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Domestic violence continues to be the highest service call for Amberly’s Place, with the agency responding to 30% more calls for this type of abuse than this same time last year.
The family advocacy center assisted 78 primary victims of domestic violence, which brings the year-to-date total to 798.
Overall, the center provided services to 230 primary and secondary victims of all kinds of abuse in September, according to the last figures released by the agency.
Amberly’s Place serves primary and secondary victims in Yuma County and parts of Imperial County. Secondary victims are those who witness and/or are directly impacted by the abuse of the primary victim.
“The good news is that more and more people are taking a stand and choosing to seek assistance and resources to end domestic violence in their lives,” said Tori Bourguignon, the center’s executive director.
“We are grateful to be able to serve abuse victims in our community alongside many partner agencies. It takes all of us to move the needle and reduce violence in our communities,” she added.
October marked Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To show support, public buildings sported purple lights and public safety vehicles displayed purple ribbon magnets.
Several awareness events were held, and local cities and towns read proclamations. Domestic violence task forces in Somerton and San Luis also hosted awareness walks and events to shed light on this issue.
On Oct. 20, the Yuma County Victim Rights Committee hosted the annual Domestic Violence Vigil at the Yuma County Library.
“Domestic violence is often hidden in plain sight and impacts our community in so many ways,” Bourguignon said.
She pointed out statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV.org), which note that the costs of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking exceeds $5.8 billion each year. Nearly $4.1 billion goes to direct medical and mental health care services.
Survivors of intimate partner violence lose 8 million days of paid work each year and up to 50% of survivors of intimate partner violence who are employed are harassed at work by their abusive partners.
Bourguignon also noted that more than 12 million women and men are victims of physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States every year. One in four women and one in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
Domestic violence accounts for 21% of all violent crimes. In addition, 30% of children exposed to intimate partner violence had their first exposure before the age of 2 and an additional 26% had their first exposure between the ages of 2 and 7.
“Witnessing violence in the home during childhood is an adverse childhood experience, which without proper support may lead to a greater risk of lasting negative effects on health and well-being,” Bourguignon said.
She thanked the local municipalities for hosting events and all those who supported Amberly’s Place in marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“We appreciate all who joined us in lighting Yuma purple and raising awareness about domestic violence,” she said.
To talk to a crisis advocate, call the 24-hour helpline: 928-373-0849. For more information on spotting the signs of abuse, go to www.AmberlysPlace.com.