Swords Events

Domestic Violence Among Veteran Families Seminar was a Success

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We’d like to thank those of you who participated in our domestic violence seminar on March 6 in San Francisco. There was a wealth of information both in the presentations and in the audience as we discussed the importance of addressing domestic violence among veteran families throughout the day.

A wide range of disciplines were represented: Criminal justice professionals, domestic violence organizations, veteran organizations, clinicians, and advocates made for a packed house and a full agenda.

Presentations included:

Starlyn Lara, Institute for Veteran Policy at Swords to Plowshares provided an overview of military/veteran culture, risk and protective factors for violence, as well as the intersection of violence with service-related mental and cognitive health issues such as post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

View Swords to Plowshares Presentation

Claire McCullough, La Casa de Las Madres‘ curriculum focused on understanding the basic dynamics of domestic violence, understanding domestic violence among veteran families, appropriate screening, and how to safely and appropriately engage with victims of domestic violence.

View La Casa de Las Madres Presentation

Handouts: Power Control Wheel, La Casa de las Madres Snapshot, LEAP safety plan

Rachael Guerra and Elizabeth Brett presented on the Veteran Justice Outreach Program at the VA. Their presentation provided information on services for justice-involved veterans and veteran treatment courts. The Department of Veteran Affairs’ VJO program helps justice-involved veterans suffering from PTS or other mental health issues be routed to treatment diversion programs and reentry services. They work with public defenders, providers, community and veterans organizations and the courts.

View VJO Presentation

Duncan MacVicar, CA Veterans Legal Task Force provided information on Veteran Treatment Courts, which focuses on the special circumstances impacting the lives of veterans facing criminal charges, and routes eligible veterans to treatment programs in lieu of conviction and incarceration.

View Veteran court presentation

Staci Martin, Bay Area Legal Aid covered the legal options for domestic violence survivors, including civil restraining orders, other family law, housing protections, public benefits eligibility for abused immigrants, and the criminal justice system.

View Bay Area Legal Aid Presentation

Handout: Civil Restraining Orders Timeline

Hamish Sinclair and Jocelyn Ryder, manalive/womanalive covered hands-on violence intervention strategies through a peer-led, treatment intervention perspective. The training will focus on sensible and effective strategies and skills to stop violence, as well as discuss peer-led treatment strategies for survivors of domestic violence.

View manalive/womanalive presentation

Additional Reports mentioned during the Seminar:

Alliance of Military and Veteran Behavioral Health Providers. Domestic Violence Resource Guide for Program Staff. October 2011.

Battered Women’s Justice Project.Victim Advocate Guide- Intimate Partner Violence and the Combat Experience. April 2011.

Battered Women’s Justice Project. Collaborating for Safety: Coordinating the Military and Civilian Response to Domestic Violence, Elements and Tools. 2010.

CA Veterans Legal Task Force. Profile of 100 Incarcerated Veterans; Alameda County, California. February 2012.

Swords to Plowshares. Domestic Violence Roundtable Findings. April 2011.

Statistics Related to Veterans and Domestic Violence:

Often, learned military skills and tactics such as hyper-vigilance and rapid response to threatening encounters that enhance survival in combat may translate to aggressiveness, impulsivity, arrest, and potential for incarceration in the civilian community. (Elbogen et al, 2007)

A study of OIF/OEF veterans showed that 60% of veterans in families who were referred for a mental health evaluation at a VA center experienced Inter-personal violence (IPV) with 53.7% reporting “shouting, pushing or shoving.” (Sayers et al, 2009)

Transition phases (deployment and reintegration) cause increased stress on the family and have been linked to child mistreatment. (Sogomonyan and Cooper, 2010)

Veterans who return with mental health disorders are at risk for increased IPV. (Marshall et al, 2005)

There is a significant link between the severity of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and IPV severity. (Gerlock, 2004)

In the Army domestic violence has risen 33 percent, and child abuse rose 43 percent in the last four years (Army 2012)

Additional Resources:

Bay Area Legal Aid Advice Line: 1-800-551-5554

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK