A grant has been awarded to a Central Indiana group to increase awareness about domestic violence and its traumatic effect on survivors.
Indiana domestic abuse reports involving intimate partners topped 6,000 in 2021, up from nearly 5,700 the previous year.
The Domestic Violence Network received nearly $233,000 from the City of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Foundation.
Rebecca Berry, strategic collaboration specialist for the Domestic Violence Network, said the funding will be used to create a three-year strategic plan to address the demographics with the highest rates of domestic violence, although she noted it can happen to anyone.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of job you have, it doesn’t matter what kind of partner you have, it doesn’t matter how much money you have,” Berry pointed out. “Domestic violence does not discriminate.”
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported around 31% of women will experience domestic violence. For Black women, it increases to 40%.
Berry noted the definition of abuse has broadened to include more than physical and sexual violence. Stalking, withholding access to phones or birth control, harming pets, and manipulating a partner’s emotions, finances or social media presence can be equally damaging.
A person being abused is often hesitant to seek help out of fear, shame or not having a place to escape. But during the pandemic, some Indiana shelters were under capacity due to shutdown safety protocols, according to a 2020 report by the state.
Berry explained the grant funding will be used for outreach to those who may be in unhealthy relationships.
“We want to link in trauma, and the ways that we have grown up, the ways that we have experienced our lives as children,” Berry outlined. “So many times, those who are causing harm or perpetuating violence in an intimate partner relationship have also experienced a household where there is also domestic violence.”
Service providers for abuse survivors also note they’re seeing more cases involving the use of guns. The Domestic Violence Network said in 2020, 33 out of 41 domestic violence-related deaths involved a firearm.