By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
Leaders at Fort Hood want to stop domestic violence before it starts.
In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, units across post organized a Stand Down Day on Thursday.
The day is organized each year to "recognize those who have been impacted by domestic violence, to educate and create awareness of the signs of domestic violence and the resources available to victims," according to information from Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
The day started with a proclamation-signing ceremony at the Installation Commander's Stand Down Day Breakfast and Senior Leaders' Training, and was followed by a Unit Commander and First Sergeant Training.
Individual units then met.
Sgt. 1st Class Dietra Woods spoke to more than 100 III Corps soldiers and handed out information on how to spot warning signs that could lead to domestic abuse. Experts from Fort Hood's police station, Family Advocacy Program, Child and Youth Services and the Chaplain's Office were also on hand to speak to the soldiers.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone at anytime, Woods said, so it is important that soldiers get this training.
Units returning from war also get similar training.
Sgt. 1st Class Jacqueline White led 250 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division soldiers through a session and said the information is important because deployments put considerable stress on families and they may be faced with situations they are not used to.
Training like this helps solders understand that domestic violence is real and that there are resources on and off post to help.
This kind of awareness also shows soldiers that their leaders are serious about stopping domestic violence and Fort Hood is behind them 100 percent, Woods said.
Military families experiencing domestic abuse don't have to stand alone or suffer in silence, according to information from www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil.
"Every installation that supports families has a Family Advocacy Program to provide services for families experiencing domestic abuse. Most installations also have victim advocates who can help victims plan how to stay safe if they want to remain with their partner or if they have decided to leave," read information from the Web site.
Fort Hood offers resources including Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center's Department of Social Work, New Parent Support Program and other classes through Army Community Services. For more information, visit www.hoodmwr.com/acs.
Fort Hood also offers a 24/7 Victim Services Crisis Hotline at (254) 702-4953 and an abuse hotline at (254) 287-CARE.
During the month of October, purple ribbons will be made available at various locations around post, according to information from Morale, Welfare and Recreation. Participants can show their support of the survivors and victims of domestic violence by wearing or displaying a purple ribbon.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547