DV2On October 18, Westchester County Executive George Latimer recognized the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. October 18 is also “Wear Purple Day,” and the County Executive encouraged all employees to wear an item of purple clothing in honor of domestic violence victims, and survivors. In a small ceremony at the County Executive’s office, Latimer lit a candle to “shine the light” on victims of domestic abuse.

Latimer said: “Domestic violence affects millions – both women and men of every race, religion, culture and status. To address domestic violence we must look at both sides of the equation – support for our victims and their families and accountability of offenders to stop the abuse. This month-long observance reminds us how important it is to stay vigilant with our message that domestic violence must end.” 

A number of Westchester County’s community partners were represented at the event, including the Pace Women’s Justice Center, My Sisters’ Place, Hope’s Door, WestCOP, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and The LOFT: LGBT Community Services Center.

Latimer was also joined by members of the District Attorney’s Office, the Office for Women, the Department of Probation, the Department of Community Mental Health, the Department of Social Services, the Office for People with Disabilities and the Youth Bureau. The Departments work in tandem address domestic violence on two fronts – safety for victims and their families, and accountability for the offenders to stop the abuse.

Executive Director of the Office for Women Robi Schlaff said: “We are fortunate in Westchester County to have such committed, compassionate and competent partners working together in our coordinated community response to domestic violence. The incidence of domestic violence knows no social, economic, racial nor ethnic boundaries. All victims deserve to be treated with respect, to have their safety and the safety of their families paramount, and to have the force of the criminal justice system with them to put an end to abuse.”

Commissioner of the Department of Probation Rocco Pozzi said: “Offender accountability is an essential component of Probation Department’s mission to bring an end to domestic violence and abuse. Thanks to a collaborative effort between our County Departments and community partners, we are able to provide the necessary resources that discourage abusive behaviors by domestic violence offenders.”

Executive Director of the Westchester County Youth Bureau Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden said: “To effectively stem Domestic Violence, we must equip our youth with the tools to develop healthy relationships and norms. The Westchester County Youth Bureau partners with a number of non-profit organizations to model healthy attitudes and beliefs and the avoidance of domestic violence.”

Commissioner of the Department of Social Services Kevin McGuire said: “The physical and emotional impact of domestic violence on children and families is devastating to the health and well-being of victims. The Department of Social Services partners with other County Offices, community providers and families themselves to intervene in this cycle of violence, and provide safety and services for children and families.”

Executive Director of Hope’s Door CarlLa Horton said: “One in three women and one in four men experience physical abuse by a partner. The violence hurts everyone, and everyone has a role to play in helping victims find safety, independence and healing from the trauma of abuse. Domestic Violence Awareness Month shines a light on the issue, and lets victims know they are not alone. If you or someone you know is in danger, please call our hotline at 888-438-8700. Call and speak up for yourself or for someone who can’t.”