28 years after the first “Day of Unity,” domestic violence survivors and those working to end violence continue to come together each October to celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic Violence is an epidemic that spreads violence throughout our communities and harms families across the nation. Any individual is subject to entering an abusive relationship, regardless of gender, race, age and sexual orientation. Because violence does not discriminate, anyone can be a domestic violence offender – including youth (see our blog post on this type of domestic violence). The one constant component is one person’s unwavering efforts to maintain control over the other. This includes physical, mental and sexual abuse perpetrated by one person against another, with frequency and severity varying dramatically.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men have been victims to some degree of domestic violence throughout their lifetime. In order to break the cycle of violence that has transcended through family generations, it is important to address the mental health and family violence patterns at the earliest stage. The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services is addressing this need though the Domestic Violence Respite Program, an alternative to secure detention for youth who are domestic violence offenders, which works to redirect youth and provide counseling on how to build positive relationships with their families.

The Florida Network and our 31 member agencies focus on treating youth that show aggressive behavior to properly address physical and emotional trauma in order to prevent violence in households. One of our goals is to share with our supporters the importance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month so that we may grieve for those we have lost, celebrate those who have survived and encourage victims in an abusive relationship to please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Getting help is possible and The Florida Network is here for you every step of the way.