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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Each year in October time is set aside to reflect on the problem of domestic violence, to raise awareness about its many warning signs, and to spread the word about the important programs and services that are available to victims and families hurt by intimate partner violence. First and foremost, it is important to remember that domestic violence can happen to anyone — men as well as women — and it has no socioeconomic or racial/ethnic boundaries.

Many people think that domestic violence is physical abuse, and it often is. Common examples of physical abuse include scratching, biting, spitting, pushing, kicking, etc., which often results in cuts, contusions or even broken bones. Physical abuse can also be much more violent and include an attack with a weapon, resulting in serious physical injuries, even death.Food, sleep deprivation, or locking an intimate partner out of the house (or in the house) is also physical abuse.

Other forms of power and control can also be domestic violence; for example, verbal/emotional abuse, which can include verbal attacks of vulnerabilities or public humiliation, threatening violence or harm, threatening violence or harm to children or pets, or threatening to kidnap or take custody of the children. Sometimes psychological abuse occurs; common forms include undercutting the victim’s sense of reality, or playing mind games such as denying previous abusive incidents. Economic abuse is used to control the victim by controlling household income — making it hard to leave — sabotaging attempts to go to work or to school, and running up credit cards in the partner’s name.

For more than 36 years, Lassen Family Services has met the needs of families torn apart by domestic violence in Lassen County. All programs and services are free. Survivors are immediately provided basic needs (shelter, food, clothing, and transportation) and advocacy (restraining order assistance, court and hospital accompaniment, financial assistance, employment, education, child care, and housing), and help acquiring medical, dental and mental health care.

Beyond immediate crisis care, Lassen Family Services also strives to help victims on their journeys to healing and empowerment. Long-term peer counseling and prevention education is provided by certified domestic violence and sexual assault peer counselors.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. In a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. In a non-emergency situation, help can be found at Lassen Family Services by calling the 24-hour Crisis Line at 530-257-5004 or toll free at 888-289-5004.

More information is also available at www.lassenfamilyservices.org or at the business offices, 1306 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA, 530-257-4599.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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