Weekly Radio Address: Senator Cain says: Domestic violence impacts every community and we must all work together to help end the scourge of domestic violence
Home is where the heart is. But for too many of our friends and neighbors, home is also where the hurt is.
Last year, Maine police reported more than 5,500 incidents of domestic violence in Maine. Forty-five percent of arrests for assault, and fifty percent of homicides in Maine are domestic violence related. And just this week, the tragedy and loss of life in Old Town because of domestic violence made the headlines yet again.
In Maine, we estimate that 27,000 youth have direct exposure to domestic violence each year, leading to a lifetime of exposure. Domestic violence creates safety risks in the workplace, and places an extraordinary burden on our healthcare system.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month—an opportunity to evaluate our efforts, and think about what we can do in the coming year to help prevent domestic violence, and ensure survivors have the tools they need to get help, recover, and stay safe.
Good morning, this is State Senator Emily Cain of Orono.
Domestic violence and abuse is a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person in a relationship to gain control or power over another person. It can be physical or verbal abuse, emotional or psychological intimidation, even isolating the victim from friends and family.
And anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.
Domestic violence impacts every community. People of all ages, income levels, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and education levels experience domestic violence.
Throughout my time in the legislature, I have sponsored and passed several bills to help end the scourge of domestic violence. We have enhanced effectiveness of community response through risk assessment. We have increased accountability within the criminal justice system through improvements in the management of bail and strangulation assault cases. And we are now requiring domestic violence training for mental health professionals.
Healthcare workers are often the first resource for people experiencing domestic violence. In fact, research shows overwhelmingly that those experiencing domestic violence would prefer to talk with their doctor about what is happening, rather than a counselor or religious adviser.
This is yet another reason it is so important to provide a family doctor for every family.
Domestic violence is a complicated issue because it involves close personal relationships, and often takes place in the private space of the home. A family doctor may well be the first person victims of domestic violence confide in about what they are going through.
When we deny access to healthcare, we deny access to a vital lifeline for people experiencing domestic violence.
Talking to someone about what is happening at home is the first step to getting help.
Once someone experiencing domestic violence has reached out for help, we must do everything we can to ensure they have access to the resources they need to recover.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, is one program that can help. TANF provides financial assistance to help people pay for shelter, food, or utilities—three resources a person leaving a violent home is likely to lose.
In fact, in Maine, 25 percent of the people receiving TANF assistance are escaping domestic violence situations.
Domestic violence impacts every part of the life of a survivor and their family, and it affects our communities. We must be committed to the right to love and be loved in safety and respect, and we must have empathy and show strength to help break the cycle of domestic violence.
If you, or someone you know, needs help or support because of domestic violence or abuse, you can call the state domestic violence hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-834-HELP. That’s 1-800-834-4357.
Together, we can break the cycle of domestic violence.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Emily Cain of Orono. Have a safe and happy weekend.