When I saw this headline yesterday on WCOT.com, a local news affiliate in Savanah, I was reminded that, as a Fatherhood organization, we MUST initiate and take part in conversations about domestic violence and ways to engage men in addressing this grave and complex issue facing far too many families.
I learned the Georgia Commission on Family Violence and the Georgia Coalition against Domestic Violence recently published the 2015 Georgia Fatality Review Report revealing that domestic violence-related homicides have continued to increase over the past 10 years resulting in 61 deaths across the state in 2016, leaving 27 children under 18 without either parent.
In 36% of the cases identified by the Georgia Fatality Review Project, children directly witnessed the homicide or were the first to find their deceased parent(s).
Georgia is ranked the 9th highest state in the U.S. in which women are killed by domestic violence. Further, “27 counties in Georgia have no access to domestic violence services. Another 26 counties have very limited access.”
While not all men are violent, and most men do not use violence against women, approximately 85% of victims of domestic violence in the United States are women. Murder suicides are predominantly committed by men (92% in GA in 2015) and almost always involve a firearm. Typically, there is a prior history of domestic violence between the perpetrator and victim.
These facts and figures are particularly disturbing to us at Fathers Incorporated for several reasons. First, our home-base is in Atlanta, so these aren’t just numbers on a page; they are mothers, sisters, men, and children who we may come in to contact with on any given day. These are human lives that can be protected and saved through the work we do. Second, the majority of DV perpetrators are also fathers or stepfathers who often stay connected to their children and sometimes their victims. Without effective services, they are likely to abuse again.
We understand that men have a positive and vital role to play in helping to stop all types of violence, and fatherhood organizations are uniquely positioned and have a responsibility to engage them in these efforts.
HOW CAN YOU HELP MEN ENGAGE IN THE PREVENTION?
For years, Fathers Incorporated has supported and assisted in building the capacity of organizations to provide integrative father-friendly services, including how to effectively understand, address, and integrate domestic violence in programs. On April 27, during our FI Unplugged conference, we are conducting a pre-conference training focused on DV:
Beyond Silence and Violence: Building Partnerships between Fatherhood and Domestic Violence Organizations
This training will provide fundamental considerations and steps in forming partnerships between fatherhood organizations and anti-domestic violence organizations and the critical role of each in increasing family safety and positive father involvement for the benefit of all family members. A take-home Guide and Practice Brief will be given as resources.
REGISTER FOR APRIL 29TH TRAINING AT WWW.FIUNPLUGGED.COM
Allow us to share with you the lessons learned in our years of providing training services. You will explore how men, and fathers particularly, perpetuate, are affected by, and are victims of domestic violence, the effects of DV on women and children, and strategies to engage men in addressing this issue, especially organizations already serving boys, men, and fathers. The discussion will also include the socialization of men and the cultural realities of low-income men of color.
DOWNLOAD OUR BRIEF: BEYOND THE SILENCE
Father- and male-focused efforts to end domestic violence have the potential to significantly advance the field of responsible fatherhood and reduce domestic and violent crimes overall. If you or your organization is commitment to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of individuals or families, you must understand and know how to effectively address male violence.
 NCADV. (2015). Domestic violence national statistics. Retrieved from www.ncadv.org
 Criminal Victimization in the United States Statistical Tables. (2007). U. S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/cotent/pub/pdf/cvus0702.pdf.