DAVA poster

The Air Force's Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate program oallows families in duress to get the help they need from an unbiased third party who specializes in listening.

Contributed, USAF

Whether it is an anonymous phone call in the middle of the night or a secret meeting at a coffee shop, Cozetta Blow, the 30th Medical Group domestic abuse victim advocate, is always available to listen.

As a base confidant, her office is a sanctuary for secrets and a reservoir of advice.

"I don't keep mental health notes - there is nothing that is written on a chart or in a record, people can feel safe," said Blow. "I call my office 'the vault', what is said here is confidential."

The DAVA is an Air Force wide program that allows families in duress to get the help they need from an unbiased third party who specializes in listening.

"We try to address issues of family violence, and focus on the needs of a potential victim," said Blow. "My role is not to separate families, my role is to help families get on track."

The DAVA program is designed as a preventative measure for family violence and a way to assist families that are currently dealing with these types of situations.

"The DAVA plays a huge role in assisting Airmen and families by helping those who are experiencing problems in their relationships," said Pauline Chui, 30th Space Wing community support coordinator. "The program offers violence prevention services such as assistance with safety planning, locating available resources and education on healthy relationships."

The DAVA focuses on helping the person, placing the individual's needs before the requirements of a program.

"I will meet people at their home or at the library, wherever people feel most comfortable," said Blow. "My position allows me to place the needs of the individual before the needs of a program. People are always first."

Domestic violence does not discriminate between gender, race or age.

"We see it in all walks of life," said Chui. "It doesn't matter how much money you make, how educated you are, or where you're from. If not addressed, domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma and sometimes death. The consequences have a huge impact on our families and can cross generations and last a lifetime."

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"Just like your house needs repair, sometimes your relationship needs repair. It is normal, there are issues in every relationship," said Blow. "We're not here to point the finger and say you are a bad person. We are here to tell you what you are doing is not okay, and that we are here to help you figure it out."

Because communication is often at the root of many problems in the home, Blow focuses much of her effort on teaching people better rhetorical strategies for expression.

"I do lots of education on effective communication, and that typically is the key to a good relationship, learning how to communicate effectively with the person you are speaking too," said Blow.

Waiting to get help can compound the abuse and cause even more problems.

"If you are a victim, or if you know someone who is a victim, I encourage you to call the DAVA for information and support," said Chui. "The abuse will not stop on its own, and will likely get worse over time. There are services on and off base that are available to you. You are not alone."

For domestic abuse assistance, contact the DAVA hotline at 805-800-3454

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