October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a good time to reach out to women, men and children who have been victimized by one of the many forms of domestic violence.

Community awareness must be raised. The number of incidents reported is alarming, but we wonder how many cases of abuse are never reported.

Domestic violence occurs in all types of relationships, in all socioeconomic groups and regardless of the level of formal education.

It's a myth that domestic violence should remain a family matter. The truth is, domestic violence is real violence that seldom is reported.

Family, friends, neighbors and co-workers of domestic violence victims and their abusers often brush off the signs.

Turning Point Domestic Violence Services and a host of other civic and religious groups are working to break the cycle.

Turning Point, for example, offers a 24 hour crisis line at (800) 221-6311. It also serves victims by providing a safe shelter, case management, advocacy, peer counseling, crisis intervention support groups and children's programs. You also can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.

If you feel you are in immediate danger call 911 immediately for help.

Statistics show that 95 percent of domestic violence victims are women. Surveys in the U.S. and Canada indicate that domestic violence occurs in about 30 percent of all marriages - and some researchers believe that that figure is underestimated.

During this awareness month, everyone should learn the signs of domestic violence and what action can be taken to resolve the situation.

Elsewhere on this page is a column written by Joseph Hogsett, the United States attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Hogsett's column offers insight into how to recognize the signs of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know needs help, don't wait. Call Turning Point at (812) 265-3910.

The Courierarea is not immune. We have victims of all ages suffering silently. That need not be the case.

Act now to free yourself or someone you know from the living nightmare. No one deserves to be battered.