Advocates Want To Improve Kentucky's Response To Domestic Violence. So, They've Created A Survey.

Oct 15, 2021 at 3:00 pm
As many as one in four U.S. women and one in nine men are domestic violence victims, according to federal data.
As many as one in four U.S. women and one in nine men are domestic violence victims, according to federal data. Adobe Stock

The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence has launched a statewide survey for Domestic Violence Awareness Month to better understand survivors experiences and needs.

More than 45% of Kentucky women and more than 35% of men have experienced intimate partner violence.

Katie French, senior program specialist for research at the Coalition, said people who visit its website to complete the online survey or sign up for focus groups can help shape the standards of care for future survivors. They'll also be compensated with up to $60 in gift cards.

French noted advocacy groups are looking for more innovative approaches to shelter housing.

"Is that still working for survivors?" French inquired. "Or is there a way, a better way to be able to house them, help them get them on their own feet, and to better be able to receive domestic violence services?"

She added the survey has been designed to protect survivors' safety and identity. Anyone experiencing domestic violence, or who knows someone at risk, can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. For a map of regional shelters in the state, visit kcadv.org.

Sherry Currens, who was one of the first KCADV employees in 1981 and retired as executive director in 2019, said the state has come a long way in understanding domestic violence as a serious public health issue that affects all communities.

"When I started, police literally would arrive at a home and walk the perpetrator around the block, giving him time to 'cool off,'" Currens recounted. "And that's really changed."

Angela Yannelli, current executive director of KCADV, said this year's 40th anniversary is the perfect time to listen to the experiences of survivors. She added the pandemic has shed light on the root causes of intimate partner violence, and the need to be flexible in providing services

"But we also need to put resources and efforts into primary prevention," Yannelli urged. "We have to stop the violence before it first happens."

Research indicates domestic violence-related calls and arrests spiked in many regions of the country during the first few months of the pandemic, when many states and cities implemented stay-at-home orders.

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