The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has set aside $17 million to strengthen the department’s Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).
IPV describes physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. Such acts can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples.
The funding will be dispersed to IPV Assistance Programs in VA facilities across the country including the inland region. When the funding was announced acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke said, “VA recognizes that intimate partner violence is a health issue faced by many Veterans and their families.”
O’Rouke continued, “We are giving careful attention to this program, ensuring it is integrated into clinical care and workplace safety. Both are important to the safety of Veterans and VA employees who report experiencing violence.”
O’Rouke may have acted in response to his awareness that intimate partner violence among Veterans has increased. Research by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Department) suggests veterans may be at greater risk than their civilian counterparts, given the unique stressors posed by military life.
The Department’s IPV Assistance Program is focused on developing an environment/culture of safety for the individuals involved. It is not only focused on understanding, recognizing and responding to the effects of IPV, but other types of trauma as well.
Local IPV programs work in partnership with community groups focused on issues related to housing, education and employment needs.
The additional $17 million in funding will not only allow the Veteran’s Administration to expand its IPV program to all its medical centers, it will help build a greater awareness of Intimate Partner Violence as a serious health issue. It will also help expand understanding of the physical, psychological and social effects of such violence.
The Veterans Health Administration first launched the IPV Assistance Program in 2014. Since the program was established, there are now IPV Assistance Program Coordinators at more than 115 VA facilities across the country.