Preventing domestic violence and other types of abuse can be difficult.
Many variables play a role in triggering abusive situations, but there’s help available on Redstone.
“There are so many variables that cause triggers because our experiences are so unique and different. Therefore our triggers are unique and different as well,” Tim Rolfe, the Family Advocacy Program manager, said.
Each situation is unique, but Rolfe combats that by providing a variety of educational and awareness events throughout the year.
The program is part of Army Community Service and serves active duty military, Reserve and National Guard members and their families.
The program will hold various lunch and learns and other events throughout the year like a personal safety class during Domestic Violence Awareness month in October and a 5K race in April for Child Abuse Awareness month.
One of the keys to prevention lies in educating families on how to communicate and manage their emotions, according to Rolfe.
“Healthy communication often times can prevent escalation,” he said. “It can prevent the situation from turning physical. If we’re learning to manage our stress, we’re less likely to engage in aggressive and violent behaviors.
“When we learn resiliency skills, we’re more likely to in stressful situations and not resort to, you know, the name-calling, degrading, the physical intimidation and violence.”
Another stressor Rolfe pointed out was differing parenting philosophies. Families can get help navigating those waters, too.
The victim advocate program has two ways a person can report abuse and get help.
The first is restricted reporting.
According to Rolfe, when someone chooses to report domestic violence under the guidelines of restricted reporting, they can disclose the details of their assault to specific individuals like the victim advocate, medical provider or chaplain, and receive medical treatment, counseling, and other services, but this type of reporting doesn’t require a report to command or law enforcement, which would trigger the investigation process.
Unrestricted reporting gives the same access to services to the victim, but it does inform command and law enforcement and trigger an investigation.
Rolfe said there is a victim advocate on staff to help people navigate those choices and find help.
There are several ways to reach out for assistance. Army Community Service is located at building 3443 on Aerobee Road. Its main number is 842-8706. Other resources include Redstone police, 876-2222 or 911; domestic violence victim advocate, 876-5397 (during duty hours) or 508-6613 (after hours); Family Advocacy, 842-8706; Military One Source, 800-342-9647; chaplain, 842-2964; or Behavioral Medicine, 876-9085.
“It takes a community to manage something as complex as family violence,” Rolfe said. “Especially when you have a family that’s so interconnected, and then you have a situation that could potentially pull that family apart, it takes a community of support.”