VA is taking action to address intimate partner violence by earmarking $17 million in funds to support Veterans in need.
The funds will strengthen intimate partner violence assistance programs in VA facilities nationwide.
“VA recognizes that intimate partner violence is a health issue faced by many Veterans and their families,” said Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke. “We are giving careful attention to this program, ensuring it is integrated into clinical care and workplace safety. Both are important to the safety of Veterans and VA employees who report experiencing violence.”
Intimate partner violence affects millions of Americans. The term describes physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples.
Awareness and identification of intimate partner violence among Veterans has increased. Research suggests Veterans may be at greater risk than their civilian counterparts, given the unique stressors posed by military life.
VA’s intimate partner violence assistance program focuses on the individual and works on developing a culture of safety. This holistic approach involves understanding, recognizing and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. The ultimate goals are to end violence, prevent further violence and promote healthy relationships.
The Veterans Health Administration launched the assistance program in January 2014 and has since established assistance program coordinators at more than 115 VA facilities to offer assistance to Veterans, their partners and VA staff. Program coordinators use resources from mental health, primary care, women’s health, Veterans justice outreach and employee occupational health and assistance programs.
The intimate partner violence program also offers intervention through VA and community partnerships that address housing, education and employment needs. This additional funding will allow VA to expand the program to all VA medical centers and build greater awareness of intimate partner violence as a serious health issue.