GREENPORT–October marks the 22nd commemoration of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The commemoration is a time for law enforcement agencies, victim assistance organizations and community leaders to work together to generate greater public awareness about domestic violence, prevention strategies and effective responses for victims, according to a press release from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
This year’s theme is End it Now, and reminds members of the community to speak out in a unified voice to combat domestic violence. It also challenges people nationwide to support the many programs to end this epidemic.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 1.3 million people are victimized by domestic violence every year. Eliminating domestic violence requires collaborative prevention and response efforts from criminal justice professionals, victims’ service providers, prosecutors, health care providers, educators and elected officials, said the release.
Sheriff David Harrison Jr., stressed the importance of a combined effort in dealing with domestic violence in Columbia County, where the past few murders his agency has investigated have involved domestic violence. “Everyone must work together on this issue in order to have an impact on a problem which has affected our families and communities for many years,” he said in the release.
In addition to assistance provided by the court and legal systems and victims’ service programs, victims of domestic violence in Columbia County have access to potentially life-saving information through the New York Sheriffs’ Victim Hotline.
The hotline allows crime victims and other concerned citizens to track the custody of offenders and register to be notified by phone or e-mail in the event of a release to the community, or a transfer to a state correctional facility.
This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the toll free number, 1-888-VINE-4NY or online at www.vinelink.com.
The hotline provides custody information in real time to give registered crime victims critical information.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was initiated in 1987 to promote increased rights and services for domestic violence victims; to educate the public about the crisis of domestic violence and the prevalence of this epidemic; and to encourage involvement and support from our community for domestic violence victims.
For more information about the New York Sheriffs’ Victim Hotline, contact Lieutenant Thomas Lanphear at (518) 697-0116 or visit www.columbiacountysheriff.us.