Jessica Roland, right, practices strikes against instructor Eric Divine in this 2017 self defense class.

When it comes to domestic abuse, everyone’s situation is different — it can happen to anyone and is not their fault. The Family Advocacy Program is committed to supporting service members and their families impacted by domestic abuse through victim advocacy and crisis intervention.

Getting help for an abusive relationship is difficult, especially since public health measures designed to slow COVID-19 have created conditions that may contribute to increased isolation, according to Briana Crawford, Fort Belvoir Family Advocacy Program support.

“With everyone staying at home, it has heightened the numbers of domestic violence, and we offer a 24-hour DV hotline for victims, or even if it is someone that needs support or education about a situation that’s going on. Reach out and we will support them any way we can,” Crawford said.

Megan Read, with the Family Advocacy program at Joint Base Myer- Henderson Hall, agreed that incidents of domestic violence have increased.

“Shelter in place has been a huge stressor,” Read said. “This year is different, and it has placed yet another layer of stress on top of families. We are all locked down under the same roof for a period of time. For couples already struggling before this, it could create a situation where domestic violence could occur.” Adding that PCS also adds to potential isolation for families. “I am an ACS staff member but also a spouse of an active duty service member. We’ve moved many times, and the stress of living in an area for a short time and then uprooting and moving again can be hard. When you live somewhere for a short time, it can be hard to make connections, and new family and friends, especially if it’s not for long.”

Fort Belvoir FAP is offering a virtual self-defense class Thursday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. online, and Crawford said attendees benefit from new skills and possibly additional confidence.

“It’s free and open to ID card holders. Our goal is for our participants to learn skills and techniques on how to prevent or escape assaults. It can also provide a sense of confidence and safety,” said Crawford, adding that the class will be taught by Sensei Eric Divine, who has taught martial arts on Fort Belvoir for years. To sign up, call ACS at 571-231-7028 or email fbfamilyadvocacy@gmail.com

Fort Belvoir Domestic Abuse 24-hour hotline 703-229-2374

Fort Meyer Domestic Abuse 24-hour hotline 703-919-1611