AG Healey, MOVA Observe October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Also Marks 20th Anniversary of SAFEPLAN Program
STURBRIDGE – At an event commemorating 20 years of a successful state domestic violence advocacy program, representatives from Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) today acknowledged October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In a recent report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Center for Injury Prevention reported that one in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.
“Even one victim of domestic violence is one victim too many,” said AG Healey. “Programs such as the one being commemorated today assist domestic violence victims and can help prevent these situations from escalating. We will continue working together in our efforts to stop this abuse from happening, and to help those affected by domestic violence get the assistance and support they need and deserve.”
Today’s event commemorates 20 years of SAFEPLAN services, a program that is administered by MOVA. MOVA advocates for and assist victims of crime in Massachusetts and is governed by the Victim and Witness Assistance Board, chaired by the Attorney General.
“Domestic violence is prevalent in every community and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, or religion,” said Liam Lowney, MOVA’s Executive Director. “There are dedicated government and community based advocates located in District Attorney’s offices, the courts, hospitals, police departments, and community based agencies to offer alternatives and solutions to keep victims and their families safe and connect them with needed services. SAFEPLAN is one of those services which helps victims access protections offered by the courts but also to the services provided by their host agency – ensuring a holistic approach to the complex issues that result from domestic abuse.”
The daylong event includes SAFEPLAN Advocate recognition and a training presented by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell who developed the danger assessment instrument used nationwide to help determine the level of danger and lethality in intimate partner relationships.
SAFEPLAN provides specially-trained and certified advocates to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who are seeking protection from abuse. SAFEPLAN advocates are located in 44 district and probate courts throughout the state and provide crisis intervention, individualized safety planning, referrals to additional critical resources, education surrounding options available, and support and advocacy services.
The event is being held in Sturbridge and Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early is an honored guest. Worcester County provides a robust network of SAFEPLAN services to domestic violence victims in the area.
“The partnership among SAFEPLAN, MOVA and our courts has been enduring and successful,” Mr. Early said. “This is a continual battle and this partnership only serves to empower victims and face the problem head-on.”
MOVA funds government and community based agencies across the state that offer a range of services to domestic violence victims and their families including a 24-hour emergency hotline, crisis counseling, advocacy services, legal representation,
Many of these agencies recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month by hosting events and fundraisers to engage the communities they serve to raise awareness and support of these lifesaving services and, most importantly, work toward solutions to combat this critical public health issue.
To find out more about the SAFEPLAN Program or how you can get involved in Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities in your area, please visit MOVA’s website at www.mass.gov/mova, by following MOVA on Twitter (@MassMOVA) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/MassMOVA), or by calling 617-586-1340.