As a part of a national movement to prevent violence, Franklin County will recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a proclamation signing by the commissioners Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m. in the Government Center.

This proclamation signing is open to the public.

There also will be an annual Candlelight Vigil at the old courthouse Thursday, Oct. 17.

“Victims — women, children and men in our communities — often need help and protection that they never receive,” Cathy Covington, crisis intervention specialist with ALIVE, said. “It is vital that we make resources available to all survivors who need them.”

Some victims face difficulty when trying to access services — last year, nearly 19,000 Missouri adults, youth and children were unable to find shelter at a domestic violence program due to lack of resources, according to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. That means for every person able to stay in safety at a Missouri domestic violence shelter, nearly two were turned away because shelters were full.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time for all Americans to learn about domestic violence, reflect on the costs of the crime to society, and promote laws, policies and programs to improve services to victims, hold offenders accountable and prevent domestic violence in our communities.

During the past two decades, Missouri has made strides in securing rights, protections and services for victims of domestic violence. Lawmakers and domestic violence advocates have worked to criminalize domestic violence and martial rape, establish Orders of Protection with criminal penalties for violations, obtain funding for domestic violence services, ensure confidentiality for the safety and dignity of victims, strengthen Child Welfare Laws to protect battered mothers and their children, and enhance penalties for offenders to match the seriousness of the crime.

Yet many domestic violence victims have not experienced the promise of such progress. Despite these advancements, each year, more than 50 percent of domestic violence incidents are never reported to the police, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Some victims might not recognize their experience as a crime. At times, protections are not enforced.

Each year, ALIVE has red silhouettes of women and women/children that can be placed around the communities in a place of business. Anyone interested in displaying one of these silhouettes should contact Cathy Covington at ALIVE at 636-583-9863.