Nation Marks 25th Anniversary of Domestic Violence Awareness Monthby Hot Off The Press (Release) on Oct. 17, 2012, under Press Releases
This year marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), when advocates across the country remember victims of violence, celebrate the strides we’ve made, lament recent setbacks, and spur communities to action. Although its occurrence is often eclipsed by other causes recognized in October, we believe DVAM is one of the most important awareness campaigns observed throughout the year.
We recently celebrated with the anti-domestic violence community at the 2012 Thrive Gala and Awards Dinner. It was an honor to present six Arizona advocates with the Thrive Awards to recognize their tenacity, strength, and commitment to ending domestic violence. Gala guests know that their dedication to empowering the 12 million Americans who experience domestic violence each year is a noble and just pursuit. This event serves to inspire those who work tirelessly to give victims hope and support when they have none. We presented the statewide conference on domestic violence in September as well, and were pleased to host over one hundred advocates who learned from local and national experts about the latest trends and research in the field.
While these amazing advocates and community partners continue to serve victims and their children in emergency shelters and non-residential programs, some recent developments aren’t cause for celebration. When a courageous victim reaches out for help, too often she or he finds none is available. In one 24-hour period in late 2011, 36 programs in our state served 1,611 victims of domestic violence. Sadly, programs had to turn away 195 victims during that period. Programs did not have available beds or enough staff to meet every request, so some victims in Arizona are not finding help from conventional sources even when they find the courage to reach out. Put yourself in a victim’s shoes: imagine gathering the fortitude to make the call to an emergency shelter. Imagine telling a perfect stranger that you’re being hurt by someone you love and need to flee your home. Imagine being willing to leave everything behind, packing just a small bag with your most valuable possessions- if there is even time to pack anything at all. Now, imagine being told there isn’t room for you.
What’s more, state funding for Arizona’s domestic violence programs has recently been altered. While some programs received an increase, others saw their funding slashed by up to 80%. We fear this will result in other victims being turned away from shelters and non-residential programs.
We can end domestic violence in Arizona. It will take dedication. It will take resources. It will take persistence. And it will take every one of us.
What can you do to help? First, know the resources available so that if a family member or friend reaches out, you know who to call. The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Legal Advocacy Hotline is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm to assist with legal information, referrals, and safety planning (602-279-2900). The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available round the clock and can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Next, consider volunteering or donating to your local anti-domestic violence program. Find out what services are located near you by visiting www.azcadv.org.
We’re honored to lead the fight against domestic violence in Arizona- but we need everyone’s help to win it.
Allie Bones, Executive Director
Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence