Officials from Orange County, the City of Newburgh and the New York State Assembly joined Safe Homes of Orange County in Newburgh on Monday, for a press conference to commence the observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) throughout Orange County.
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, said its hard to be optimistic when on a regular basis, he, the sheriff and district attorney are constantly getting horrific 911 calls.
“I’m happy that we can help people, but what bothers me is that its happening in the first place,” Neuhaus said. He called the work Safe Homes does on a daily basis “tough work.”
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler thanked Safe Homes for the work they do. “You don’t hear it enough,” he said, “today we say it, thank you.” Hoovler also called on the state to find more money for Safe Homes. “When we need them, they are there. It’s a shame the state doesn’t put its money where its mouth is,” he said.
Darcie M. Miller, Commissioner for the Department of Social Services noted that we have come far in the 30 years since Safe Homes opened its doors, but wanted to place some attention on the children of domestic violence and abuse. “The work we do today is also for the children of tomorrow,” she said, discussing the long term health and psychological affects domestic violence and abuse can have on children.
Concurrently, The Clothesline Project, a visual display of T-shirts bearing the stories of victims and survivors of domestic violence, was on display at the Newburgh Resource and Business Center, 280 Broadway in Newburgh, Safe Homes’ headquarters.
Nationwide, 1-in-4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In Orange County, 23 women have been killed by intimate-partners, since 2004; one woman is still missing.
“Over the course of 2016, Safe Homes’ advocates answered 3,334 hotline calls and provided 17,414 victim-advocacy services. This is but a numerical glimpse into the tragic reality and impact of domestic violence right here, at home in Orange County. This October, while honoring survivors and remembering those taken from us, we want to continue to focus on the responsibility of bystanders. To that end, we will appeal to various professionals, communities, businesses, and individuals to play a role in addressing domestic violence. We invite everyone to take the challenge and find their place within this movement of change,” said Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, Safe Homes’ Executive Director.
Among other DVAM events, Safe Homes’ annual fundraising and awards dinner, The Celebration of Hope Masquerade Ball will take place on October 20, and will honor Assemblyman James Skoufis; Cornerstone Family Healthcare; Shannon Wong, Chapter Director, New York Civil Liberties Union and Mauri Architects. The Celebration of Hope is sponsored by Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Orange & Rockland Utilities, Mediacom, Orange Regional Medical Center, M&T Bank, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Ulster Savings Bank, Residential Home Inspection, Bruyn Designed, Home Inspections: For a Cause, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, and Ulster Savings Bank. The event will be held at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor. For tickets and information, contact Kristen Pratt, at 845-562-5365 ext. 101. All proceeds benefit Safe Homes of Orange County.
A complete list of the agency’s awareness-raising programs and fundraising events throughout October is available under the News/Events tab of www.safehomesorangecounty.org They will include interactive programs such as “In Her Shoes” and “Escalation Workshops”; additional Clothesline-Project displays in Newburgh, Port Jervis and Middletown; and Orange-Wears-Purple Day on October 19th (wear purple in honor of victims of domestic violence).
Safe Homes works toward the end of all forms of intimate partner violence and human trafficking by offering confidential and comprehensive support services to survivors, and by increasing public awareness through education and prevention programs. For help, call Safe Homes’ 24-HOUR-HOTLINE at 845-562-5340.