and the work being done locally during this month of recognition.
Domestic violence unfortunately continues to be one of the most underreported crimes. Statistics show that as much as 42% of women in Indiana have experienced some form of violence by a partner or spouse. These cases remain among the most difficult and complex cases to prosecute and to ensure victim safety in the future.
Domestic violence also impacts children. Children are often not only caught up in violence between domestic partners and spouses, they are also victims themselves. Research by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk indicates the costs of child abuse “exceed those of cancer or heart disease.” We are certainly not immune to the effects of domestic violence and child abuse on children in our community.
When these instances of violence occur, it is difficult for others to understand why victims stay. There are a variety of reasons this can be the case, including feelings of isolation, financial reasons, feelings of fear, isolation, and denial.
Recognizing signs of abuse can help friends and family identify victims and facilitate connecting them to these vital resources. Victims of domestic violence may be isolated, appear depressed, have low self-esteem, or engage in substance abuse. The cycle of violence for victims often comes in three stages. In the first stage, the victim may feel as if they are constantly walking on eggshells. The perpetrator may be easily angered, blame the victim, or argue more often.
Next, the perpetrator may actually attack the victim, physically, sexually, or emotionally. This will often be followed by a “make-up” period where the abuser is apologetic and reassure the victim it will not happen again.
If we are going to make any impact to reduce incidents of violence in our community, we need to ensure victims have access to the information and resources that can help. The Victim Assistant at the Prosecutor’s office can assist with any victim advocacy question. There are also several resources available through Crisis Connection including a 24-hour hotline, prevention programs, emergency and short-term housing, counseling and filing of protective orders.
If we can help more adult and child victims feel protected and supported by increasing awareness of the resources available locally to help them begin again, I am hopeful we will one day break the cycle of abuse.
For more information about resources available within the Prosecutor’s Office, contact our office at 812-482-5725. If you are a victim of violence, a 24-hour help line is available through Crisis Connection, Inc, serving Dubois, Crawford, Daviess, Martin, Orange, Perry, Pike, and Spencer Counties at (800) 245-4580. In an emergency, call 911.
Anthony Quinn is a Dubois County prosecutor in the 57th judicial circuit. He can be reached at email@example.com.