While pink dominates October for breast cancer awareness, another color is just as important — purple, which represents domestic violence awareness.
As October comes to an end, so does Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And while there may be fewer events highlighting it, we hope the conversation on domestic violence doesn’t stop, as it is a problem that affects all of us.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence and 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
Too often, victims of domestic violence feel afraid, or helpless, in seeing their abusers brought to justice.
In Madison County though, there is a pilot program being created to help victims, thanks to Hope’s Wings Domestic Violence Shelter.
The grant, through the federal Office of Violence Against Women, is to help put together the pilot program, in which Hope’s Wings, law enforcement, prosecutors and others involved with domestic violence issues can better work together with set out, consistent policies in handling the cases.
All local law enforcement, county prosecutors, the county jailer and probation and parole have signed a memorandum of understanding to work on the model.
Detective Stuart Adams, special victims investigator with the Richmond Police Department, sees the blueprint as a positive step for victims in the county to be better protected.
While county specific statistics are not available, Adams said the RPD handles many cases. Domestic violence calls are probably in the top three types of calls the department receives.
He said the abuse victims have suffered makes it hard for them to stand up.
That’s why this pilot program is needed.
A goal of the program is to make the case against a perpetrator more evidence-based, and less reliant on victim testimony.
“We want to make it less harmful for victims. It’s hard for victims to go to court,” said Jennifer Lainhart, director of Hope’s Wings.
This program will do just that.
It’s a blueprint for our local agencies to better serve victims. It’s a blueprint to potentially saving lives.
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Anyone who is experiencing domestic violence, or knows someone who is, can contact Hopes Wings at 859-623-4096, or the Richmond Police Department at 859-623-8911. In an emergency, call 911.
Shelter employees can talk victims through safety planning, helping them make a safe getaway.