Domestic violence comes in many forms, from sexual assault to mental abuse. October is a month to raise awareness of that.
Across the nation, 1.3 million women are victims of physical abuse by an intimate partner each year, according to National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (NCADV). The coalition also states most cases of domestic abuse are never reported to the police.
Rural Iowa Crisis Center, the domestic and sexual abuse center in Creston, lost federal funding, and was forced to close Aug. 1.
Since then, Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center (CIAC), located in Adel, added Adams, Ringgold, Taylor and Union counties to its list of Adair, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Guthrie and Madison counties.
CIAC serves domestic and sexual abuse victims from its Adel office, and shelter services are available in Council Bluffs.
“Since the crisis center closed, the (new) center is based now out of Adel. We still have the same services,” said Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer. “They still have access to a counselor or an advocate.”
According to Creston Police reports, there were 161 reports of domestic violence in Creston in 2012. These reports included both verbal threats and physical violence.
Of those 161 reports, 48 incident reports were taken.
“These were ones where there was physical violence,” said Ver Meer, “or we could prove there was domestic abuse.”
Ver Meer said the number of reports “seems about the norm” based on past years.
The most common reports in Creston are verbal incidents, which are usually in the form of an argument. However, physical domestic abuse incidents still occur.
“I think there’s more incidents of domestic violence than are reported,” Ver Meer said.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is behavior that is threatening, abusive or coercive “aimed at gaining power and control over an intimate partner,” according to the website for Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV).
Violence can occur in physical, mental or sexual form.
NCADV states one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and 15 percent of domestic abuse victims are male.
In Iowa, there are several organizations that focus on domestic and sexual violence and how to protect women, children and men from it.
Iowa Coalition against Sexual Assault, ICADV, Children and Families of Iowa and other organizations are located in Des Moines, Ames, Iowa City, Mason City and Ottumwa, to name a few.
Currently, CIAC is the only local domestic violence organization in Union County.