Domestic Violence Awareness Month reminds communities to take care of victims

By Deanna Thompson, Guest Columnist

Domestic violence is a global and local human rights crisis that took the lives of at least 34 Minnesotans in 2011. With drastic funding cuts, Minnesota’s domestic violence programs and partners are struggling to offer the essential life-saving services that have assisted more than 60,000 primary victims in the last year, according to preliminary Office of Justice Programs’ data. In recognition of the importance of these issues, Gov. Mark Dayton has designated October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Minnesota.

The Governor’s Proclamation emphasizes that domestic violence violates one in three women’s human rights, and undermines the economic stability, safety and well-being of our communities. Gov. Dayton lauds Minnesotans’ response to domestic violence, and reminds us that it is our duty to honor victims and survivors and to protect all Minnesotans’ rights to life, safety and equality.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, join us to educate and raise awareness about the prevalence of domestic violence in our communities and the services we provide to help curb violence in our community.

In addition to our local efforts, we work closely with our statewide coalition the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) to elevate the concerns of victims of domestic violence. MCBW’s annual Femicide Report documents the numbers of people who are killed in Minnesota as a result of domestic violence. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, MCBW has released its preliminary Femicide Report for 2012, which documents at least 16 domestic violence homicides so far this year. The complete report will be released in January 2013.

Deanna Thompson works with the Hands of Hope Resource Center, and can be reached at (320) 632-1657, (320) 632-5457 or by e-mail at [email protected].