Purple ribbons put focus on domestic violence

Although a plethora of purple ribbons are adding some pizzazz to area downtowns, their purpose is more serious: to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Volunteers from Fox & Roach Charities deck out downtown Kennett Square with purple ribbons.

Volunteers from Fox & Roach Charities deck out downtown Kennett Square with purple ribbons.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S., totaling more than 10 million women and men per year. One in five women and one in seven men have been victims of severe domestic violence, and on a typical day, more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

These statistics from the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County are being used to spotlight Domestic Violence Awareness month – as are the purple ribbons.

Officials gather to kick off the Coordinated Community Campaign to end domestic and sexual violence.

Officials gather to kick off the Coordinated Community Campaign to end domestic and sexual violence.

The Coordinated Community Campaign to end domestic and sexual violence in Chester County kicked off Domestic Violence Month last week at the Downingtown Municipal Building. Municipal and county officials, including the mayors of West Chester and Kennett Square, law enforcement, school officials, and nonprofit representatives came together to discuss the realities of domestic and sexual violence in Chester County and what can be done to address it.

The event was planned by the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls (CCFWG), the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, the Domestic Violence Center, West Chester University, and Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell, said a press release from the CCFWG.

A volunteer attaches a ribbon to a light post in Kennett Square.

A volunteer attaches a ribbon to a light post in Kennett Square.

“The commitment and passion of the 25 people in attendance were inspiring.  It was an important discussion that brought about a deeper understanding of a complex problem, but it was only the starting point of ongoing collective efforts to address the issue,” Michelle Legaspi Sanchez, executive director of the CCFWG, said in the release.

Recommendations included Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) Training for all police officers in Chester County and the implementation of violence prevention program in all county schools. LAP helps officers determine whether a situation is likely to escalate by asking a series of insightful questions.

In Maryland, where LAP is nearly universally applied by law enforcement and domestic violence programs, the homicide rate for domestic-abuse victims fell 41 percent in a year. In Chester County, officials said the partnership between the Domestic Violence Center and police departments in implementing LAP has created a stronger support system for victims.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said 42 of the county’s 47 police departments are using LAP.

“The LAP program has been extremely effective,” said Hogan.  “It has helped us identify and lock up truly dangerous defendants.  Even more importantly, it has helped save the lives of the most vulnerable victims.”

 

 

 

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