Health Beat with Dr. Alicia Arnold: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On Monday morning, Dr. Alicia Arnold joined us to discuss this important topic.

Meghan Kulig: How widespread is the problem?

Dr. Arnold: One out of every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and most incidents are not reported to the police. Less than one fifth of victims of partner violence seek medical treatment after the injury. It's still a topic that some people don't feel comfortable talking about, and we need to change that.

Meghan Kulig: What percentage of victims are women?

Dr. Arnold: It's the majority, about 85 percent, but of course about 15 percent of are men, so men can absolutely be victims too. Women between 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal partner violence.

Meghan Kulig: What are some ways that children in the household are affected?

Dr. Arnold: Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to continue the cycle of abuse with their partners and children when they become adults. Also, between 30 and 60 percent of those who abuse their partners are also abusing children in the household.

Meghan Kulig: Can you tell us a little about the local impact of domestic violence?

Dr. Arnold: There were 52 deaths in Wisconsin last year as a result of domestic violence. Victims ranged from less than one year old to 84 years old. Domestic violence affects all ages, races, and economic classes.

Meghan Kulig: What are a few tips for viewers on how to help a friend or loved one?

Dr. Arnold: You can acknowledge that it is a scary situation, and you are concerned about her or him. Be supportive and non-judgmental. Encourage her or him to talk to people who can help and to develop a safety plan.

Meghan Kulig: What are some resources for individuals who may need help?

Dr. Arnold: The national domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233. Locally in Eau Claire, the Bolton Refuge House is also a wonderful resource. You can talk with your healthcare provider as well.

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