Nearly half of women in Alaska have experienced domestic violence in their lifetimes, found a University of Alaska Anchorage survey, News From The States reports. The problem can touch just about every aspect of their lives, and its full effects can be hard to comprehend and difficult to repair. Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence between couples, is an urgent issue in Alaska, which has the third-highest rate of intimate partner violence against women among the states. Men kill women at a higher rate than anywhere else in the U.S., and women are most likely to be murdered by their spouse or boyfriend. The state spends millions each year to fund community programs aimed at treating and ending domestic violence, yet the groups that offer services often report limited budgets. Dozens of nonprofits tend to the impact of domestic violence and state departments and councils examine response methods, but state data show that the rate of domestic violence is as high as it has been in a decade.
The state’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault partners with the Department of Corrections to shepherd millions of dollars in state and federal money to communities and programs across the 660,000 square miles of varied geographic and cultural terrain that makes up Alaska. Diane Casto, who has led the council for the last six years, will retire on Thursday. “It takes years, generations, to change attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. And if you don’t give it that time, you’re not going to see change. And I think that’s where we have really failed in domestic violence,” she said. “We have failed and we are not alone. Alaska is not alone. There are very few states who have really made significant progress and reductions in rates across the whole state.” In the 12 months that ended in June, the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault had roughly $32 million to fight domestic violence; more than half of it came from the state.