ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
An average of 20 people per minute are victims of abuse in the United States. Local child protective services received an estimated 3.4 million referrals of children being abused or neglected in 2012 according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, emotional abuse, sexual assault, or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control committed by a spouse, partner, family member, or roommate against another. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“We recognize the devastation domestic violence causes families,” said Kayla Ogo, 36th Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy education services facilitator. “We help to build and sustain healthy communities by developing, implementing and evaluating policies designed to prevent and treat child and spouse maltreatment.”
The Family Advocacy Program is dedicated to domestic abuse prevention, education, investigation, intervention and treatment. They promote healthy relationships among military families through the use of marital or relationship counseling, domestic violence reporting options, outreach events and couples communication classes.
Every October, the Family Advocacy Program team coordinates activities on Andersen Air Force Base to promote awareness of domestic violence reporting and care options. Some of the events held this year included the Combat Domestic Violence Relay Challenge and an information fair.
The information fair featured helping agencies and support services from Andersen AFB, Naval Base Guam and the local community. Participating organizations showcased their services to inform the public of the available resources on Guam.
The goal of FAP is to encourage people to examine their own behavior and take steps to learn and practice healthier behaviors. Staff members are trained to respond to incidents of abuse and neglect, support victims, and offer prevention and treatment.
“By educating our Airmen and families on the effects and impacts of domestic violence, the chances of preventing an incident of abuse increases,” said Shawn Wilson, 36th MDOS family advocacy representative and clinical counselor. “By learning the skills to effectively communicate in a disagreement and get through the tough times, couples will be able to build stronger, healthier, and happier relationships. The ability to communicate well and manage one's emotions is beneficial in all aspects of life.”
Members of Team Andersen affected by domestic violence in any way, may seek help from support agencies on base such as Military and Family Life Counselors, Mental Health and the Chapel.
Each individual who is a victim of domestic violence has the option of either making a restricted or unrestricted report. An unrestricted report is for victims who want the military chain-of-command to know about an incident and want to have it investigated. A restricted report allows victims of abuse to report details of the abuse to victim advocates, FAP and health care providers to access services or care without their command's involvement. However, if a restricted report becomes known to their command outside of those listed above, the incident will then be investigated as if it were an unrestricted report. In addition, if safety becomes a concern, the family advocacy officer has the discretion to change a restricted report to an unrestricted report. A limitation of a restricted report is the individual’s command's inability to implement safety measures, such as military no-contact orders.
Domestic violence is an offense under the United States Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and state law. Regulations require military and Department of Defense officials to report any suspicion of family violence to their chain of command. This includes commanders, first sergeants, supervisors, medical personnel and military police.
To report domestic abuse, people should contact the FAP office at 366-5167 during normal duty hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. To arrange counseling with a Chaplain, call the Chapel Center at 366-6139. For after duty hours, call Command Post at 366-2981 or emergency cases 911.