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OVW Director’s Message: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Over the past year, we have continued to witness improvements in responses to domestic violence in communities across the country. We have seen the development of specialized domestic violence law enforcement units and prosecution programs, programs that meet the needs of underserved communities, and programs that target children who have witnessed violence at home – just to name a few. But we know there is still more to do.

It is the commitment of those of you who work every day to support the woman who has been abused by her partner, the child who has witnessed violence in his or her home, or to ensure that the abuser is held accountable for his behavior, that keeps the issue of domestic violence at the forefront of our minds. Much of this work is unsung. But at least once a year, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we ask the country to pause and say thank you to the people who have made it a mission in their lives to support and serve victims and to stop the scourge of domestic violence.

At OVW, we recognize that an effective response to domestic violence must emphasize core support services for victims. Building safe homes and safe communities requires access to safe shelter and housing, law enforcement protection, access to justice and economic opportunity. Victim service agencies play an integral role in the lives of domestic violence victims and survivors, and OVW has prioritized deepening and strengthening these service agencies. Without these protections, victims are potentially forced to make life-threatening decisions.