Gunther: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Monticello, NY – This week, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther joined Safe Homes of Orange County in commemorating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month – a time for recognizing the individuals and organizations that work tirelessly to protect victims and stem the tide of domestic violence.

According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, one in four women has been subjected to domestic violence during her lifetime, and nearly 75 percent of Americans know someone who has been a victim. In New York, nearly 450,000 domestic violence incidents are reported every year; however, it is estimated that just as many acts go unreported.

“Domestic violence tears away at the fabric of our society,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “It is not only the victims who are affected, but the countless children who bear witness to these horrific acts of violence.”

Victims of domestic violence experience physical pain, emotional trauma and financial hardships. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 years old are among those most likely to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner, but these crimes affect both men and women from all walks of life.

This year, the New York State Assembly passed a legislative package that would prohibit discrimination against victims of domestic violence (A.898, A.5387), require orders of protection to be interpreted into the native language of those involved (A.1084) and provide notice on orders of protection that the protected party cannot be arrested for violating the order (A.6547-A). Another law provides victims with new telephone numbers, free of charge, to help them rebuild their lives without additional financial burdens (A. 6381-A).

Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first observed in 1981 as a national day of unity. It was established by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to ensure that victims know help is available if they need it.

“In Orange and Sullivan Counties, there are wonderful organizations operating 24 hours a day to provide assistance and a safe escape from domestic violence. There is hope, and there is help,” said Assemblywoman Gunther.

In Orange County, Safe Homes of Orange County operates a 24-hour hotline – 1-888-503-HOPE (4673). In Sullivan County, a 24-hour hotline is operated by Safe Passages – 845-292-5700.