POMEROY — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office Victim’s Assistance Program is shining a light on ways to recognize and prevent domestic violence.
This year 105 reports of domestic violence have been made in Meigs County.
Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams encourages all those who witness incidents of domestic violence to report the incident to law enforcement authorities as the victims themselves often do not report the incident or feel able to have the case prosecuted.
While, according to the prosecutor’s office, 92 percent of domestic violence victims are women, men can be victims also.
Statistics state that a woman is battered every 9-15 seconds in the United States, and one out of four women have been assaulted by an intimate partner.
Domestic violence can also have a major impact on children who are exposed to it. A child’s exposure to domestic violence is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next, and boys who have witnesses domestic violence are twice as likely to become abusers as adults.
It is important to develop a safety plan.
A violent relationship puts everyone involved at risk for injury and even death. Developing a plan will help provide for individual safety and the safety of minor children.
Tips provided by the Victim’s Assistance Office for staying safe in a violent relationship include: when an argument occurs, go to a safe room; try to have a phone available at all times; and create a code word or sign that can be used to alert family members and friends that help is needed.
If you are preparing to leave a violent relationship, have a bag packed with the following items: copies of house and vehicle keys; money and debit/credit cards; important papers such as social security cards and birth certificates. It is also suggested that the bag be hidden with friends or family.
To keep one self safe after leaving, change your phone number and routine, and always keep doors locked.
Locally, the Serenity House in Gallia County offers a 24-hour Domestic Violence Crisis line at (800) 942-9577, that can provide a safe shelter and assistance in finding ways to meet basic needs. Information on counseling and support groups can also be provided.
The victim’s assistance office works with victims of domestic violence and other crimes as soon as a report is received and charges are filed. The office reports cases involving children to Meigs County Children Services, assists with civil protection orders, and provides needed referrals for other services. Director Theda Petrasko and employee Linda Taylor also accompany victims to court hearing and provide notification of hearings.