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COMMUNITY ACTION

CAP Cayuga/Seneca: Domestic violence awareness is vital

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On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. In just one day, across the United States and its territories, more than 67,000 victims of domestic violence sought services from domestic violence programs and shelters.

These sobering statistics are an intense reminder that there are countless people, their children and families, their friends and communities that need us to lead, mobilize and raise our voices to break the cycle and end the violence. At Community Action Programs Cayuga/Seneca (CAP), ingrained in our history of assisting people in crisis, the late 1970s became a turning point in how domestic violence was viewed and addressed locally. Recognizing a need for specialized services for victims of domestic violence and a movement to make the entire community more responsive to an epidemic that was finally moving out of the shadows, CAP began mobilizing resources to have a greater impact and implemented innovative programming that has evolved over the years to a portfolio of comprehensive services to change the societal and legal responses to domestic violence, to assist and compensate survivors, effectively provide the tools and support throughout the complex process of leaving a violent relationship and building safe, self-sufficient futures.

As we approach Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, we dedicate time to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who survived, help connect victims to services and raise awareness to the many dangerous and insidious truths about domestic violence that are often easy to ignore if not visible. It is a chance for anyone and everyone to unite to end the violence and help us create real change lasting social change. CAP has a host of activities planned throughout the month to educate, inspire and uplift survivors. Domestic violence affects individuals in every community regardless of age, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or economic background. The devastating consequences can cross generations and last a lifetime. When we stand together, encourage action, educate and share resources we are that much closer to building a culture in which we are safe, empowered and free from domestic violence.

CAP’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) provides residential and non-residential services to survivors of domestic violence in Cayuga County. What began with a safe home network providing short-term refuge in private homes to those fleeing violence has developed into a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services. DVIP provides crisis intervention, safety planning assistance, individual supportive counseling, advocacy, housing assistance, shelter, transportation, group support, court accompaniment and a 24-hour confidential hotline (315-255-6221) to effectively respond to the needs of our community. DVIP collaborates with law enforcement, the courts, advocates, the faith-based community and community based-service providers to better serve survivors of domestic violence and to change systems to continually improve services and ensure we hold batterers accountable.

We are proud to reopen one of those initiatives during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a supervised visitation and safe exchange center (the Center), for families impacted by domestic violence through the Office of Violence Against Women Justice for Families Program. The Center, a safe haven for survivors and their children, located at 89 York St. in Auburn, supports and facilitates safe visitation and exchanges between children and their non-custodial parents. Free of charge, court-ordered or self-referred parents can reduce the vulnerability to violence and trauma throughout the duration of the co-parenting relationship. The funding also allows a significant collaboration between CAP and Cayuga County Family Court and county magistrates to increase the capacity of the judicial system to effectively respond to survivors of domestic violence.

We encourage you to visit our website, caphelps.org and follow us on Facebook as we bathe our community in purple to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We have many interactive events planned to inspire action throughout our community. To learn more about CAP’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program, call (315) 255-1703 ext. 143 or email arivera@caphelps.org.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call CAP’s Domestic Violence Hotline at (315) 255-6221, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

Jennifer Rossi is the marketing and development director at Community Action Programs Cayuga/Seneca and can be reached at (315) 255-1703 ext. 155 or jrossi@caphelps.org.

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