Domestic violence vigil set for MondayPublished 9:39am Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Annual event to promote awareness, support
For the past several years around the first of October, purple balloons have floated to the sky to signify the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Monday will mark the fifth annual Domestic Violence Awareness Program and Elaine Payne, director of the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force, said the community’s help is needed to spread the word that the crime does exist in the county and is a growing problem.
“As far as our calls for civil protector orders, they have really, really been up. Especially this month,” Payne said. “Our court advocate has had to go to court just practically every day of the month. I don’t know if it’s because school started and people are having problems with their spouses or what.”
Monday’s program begins with a balloon launch at 6 p.m. outside of the Bowman Auditorium at Ohio University Southern.
“It’s just like a send off to commemorate those who have been victims of domestic violence, but to encourage those who are still going through domestic violence situations,” Payne said.
There will also be a candlelight vigil to honor victims of domestic violence, both those who escaped the violence and those who lost their lives. Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship and Bill Pratt, Lawrence County Commissioner, will issue proclamations.
This year’s guest speaker will be Kelli Grace, outreach coordinator for crime victim services, a branch of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Payne said the program is a promotional tool for the task force to let the community know what kind of help is available.
“It is a tool for us to make people more aware of the fact that domestic violence does exist and that we are here to help people,” Payne said. “To shelter them, to give them court advocacy, referrals to other social service agencies to help them get on their feet. The goal of our shelter is to help someone be self-supportive. Most of the people who come to our agency are afraid that they can’t make it on their own. Each client is assessed as to their needs and we go from there.”