LANSING — Throughout the month of October, members of the Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus will be working with their colleagues in the state Legislature on policies to better support victims and survivors of domestic violence in the state of Michigan. Last week, state Rep. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) introduced and the House adopted House Resolution 167 to declare October 2017 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the state of Michigan. 

“Domestic violence is a serious problem affecting too many Michigan families. By raising awareness and taking concrete steps to pass public policy to address this issue, we will be that much closer to ending domestic violence once and for all,” Rep. Pagan said. “I am pleased the Michigan House of Representatives adopted my resolution recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month with bipartisan support. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we introduce legislation to support individual survivors and hold abusers accountable.”

Domestic violence is considered willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetuated by one intimate partner against another. This can include sexual violence, physical violence and emotional abuse. According to the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence, nearly one in three women and one in ten men have experienced physical or sexual violence or stalking by a partner, resulting in injury, fear, concern for safety or a need for services. On any given day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls made to domestic violence hotlines throughout the country.1 What’s more, it is estimated that 21 percent to 60 percent of domestic violence victims lose their jobs as a result of their abuse.2

“The facts do not lie, and there is simply no denying how pervasive this issue is for millions of Americans. It is past time for us to do better by them,” state Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw) said. “While we have taken significant steps toward addressing domestic violence issues over the last three decades, there is still a great deal of work to be done to create continued awareness, education and action in order to prevent this issue once and for all. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming weeks on introducing meaningful legislation that will provide greater support to victims and survivors.”

Throughout October, the Progressive Women’s Caucus will be working on a series of bills that will address many of the gaps in state law that leave victims and survivors of domestic violence without adequate support. Later in the month, state Rep. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) will be introducing a resolution to urge Congress to preserve and increase funding for domestic violence programs.

“Those who have suffered from domestic violence or sexual assault often face lifelong physical, emotional and psychological effects of their experiences. They should not have to worry about those being compounded by a potential lack of government support,” Rep. Santana said. “Every life is full of value and potential, and as elected officials, it is up to us to ensure that our constituents are provided the assistance they need, which means funding programs that will help them find healing. That is why it is so important that we call on Congress to not only preserve, but increase funding for these critical domestic violence programs.”