Museum’s Domestic Violence Awareness Program Addresses Societal Problem Recognized by Congress

Museum’s Domestic Violence Awareness Program Addresses Societal Problem Recognized by Congress

In the United States, violence against women, especially intimate partner violence or domestic violence (DV), is a troubling reality.  According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in four women are beaten or raped by a partner during adulthood.  And between a quarter and half of domestic violence victims report that DV was partly responsible for losing a job.  Aside from the physical and emotional damage DV can cause, the financial costs to society are also high.  The cost of intimate partner violence annually exceeds $5.8 billion, including $4.1 billion in direct health care expenses.
Domestic violence is a troubling reality and a dangerous call for law enforcement.

However, domestic violence doesn’t just affect the women experiencing it.  The 15.5 million children who witness adult domestic violence each year are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, and engage in other dangerous behaviors.  If the child who witnesses the violence is a boy, he’s almost four times more likely to perpetrate domestic violence as an adult.  Law enforcement officers are affected, too.  Domestic disturbance calls are the most dangerous disturbance calls law enforcement can take, according to FBI and National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund data.  You can learn more about the effects of DV in this report from the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Eighteen years ago, the federal government passed a landmark bill recognizing that law enforcement and the community, working together, had a very important role to play in responding to this kind of violence.  The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, is part of the reason domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are crimes with which law enforcement is more engaged.  Their engagement contributes to a significant reduction in intimate partner violence, but also, unfortunately, increases the danger of their jobs.

As reauthorization of VAWA makes its way through Congress, it’s a good time to reflect on the fact that domestic violence remains a problem for which the whole community can offer support.  The National Law Enforcement Museum has made a commitment to addressing the problem, which is very much in keeping with its mission to “build mutual respect and foster cooperation between the public and the law enforcement profession,” thereby “contribut[ing] to a safer society.”

The Facilitator’s Guide illustrates how a school-based facilitator can help an elementary school community develop and implement a plan for identifying and supporting students exposed to domestic violence.
The Museum’s Domestic Violence Awareness Program (DVAP) is a unique offering, bringing together elementary school teachers, administrators, counselors, law enforcement, and community service organizations to support the students who witness domestic violence at home.  The DVAP empowers facilitators based at local elementary schools who help school staff learn how to identify students exposed to DV, as well as assemble Community-School Leadership teams. The Leadership teams foster partnerships with law enforcement and community organizations to connect students witnessing DV to people who can offer students help.  A facilitator’s guide, training materials, templates, coordinated action plan flowcharts, and more have all been created and are currently available on the Museum’s website for use by schools across the country.

We encourage elementary school administrators and staff, as well as parents, caregivers, and anyone who has a connection to schools, to learn more about this important way to support young students.  Receiving support at this crucial time in their lives can make a world of difference to the young people who witness domestic violence at home, both now and in the future.  Please contact Becky Fulcher, Education Programs Specialist, at or 202.737.7981 with any questions about the Domestic Violence Awareness Program.


901 E Street, NW, Suite 100 | Washington, DC 20004-2025 | phone 202.737.3400 | fax 202.737.3405 |