Monday, July 19, 2010

Military domestic violence: 'caseload has soared'

Military police records expose domestic violence, counsellors cite Afghanistan
The Canadian Press: Military police records describe spousal assault, hitting, shoving and screaming matches on or near Canadian Forces bases -- family violence that counsellors link to repeated tours in Afghanistan... Charges included aggravated spousal assault, sexual assault, assault on a child, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

Frontline counsellors say police records just scratch the surface because so many victims of domestic abuse don't report it... Therapist Greg Lubimiv of the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families in Pembroke, Ont., says the military caseload has soared... Many military members are now shouldering the residual stress of two, three or four tours in Afghanistan or more, Lubimiv said...

Dianne Power, executive director of the Women in Transition House in Frederickton, near CFB Gagetown, said the number of women seeking help seems to rise after their men return from overseas tours. 'They're saying the situation is abusive... it can manifest itself in everything from increased drug and alcohol usage to violent outbursts.'...

Fran Perreault, whose husband was hurt in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan, has spoken openly about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He used to hit her in his sleep. Most women are too afraid to speak up, she said from Petawawa, Ont. 'The majority of wives are going to lie and say there's nothing because they fear for their husbands' jobs.'...

Colleen Erickson, the public education co-ordinator at the YWCA Westman Women's Shelter in Brandon, Man., near CFB Shilo, said more women call when 'the honeymoon period' ends -- about a month after a soldier returns home. 'Most often the complaint is that he has PTSD and his anger is escalating or has escalated to the point of explosion and they need a safe place to stay.'

A post-deployment survey filled out in November by 8,222 Canadian Forces members found that six percent -- almost 500 respondents -- had symptoms of PTSD and/or major depression.
Image source here.