Local organization marks domestic violence awareness month

Franklin Co. Community Connections offering services to domestic violence survivors in First Step program

October is domestic violence awareness month, and Community Connections is looking to raise awareness about domestic violence through its First Step to New Beginnings Domestic Violence Program, which started in May. (Provided photo — Malone Telegram — Alexander Violo)

MALONE — Community Connections of Franklin County is marking this year’s domestic violence awareness month by sharing information on the programs available to domestic abuse survivors and raising awareness about domestic violence.

In recognition of October being domestic violence awareness month, Community Connections’ First Step to New Beginnings Domestic Violence Program is looking to start a conversation about domestic violence and how everyone in the county can contribute to addressing the overshadowed, but fundamental topic, according to Anita Plann, a licensed mental health professional with the organization.

“We are trying to get information out to as many people as we possibly can,” Plann said.

A prepared statement from Community Connections said on average, more than 100 domestic violence incidents come to the attention of law enforcement in Franklin County each year, with a total of 464 cases reported in the years between 2016 and 2019, according to data from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Additionally, domestic violence is believed to be the most underreported crime in the country, according to a Community Connections press release.

“Every1KnowsSome1” is the theme for this year’s domestic violence awareness month, according to the press release, which states National Domestic Violence Awareness Month began in 1989.

“As a society we all have a role in changing the narrative about what domestic violence is, to whom it happens, and how we can support those who are experiencing it, and ultimately prevent it entirely,” the press release said.

Plann said First Step to New Beginnings is a new non-residential domestic violence program, providing support and services to survivors of domestic violence, with the goal being to prevent domestic violence from occurring before it starts, and lessening the impact it has on survivors through survivor-centered services, and by holding abusive individuals accountable.

Plann said the program started in May and has received a positive response from community members.

“We have been extremely well received, all around the county,” Plann said.

The program serves domestic violence survivors and their family members in Franklin County, according to Plann, with the program’s services including, but not limited to, safety planning, and a 24-hour telephone and text hotline, a batterer intervention education program and support groups, in addition to referral, advocacy, counseling, and children’s services.

The First Step to New Beginnings hotline is 518-481-8748 for those looking to speak with a domestic violence advocate.

“Activities during October support us as we spread the word about our free and confidential services and educate Franklin County about the impact of domestic violence and how to prevent it,” the press release said.

Plann said people can show their support for domestic violence awareness month by sharing information about available programs throughout October, and participating in Purple Thursday on Thursday, Oct. 21. Purple ribbons are available at no cost from Community Connections.

“Throughout the month we will be handing out purple ribbons, we hope people wear purple and the ribbons, and post their photos on Facebook and Instagram,” Plann said.

Plann said on Purple Thursday, people wear purple to raise awareness about domestic violence and its impact, in an effort to commemorate domestic violence awareness month, encourage victims to seek help and reinforce zero tolerance for domestic violence.

“Domestic violence doesn’t end when October does, and neither will our efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence,” the press release said.

For more information, contact Plann via email at aplann@communityconnectionsfcny.org or call 518-521-3507.


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