BALTIMORE — For veterans and their families, the holidays can be a tough time.
Coupled with COVID-19 those rough patches can escalate to intimate partner violence.
They are dealing with loss of jobs, friendships, and things to do.
“They have experienced possible increase exposure to trauma," said Julia Caplan. "Increased exposure to traumatic brain injury and other life stressors that can increase stress in a relationship and can result in violence.”
Caplan is the VA of Maryland Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program Coordinator.
She pointed to research that shows 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men report experiencing IPV.
The VA has resources for both victims and veterans who may be exhibiting violent behaviors.
“We have a group therapy program that is trauma informed and evidence based it helps veterans learn how to deal with conflict without becoming aggressive," said Caplan. "Everyone has arguments, everyone has disagreements but how do we deal with it a way that builds our relationships and makes them stronger rather than causes harm."
The VA Maryland Health Care System is encouraging veterans and their families to check up and check in.
“Often times people feel very isolated. They may want to hide what’s going on in their relationship and we want them to know they are not alone, and they don’t have to suffer in silence.”
Help is available and Caplan said developing a safety plan can be the difference that saves or changes a life.