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Domestic abuse victims: Whether or not you’ve experienced domestic abuse personally, you probably know that it can have devastating consequences. Victims carry the emotional scars of abuse long after they’re out of harm’s way.

And abusers, if not stopped, can escalate the violence until they and their victims lose everything – family, career, self-respect and even freedom.

Here in U.S. Army Garrison Italy, the domestic abuse victim advocate (DAVA) is offered through the ACS Family Advocacy Program as an effort to uphold the commitment to provide Soldiers and family members with a strong and supportive environment. Domestic abuse undermines the Army’s promise for a quality of life commensurate with the level of service and sacrifice.

What is a DAVA? A domestic abuse victim advocate is a trained professional that offers non-clinical advocacy services and support to Soldiers and family members experiencing domestic violence.

A DAVA is on call 24/7 to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, non-judgmental support, assistance in securing medical treatment for injuries, information on legal rights and proceedings, and referrals to safe shelter, military and civilian resources. The on-call DAVA will empower victims to make informed and independent decisions to support their recovery process.

How does a DAVA differ from a SHARP victim advocate? Basically, the difference is that if sexual assault occurs within a marriage or an intimate partnership established by living together, regardless of same or opposite sex, the DAVA can respond. SHARP provides comprehensive advocacy services to individuals exhibiting a wide variety of issues related to being a victim or survivor of sexual harassment or sexual assault, outside of the marital or co-habitant, intimate partner relationship. Read more

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Domestic abuse victims: Whether or not you’ve experienced domestic abuse personally, you probably know that it can have devastating consequences. Victims carry the emotional scars of abuse long after they’re out of harm’s way.