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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Domestic Violence Awareness was observed through the month of October and events were run by Family Advocacy.

The purpose of the month was to inform military families and to draw attention to domestic violence.

“By bringing Domestic Violence Awareness to the forefront, we are saying this is a concern not just here at Vandenberg, but Air Force and military wide,” said Christina Thammasen, family advocacy outreach manager. “By bringing it to the table we are already decreasing the stigma, and also letting people know that it happens.”

Family advocacy kicked off the month with booths set up at the wing run offering information and resources to participants.

“This month we’ve visited with the first sergeants,” said Thammasen. “We also have couple’s communication classes going on right now. Both are prevention work.”

One of the key points of Domestic Violence Awareness month is prevention and identifying issues before bigger problems arise.

“We want people to come in through our doors and feel comfortable getting the services from us before something occurs,” said Thammasen.

Through family advocacy, victims can receive counseling with the options of restricted and unrestricted reporting.

 “We can also connect families with whatever services they need,” said Anna Banda, domestic abuse victim advocate. “Once they come in contact with us, we find out the individual needs of the family and connect them with services either on or off base.”

Airman who are going through a permanent change of station also have the option to be connected with the gaining base’s family advocacy at their next duty location so they don’t have to wait to continue with services, said Banda.

To help anyone you know who may be experiencing domestic violence, know the signs and symptoms and don’t be afraid to speak about it.

“I think one of the biggest things that people don’t realize is that their voice matters,” said Banda. “When someone speaks up and says something, just asking the person if they are okay and checking in on them if you see some of the signs of an abusive relationship and guiding and connecting them to someone that can provide assistance to them is important.”

It really does just take one person to speak out, said Thammasen.

For more information on how to help those suffering with domestic violence, you can contact The Family Advocacy Program at (805)-606-8217 or the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate Emergency line at (805)-222-6755.