The Richmond Register

Local News

October 6, 2012

Purple with a purpose - Supporters gather at courthouse, October is 'Domestic Violence Month'

RICHMOND — The Madison County Courthouse was dressed up in purple Friday much like the audience that gathered to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Jennifer Lainhart, director of Hope's Wings Domestic Violence Shelter, reminded everyone that domestic violence is not just an issue for those who work with victims.

“It's an issue for our community,” she said. “It takes a community to make a difference.”

Between October 2011 and September 2012, 25 women in Kentucky were killed by their husbands, she said.

“Together, we can make changes, and it's going to take us all standing together,” Lainhart said, adding, “This is not OK,”

The shelter was forced to close its full-time operations in February 2010 because of lack of funding.

Rep. Rita Smart (D-81st District) announced in June that funding was on the way that would enable Hope's Wings to open its doors once more.

The $200,000 is being appropriated through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services  and will provide for two years of shelter operations.

Additional grants from the Department of Violence Against Women, the Kentucky Housing Corporation and the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels will allow the 16-bed shelter operate for the next three years, Lainhart said.

Smart said she was going to keep fighting for funding.

“When I went to Frankfort, I vowed that women and children would be who I worked for the most,” she said during Thursday's event. “In a $19-billion budget, $200,000 seems like a penny, but I was happy that I was able to call our county judge and tell him to be on the lookout for that money.”

Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark said the county's growth motivates him and other to address the issue of domestic violence.

“We needed to work together to make something happen,” he said. “We've very fortunate, and I think we'll be able to continue to raise money to make this work. This one of those things we can't let go any longer.”

Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said Richmond was obligated to stop domestic violence.

“We're committed to keep this an ongoing project,” he said. “We can't do anything unless we try.”

Barnes read a proclamation designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“We have a moral obligation to support the victims and their children,” the proclamation reads. “A home should be a place for safety, comfort and love.”

Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock has taken an active role in helping to prevent domestic violence and care for victims, Lainhart said.

A Hope's Wings representative has an office at the Richmond Police Department on Lexington Road to be “more accessible to victims who come to the police station,” Lainhart said.

Madison County 911 Dispatch receives about 600 calls each year which are related to domestic violence, she said.

Domestic abuse survivor Cynthia Key read a poem she wrote three years ago titled “The Invisible Mark That Left a Mark.”

In an interview after Friday's presentation, she said that domestic violence had become a generational curse, and that the only thing she and her daughters are guilty of “is trying to find love.”

Aside from a safe place to stay, Hope’s Wings provides additional services including crisis intervention, educational training, parenting classes, a domestic violence support group and more.

Hope’s Wings can be reached at 623-4095.


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