Time to Change: A Social Worker’s Perspective on Domestic Violence

By Katie Earl, LMSW

Every day I have the privilege to help older adults in abusive situations. These are individuals who, through no fault of their own, are victimized by someone they know and love. When I think of October, I automatically think of Domestic Violence Awareness Month because of my work. I strongly support the mission of this month because it means raising awareness about domestic violence in our society. More than that, Domestic Violence Awareness Month celebrates the work being done to combat this problem, shows support for the victims and survivors, and remembers those who have died at the hands of a partner or family member.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic Violence affects every corner of our society equally. This is an epidemic and happening to people of all ages, sexual orientations, genders, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.”1 Victims and survivors may be experiencing one or multiple types of abuse at a time.

In the United States, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. 2

You can make a difference.

We all deserve to live safely and with dignity. We are all in a position to take action against domestic violence. If you or someone you know may be in a domestic violence situation, please know that help is available. Contact the New York State Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-942-6906 or 711 for Deaf or Hard of Hearing. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Please contact 911 in the event of an emergency.

Get involved.

The Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence is a member driven organization established in 1978, which engages in social change activism to dismantle the root causes of domestic violence at the individual, organizational, and institutional level.3 For more information about the coalition, please visit their website at www.eccafv.org. The Coalition and other community organizations in Erie County have several events scheduled throughout the month to raise awareness in the community. Below please find a list of events:


9th Annual Spotlight on Domestic Violence on October 11, 2018

Date: Thursday, October 11, 2018

Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Location: Daemen College’s Wick Social Room (Wick Campus Center), 4380 Main Street., Amherst


Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence 40th Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony

Date: Friday, October 12, 2018

Time: 11:30 am – 2 pm

Location: Chef’s Restaurant, 291 Seneca Street, Buffalo

Link to register: http://www.eccafv.org/events/eccafv-40th-annual-luncheon-and-awards-ceremony/


New York Coalition Against Domestic Violence Purple Thursday

Date: Thursday October 18, 2018 – wear purple to support survivors of domestic violence




  1. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. What is Domestic Violence. Retrieved from https://ncadv.org/learn-more
  2. Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J. & Stevens, M. (2011). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2010 summary report. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf.
  3. Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence. (2015). Our Mission. Retrieved from http://www.eccafv.org/about-our-agency/

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