, WA — VA Puget Sound Health Care System is promoting healthy relationships during Domestic Violence Awareness Month as part of the national call to action to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic and intimate partner violence.
“VA Puget Sound invites everyone to participate in this awareness campaign to stop violence against others by pledging to never commit, excuse or stay silent about sexual harassment, sexual assault or domestic violence against others,” said VA Puget Sound Health Care System Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program Coordinator Becky Barton. “It is critically important everyone, including VA employees, feel welcome and physically and emotionally safe. This means creating an environment—whether at home or at work—that is free from incidents of all types of harassment, including sexual and discriminatory harassment.”
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) can include verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, as well as stalking from a current or former intimate partner. It affects everyone across age, race, sexual orientation, gender, and socioeconomic status. It has far-reaching negative impacts on individuals’ physical, emotional, and social health. Both using violence and experiencing violence have negative effects on the individual, family, and society at large.
There are many experiences that Veterans might have that put them at increased risk for experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence, including post-traumatic stress, military family life stress, separation and isolation, mental health and substance use concerns, loss of trust, moral distress, traumatic brain injury, and increased anger.
“Intimate Partner Violence is too often seen as an individual issue or private issue,” Barton said. “Whether you are experiencing IPV or using violence in relationships, we are here to support you, your relationship health and your safety.”
VA Puget Sound—like all VA care sites—has interventions designed specifically for Veterans who are using violence or aggression or experiencing IPV or in their relationships.
Individuals in immediate danger, should call 911. Individuals wanting assistance can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or one of VA Puget Sound’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program coordinators at 206-716-5784, for additional support, resources, and safety planning. And to learn more about the VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program, visit www.socialwork.va.gov/IPV/Index.asp.
VA has been committed to applying the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) since 2014 to promote safe, healthy relationships for Veterans, their intimate partners and VA staff. More than 90% of VA health care facilities have designated IPVAP coordinators and programs to raise awareness, provide professional development and education, develop professional standards in clinical practice, use data to inform program operations and identify best practices using evidence-based and trauma-informed principles.
The campaign also challenges negative, outdated concepts and inspires people to understand and embrace being part of positive change through awareness-raising, capacity-building, partnerships, outreach, technical assistance, and other educational opportunities. White Ribbon VA supports the continued implementation of the Stand Up to Stop Harassment Now! Campaign launched in VA health care facilities nationwide in fall 2019.