October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Voni Hovland is the Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Program Coordinator at the St. Cloud V.A.  She says the program focuses on three areas; screening for intimate partner violence, raising awareness and providing intervention.  Hovland indicates at the VA they screen veterans annually.  She says most people want their healthcare providers to ask about domestic violence because it tends to be a safe place to talk about it.

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Hovland explains that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience domestic violence in their lifetime.  She says veterans are at least twice as likely to experience it.  Hovland indicates this isn't because veterans are more violent but rather life stresses that they've had.  This can include military stresses or experiences, substance abuse or other life stresses.

photo courtesy of St. Cloud V.A.
photo courtesy of St. Cloud V.A.

The St. Cloud V.A. does screening for both those who could be the ones committing the domestic violence (or users) and those who are experiencing domestic violence.  Hovland explains this violence can be physical but can also be psychological or both.

In recognition of domestic violence awareness month employees at the St. Cloud V.A. Thursday will be wearing purple.  Hovland says this is a great way to bring attention to intimate partner violence.  St. Cloud V.A. Public Affairs Officer Barry Venable says early prevention is key and that is what Voni's program does.  He says recognizing signs early and getting some help is what they are trying to do.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Voni Hovland, Joy Finkelson and Barry Venable of the St. Cloud V.A. it is below.



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