As a part of a national movement to prevent and end domestic violence, Franklin County recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Special events are planned Oct. 3 and 11.
East Central College will sponsor its annual Open Forum on Domestic Violence Tuesday, Oct. 3, ALIVE will hold its Annual Candlelight Vigil Wednesday, Oct. 11, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Franklin County Courthouse.
“Domestic violence happens in all communities —and in ours. The good news is that Missouri women, children and men victimized by domestic violence have more access to help and protection than they have ever had before,” said Cathy Covington, crisis intervention coordinator/court advocate for ALIVE. “By working together, we can offer hope and safety to those in need, to ensure that every abused person in Missouri receives the lifesaving services and resources provided by dedicated advocates in domestic violence programs throughout our state, in every community.”
According to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV), more than 38,000 survivors of domestic violence were helped last year by programs through times of crisis, emergency and danger. MCADSV reports that during a single day in 2016, more than 2,100 domestic violence victims and their children sought help and safety from domestic violence programs because of the violence in their homes.
Outreach initiatives must continue because many adults, youth and children are still in need of shelter and services, said Covington. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to advance prevention and awareness efforts in Missouri.
October is a time for all Americans to recognize and join in the life-changing work that supports and empowers survivors of domestic abuse.
“Together we can mitigate the costs of these crimes on our society by supporting local services, promoting laws, policies and programs that improve services, hold offenders accountable, and increase prevention education to prevent violence from occurring in our homes and communities,” said Covington.
During the past three decades, Missouri has made significant advancements in securing rights, protections and services for victims of domestic violence. Lawmakers and domestic violence advocates have worked together to strengthen legal protections for victims, enhance penalties for offenders, establish orders of protection with criminal penalties for violations, obtain funding for domestic violence services and shelters, ensure confidentiality for the safety and dignity of victims, and strengthen child welfare laws to protect abused parents and their children.
“This month, in particular, we have a special opportunity to make sure that every member of our communities — survivors and their families, advocates, law enforcement officers, the courts, and all Missourians — have the tools, resources, information and support to prevent and end domestic violence,” said Covington.
ALIVE can provide information to businesses, churches and civic organizations upon request. There is no charge for any presentations to the public.
For more information on becoming an ALIVE volunteer or serving on the Advisory Committee to help with fundraising, people should contact the ALIVE office.
To join in this month’s activities and help make a difference for survivors and their families, contact Covington at 636-583-9863 or visit www.alivestl.org.