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    Kathleen McGettigan speaks at Domestic Violence Awareness Walk 2018

    Each October, Americans come together to recognize and show solidarity with survivors and victims of domestic abuse as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

    Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking (DVSAS) are serious problems that affect individuals, families and communities.

    According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner violence every minute in the United States.  This leads to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. [1]

    Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data reports that more than one in three women and more than one in four men in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

    DVSAS is not only a personal issue: it is a workplace issue.  The effects of such violence often do not remain within the confines of a home – they affect all of us who live and work with victims and survivors of domestic violence and their children or other loved ones.

    According to CDC data, the effects of DVAS in the workplace cost our nation approximately $8 billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs.

    Each of us has an obligation to speak up on behalf of those who suffered from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and to advocate on behalf of those victims and survivors.

    As the largest employer in the nation, the Federal Government also has a duty to promote the health and safety of its employees by providing support and assistance to those whose working lives are affected by DVSAS.

    This year, I was pleased to join OPM’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office, along with Leanne Brotsky of the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, for a 2.3 mile power walk through the Constitution Gardens and around the Lincoln Memorial to raise awareness about domestic violence and remember those survivors and victims who have been affected.

    OPM also offers employee assistance programs and reference materials for Federal employees to find help dealing with domestic violence. OPM has issued a guide outlining management tools and personnel flexibilities which can help a victim cope with their situation and get assistance. That guide can be found here.  Furthermore, OPM provides a list of non-U.S. Government resources which can assist those in need of support.

    Spreading awareness and education is among the best ways we can prevent domestic violence.  As the President declared in his presidential proclamation,

    While our Nation has made strides in preventing domestic violence…much work remains to be done.

    To ensure the protection of all Americans, especially women and children, we must strive to end domestic violence – in all its forms – from our society and help victims recover from abuse.

    And we must encourage Americans affected by domestic violence to seek help from those they trust and to never lose hope in the possibility of building a better life.

    There is still more work to be done to combat and end domestic abuse.

    But by raising awareness about DVSAS we can begin to bring about change, support victims and survivors of these crimes, and prevent domestic violence from happening in the future.

    During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, here at OPM and across the Federal Government, we will continue working to support all our employees to ensure they are safe and to foster a nurturing workplace that will lead to a more productive, capable, efficient, and effective Federal Workforce.

    Watch this video to learn more about the 2018 Domestic Violence Awareness power walk and OPM's efforts to support survivors and victims of domestic abuse.  

    [1] [1]  Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J. & Stevens, M. (2011). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2010 summary report. Retrieved from  

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