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Domestic violence awareness: Part One

In the U.S. as a whole, one domestic violence crime is recorded every 15 seconds.

October is national Domestic Violence Awareness month, and Minnesota is making efforts to raise awareness about this pervasive problem. The goal in addressing this topic is to educate people about spousal violence and the various resources available to help protect victims from relationship abuse.

According to a report published by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, the domestic violence awareness movement helped 268 women and children in 2011. The MCBW also reports that in 2011, 34 people were killed due to domestic violence, including women, children and a police officer, among others. The MCBW has drawn attention to the fact that cases of domestic violence against Native Americans, immigrants, refugees, rural residents and other minority groups are often not reported upon in conventional media.

The efforts made by the MCBW and other domestic violence prevention organizations will likely help numerous victims of spousal abuse to come forward and seek help. A number of laws, support programs and social service organizations exist that can assist victims of violence in the home to safely leave their abusive situations.

Under Minnesota law, victims of domestic violence may petition for orders of protection from a court. Such an order prohibits the victim's abusive partner or spouse from having any contact with the victim or the victim's children until the court can review the case in a hearing. Violations of a protective order are taken seriously and can lead to jail time..

No one deserves to be battered by their partner. Though it can be psychologically and logistically difficult for a victim to leave a dangerous relationship, there is no shortage of people who will help the individual seek protection and eventually begin a new life free from violence.

Source: Lake County News-Chronicle, "Spousal violence awareness in Lake County" Tammy Francois, Oct. 4, 2012

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