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Once again in October we commemorate National Domestic Violence Awareness month[NDVAM], a time for law enforcement agencies, victim assistance organizations and community leaders to work jointly in generating greater public awareness about domestic violence, prevention strategies and effective responses for victims. It serves as a reminder that communities must speak out in a unified voice to combat domestic and to challenge all people in America to support programs that can end this nationwide epidemic.
According to the United States Department of Justice 1.3 million women and men have been victims of domestic violence in the past year. Eliminating domestic violence requires collaborative prevention and response efforts from criminal justice professionals, victim service providers, prosecutors, health care providers, educators and elected officials among others.
In addition to assistance provided by our court and legal systems and victim service programs, domestic violence victims in Washington County have access to potentially life-saving information through the website Sheriffs-Assist.org.
Sheriffs’ Assist allows crime victims and other concerned citizens to track the custody status of their offenders and register to be notified by phone or email in the event of a release to the community or a transfer to a New York State correctional facility or county jail. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the toll-free number 1-888-VINE-4-NY or online at www.vinelink.com.
Sheriff Jeff Murphy said” Victims of domestic violence often need the kind of timely information that the website Sheriffs’ Assist provides. By giving custody information in real time registered crime victims receive critical information when they need it the most. This access empowers domestic violence victims to gain a greater degree of control in their lives and to make informed decisions about their safety”.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was created in 1987 to promote increased rights and services for domestic violence victims; to educate the public about the crisis of domestic violence and the prevalence of this epidemic in all of our lives and to encourage involvement and support for domestic violence victims and those who serve them.