By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

It can be the cashier at the grocery store or the man who delivers the mail.

It can be the little girl on her bicycle in the neighborhood, the boy on the merry go round or the small child crying in the department store.

There is no face of domestic violence. There isn't a specific gender, age group, religion or race it targets. It does not care about socioeconomic background, marital status or sexual preference.

Domestic violence doesn't discriminate, and it is a prevalent issue in the community.

So far, in 2009 there have been an average of 31 reported family violence cases every month in Copperas Cove. April was the highest with 39 and July was lowest at 23.

The Coryell County Sheriff's Office reported an average of seven cases a month this year, with a peak of 16 cases in May.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month to help raise awareness surrounding the issue.

Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence every year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men every year, according to data collected by the Domestic Violence Resource Center Web site.

"It's an ongoing problem that officers deal with on a daily basis," said Copperas Cove Police Department Lt. Daniel Austin.

Austin said domestic violence was as big an issue 26 years ago when he started with the police department as it is today.

What is domestic violence

Domestic violence isn't just a black eye or being physically abused.

It is defined as "a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner," according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline Web site.

Domestic violence includes intimidation, stalking, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, emotional and verbal abuse and isolation by a family member or partner.

"Any threat - terrorist, or threat of assault or bodily harm, physical or sexual assault can be considered family violence," Austin said.

The results of domestic violence can be permanent and include changes in a person's behavior and ability to maintain healthy relationships, physical disability and death.

Children who witness domestic violence can be negatively affected, and can continue the behavior.

The Numbers

According to statistical data from the NDVH, on average more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.

One in three women has been beaten or coerced into sex during their lifetime.

Ninety-four percent of the offenders in murder-suicides were male, 74 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner and 75 percent of all murder-suicides occur in the home.

Per U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Statistics, three percent of male homicide victims were killed by an intimate partner.

Getting Help

The Coryell Crime Victims' Office serves victims in the county.

Trinity Grogan, the administrative assistant for the office, said more than 60 percent of cases that go through the office are domestic violence related.

Though the office assists all victims of crime, Grogan said they "focus on the younger generation because it's in their head that its okay how their partner treats them.

"It's important for people to know that we exist and the police care," she said.

The Families in Crisis shelter in Killeen assists family violence and sexual assault victims in a three-county area that includes Bell, Coryell and Hamilton counties.

The shelter provides emergency shelter, food, clothing and personal items, transportation assistance, counseling, support groups and referrals to legal, medical, law enforcement and social service agencies.

Susan Moore, the shelter's director of programs, said 564 people stayed at the shelter last year. Two hundred were helped through outreach, and 3,665 calls were received.

Moore said the number of cases being reported has increased over the years.

"I don't know if it's more awareness or more incidents," she said.

Grogan said some individuals who come in have been victims for several years.

For those trying to escape an abusive environment, Grogan said it's important to have a plan, have pertinent materials like identification, social security cards, birth certificates, immunization records and medication and a bag with clothes and money.

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