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October 12, 2012

Observances

October is Domestic Violence Prevention Month

Helping to prevent domestic violence in the Fort McCoy community is everybody’s role.

Terry Rogalla, Fort McCoy Family Advocacy Program Manager (FAPM), said October is observed as Domestic Violence Prevention Month throughout the Department of Defense. The theme is “Don’t Turn Your Back on Domestic Violence.”
IMAGE: Domestic Violence Prevention poster

“The concept is the campaign can be successful when everyone plays a role in prevention,” Rogalla said. “And no one assumes that prevention is someone else’s job.”

The key to help prevent domestic violence is to take steps before a situation gets out of hand, he said.

Rogalla said domestic violence reporting can be done by two methods — restricted and unrestricted.

Restricted reporting can be done to certain personnel, such as Victim Advocates, the FAPM, and Military Medical providers. When possible, the information is kept confidential and the incident is not reported to the chain of command or investigated by authorities, he said.

“The one (mitigating) factor in all of this is if it’s an incident that someone is in imminent danger,” he said. “Then the goal is to ensure everyone involved is safe so the report may not be able to be restricted.”

Rogalla said unrestricted reporting means the incident is reported up the chain of command and is investigated. Making an unrestricted report doesn’t automatically end a Soldier’s career; it actually may save it by getting the Soldier the help he/she needs, he said. If the abuser takes the necessary steps, such as securing counseling or going through a program to correct the situation and no more violence occurs, often that will be the end of the case.

Carol Smith, the new contracted victim advocate for Army Community Service (ACS), most recently worked as a volunteer in Colchester, Ill. Smith said she has seen many situations of domestic abuse and can bring her experience with community services to assist members of the Fort McCoy community.

Fort McCoy’s military population is unique. Many military Families live in the local communities and can choose between using installation or community services, Smith said.

“I’m not afraid to share my experiences,” Smith said. “The worst thing that can happen is letting someone stymie the process so it gets worse and worse. If you need help, get help.”

Rogalla said Fort McCoy also partners with the Brighter Tomorrows organization in the local communities. Brighter Tomorrows has offices in Sparta and Tomah and has a 24/7 hotline (888-886-2327) for people to call with suspected cases of domestic violence.

Anyone wanting more information about domestic violence can stop by the displays that will be available during the month of October at the Exchange, building 1538; McCoy’s, building 1571; and the Community Activity Center, building 2000. Questions about domestic violence prevention and intervention can be directed to ACS, building 2111, at 608-388-3505/2412.

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