The U.S. Department of Defense is renewing its push to raise awareness about domestic abuse and violence during October, which was declared as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989.
In April, the DOD released a report on child abuse, neglect and domestic abuse within the U.S. military which compiled data collected during the 2022 military fiscal year. In it, defense leadership found that following a downward trend in domestic abuse and neglect, a spike was observed among military families in 2022.
The DOD did note that there appeared to be a "statistically significant decrease" in the number of reports of domestic abuse and neglect among military families in 2022 when it compared that to their 10-year average. But, the military said their data found that the "proportion of adult sexual abuse incidents as a subset of domestic abuse" saw an increase in 2022, when compared to the 10-year average.
In a release this week, the Defense Department called on the military community to try to help prevent more domestic abuse among its ranks and branches, and to support victims.
The DOD said abuse and unhealthy behavior in relationships can extend past just military members, to partners, family, friends, children and those who are living with and dating military members.
Sgt. Maj. Steve Minyard, a senior enlisted adviser to Manpower and Reserve Affairs, said in a statement, "In the military community, we're a family. We look out for one another, on and off the job. If you have concerns about your relationship or someone you know, there are options for reporting domestic abuse."
Resources for military members and others from the DOD include the help and support of the Family Advocacy Program and Military OneSource, which provide help and assistance for victims and those who want to report abuse. Military OneSource provides those who need it a phone contact at 800-342-9647, where a support member can be contacted to take further action.
The DOD said that in 2022, the military received at least 12,107 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. It found that neglect made up the largest portion of reports of child maltreatment, which was followed by physical abuse.
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