DV collage SMALLLLLLLLLLLLThroughout the month of October, officers and staff of the Benton Police Department, are encouraging people to speak out against domestic violence with the launch of the “If Your Partner Is Violent, Don’t Be Silent” initiative. The BNPD also reminds citizens that domestic violence is not just physical harm. It can be emotional abuse, sexual abuse, manipulation, financial control, stalking and threatening.

“Domestic violence is a crime that we take very seriously, and we take a no tolerance stance on those who violate it,” said Chief Scotty Hodges. “We encourage anyone who is a victim of domestic violence to seek help, and they can do that in a multitude of ways, including contacting us. We also encourage anyone afraid of becoming a victim of domestic violence to get out of that situation and seek help.”

He added, “Domestic violence only escalates. It continuously gets worse.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every minute in the U.S. an average of 20 people are physically abused by a partner. Every 9-seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S., and studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, Benton officers have written 81 citations for Domestic Battery and 61 citations for Assault on a Family or Household Member. In comparison from the same time frame (Jan. 1 – Aug. 31, 2016) Domestic Battery charges have decreased by 12 percent and Assault on a Family or Household Member charges have decreased by 22 percent. But even one domestic violence or assault charge is too many.

During the October initiative, the department staff and officers will provide information via various social media sites, press releases, fliers and pamphlets providing outreach resources for domestic violence/abused victims, and other means available to reach the public.

Domestic violence affects people of all age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and economic status. Statistics show that children in homes where domestic violence occurs are 6 times more likely to commit suicide and 50% more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Those children are also 74% more likely to commit a violent crime against someone else. Of the 1-in-15 children exposed to domestic violence, 90 percent report being an eyewitness to abuse.

An estimated 12 million people are victims of stalking, rape, and/or physical violence by an intimate partner each year and 45% of female rape victims were raped by an intimate partner. Domestic violence has accounted for 20 percent of all violent crimes reported in the U.S. between 2003 and 2012, and 11,766 U.S. women were killed by their male partners during the same time period.

If you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, call and get help. Don’t be afraid to call the Benton Police Department or the Saline County Safe Haven at 501-315-SAFE (7233). You can also contact the Benton Police Department anonymously at 501-315-TIPS or text to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD, or via the official Benton Police Department app found on iTunes and Google Play.

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