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Domestic violence risks increased for military families

Military members who have served in combat situations are responsible for over one-fifth of the domestic violence incidents in the U.S. This is thought to be because of the high incidence of post-traumatic stress syndrome. While the military and civilian sectors have focused on the high number of suicides within the military community, little has been done to address the increasing risks of violence against intimate partners of military members.

The U.S. has seen a decrease in domestic violence incidents overall; however, between 2006 and 2011, reports of these incidents involving someone associated with the military has increased by more than 33 percent. According to research, service members who have PTSD are "significantly more likely to perpetrate violence toward their partners." Some of the statistics from the research is very disturbing, with 80 percent of veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD committing an act of violence in the past 12 months. Fifty percent of those veterans committed an extremely violent act, such as shooting, stabbing, or strangling another person.

In many cases, the victims of military domestic violence are hesitant to report such incidents because there is a chance that the member's income would be lost, as could military health insurance, housing and retirement benefits.

Other troubling statistics include an increase in domestic violence charges against soldiers at Fort Carson, Colorado, by 250 percent between 2006 and 2009 and domestic violence in the Army rose 177 percent between 2003 and 2010, according to the New York Times and the Department of Defense, respectively.

Military domestic violence is a problem that needs to be addressed in a more complete manner, with more resources available for victims. However, domestic violence is still a problem in the civilian community. Victims of domestic violence do have options available and a Colorado family law attorney can provide more information.

Source: SFGate, "High risk of military domestic violence on the home front" Stacy Bannerman, Apr. 04, 2014

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