FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 6, 2014
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
LEESBURG, Virginia –October is observed nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) to highlight domestic violence and its impact on families and communities.
One in 4 women is the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner while 1 in 7 men experiences severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. In 2013, 65,667 calls to the Virginia Domestic Violence Hotline, of which 39,191 were domestic violence related.
“The effects of domestic violence can be seen in a victim’s and in an accused abuser’s family and working lives,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman. “These far reaching effects often have a significant impact on children and extended family members,” continued Plowman.
Loudoun County has taken a proactive approach to domestic violence, having established a multi-agency Domestic Violence Steering Committee which implements and oversees a coordinated community response. The Steering Committee also established the Loudoun County Domestic Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.) The Loudoun County D.A.R.T. is comprised of front line workers and mid-level managers from 10 partner agencies focused on increasing offender accountability through law enforcement, the court system, and community services. Increasing offender accountability and enforcing protective orders improves the safety of victims and children in Loudoun County.
In 2009, the Loudoun D.A.R.T. was recognized by the Virginia Attorney General for its work in responding to domestic violence as a locality that stood out as having the “best or “promising” practices. This honor was part of the program entitled “Safe In Our Communities.”
“Domestic violence cases can be extremely volatile because they are emotionally charged. This is one reason that we see an extremely large percentage of our homicides to be domestic related,” continued Plowman. “As such, we have established a dedicated team of prosecutors and victim witness case managers to focus on these cases.” The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court has also established dedicated dockets where they hear domestic violence cases and monitor the progress of those placed under court supervision.
Virginia offers a number of programs and resources to prevent and respond to domestic and sexual violence. Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to seek help, either by calling 911 in an emergency, or by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or Virginia Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-838-8238), which is operated by the Action Alliance.
For more information about DVAM, domestic violence, and other resources available in our community please contact the Loudoun County Victim Witness Program at (703) 777-0417 or visit www.loudoun.gov/oca or www.ncadv.org.