By Clark Pierce

More than 70 military and civilian family advocates attended domestic violence leadership training Oct. 13 at Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) aboard NAS Jacksonville.

NAS Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Haley welcomed the group with some sobering statistics.

"We average about 130 domestic violence cases a year, with the largest demographic being ages 18 to 25. Despite excellent training opportunities right here at FFSC, domestic violence remains a challenge for us. Getting at that demographic and helping our young Sailors to learn interpersonal coping skills is a never-ending priority."

Family Advocacy Program Educator Erika Clark said the point-of-contact leadership training covers all aspects of domestic violence, including how FFSC can assist commands by encouraging the early involvement of their leadership triad.  

She explained that domestic violence is a very serious issue at NAS Jacksonville because the base carries the highest number of domestic violence (DV) cases in Navy Region Southeast. 

"Our guest presenter is Duval County Circuit Court Judge Karen Cole, who will give us the inside scoop on injunctions - otherwise known as 'restraining orders' - as well as legal avenues for DV prevention and intervention," said Clark.

Cole explained that circuit court judges rotate through a number of judicial divisions that include family, civil, criminal or juvenile cases.

"When presiding in a civil or family division, circuit judges may handle domestic violence injunctions for protection. In that arena, we may interact with the Fleet and Family Support Center." 

Clark added, "Fleet and Family Support Center partners with various stakeholders to provide service and aid to our community from outside the fence line. Some of the agencies we partner with are the Department of Children and Families, state attorney's office, Hubbard House and Quigley House. This outreach is very important to us in combatting domestic violence."

Other topics discussed during the training included understanding victim and abuser behavior, cyber stalking, intimate partner rape, and what domestic violence does to kids.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed every October to remember those who have died at the hands of a loved one, honor those who have survived domestic violence, and recognize the progress made in reducing domestic violence and recommit to end the abuse.