October is domestic violence awareness month and advocates are using it is a chance to let everyone know help is available.
The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services will be holding a candlelight vigil for victims and survivors next week. The number of those impacted by domestic violence is more than breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer combined.
Cindy Carlson with the Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services, said she wants women to know, whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional abuse, you don't have to take it and there are options.
"There's 24 hour, seven days a week crisis hotline available,” Carlson said.
Last year, the Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services provided free, confidential help to more than 6,000 in need.
"We want to work with people individually to safety plan on an individual basis, so their lives become safer and they get the resources they need,” Carlson said.
Just two weeks ago, Lisa Infante, a mother of four, was shot and killed inside her Shelton home. Police said her husband of 27 years, Thomas Infante, whom she was divorcing, pulled the trigger.
"This is something that shouldn't be happening,” Carlson said. “But in the state of Connecticut, it averages 16 domestic violence deaths a year, it’s a serious problem."
Local advocates said they are working to spread the word.
"Domestic violence cuts across all socio-economic boundaries and the national statistic is that one in 3 families is affected by domestic violence,” Peggy Britt, who is the executive director with the Women and Family Life Center in Guilford, said. “It’s a bigger issue than most people realize."
The issue of domestic violence is taking center stage on the national level. That's because Greg Hardy is returning to the National Football League after a lengthy suspension. And some said he is not showing any remorse.
Hardy was convicted of violently assaulted an ex-girlfriend and even threatened to kill her. He appealed and when she wouldn't testify at the second trial, prosecutors had to drop the charges.
Britt has been helping women in need for nearly 25 years.
"Sometimes the woman is financially dependent on the abuser and so there doesn't seem to be a path of exit,” Britt said. “He goes to jail, what will she do."
In addition to the candlelight vigil on the Huntington Green on Oct. 13 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., there will also be an event later this month at New Haven City Hall with survivors and community members. The ninth annual Connecticut Domestic Violence Collaborative will be on Oct. 21 at 11 a.m.
The Connecticut State Police will have purple magnetic ribbons that state “CSP cares” on their cruisers for the domestic violence awareness.
"The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection has undertaken important steps to ensure that domestic violence situations are handled in the most comprehensive ways possible. Law enforcement continues to work proactively to improve its response to these serious and unfortunate circumstances," Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement on Friday.
State police responded to 1,381 calls for domestic violence. In more than 50 percent of those calls, “the intimate partner was determined to be at heightened risk of harm,” police said.
"We are committed to combating domestic violence and providing assistance to those most at risk," Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora Schriro said in a statement on Friday.
Each of the ribbons has the national DV Hotline number, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), on them.
"These ribbons provide an important opportunity to increase public awareness and promote the safety and wellbeing of those affected by this all too often deadly crime,” Schriro said.
Connecticut State Police Union President Andrew Matthews said troopers will “protect and defend” victims of domestic violence “from the danger and abuse.”
"Our troopers are dedicated to protecting the victims of domestic violence. We take great pride in working with communities on strategies to protect individuals, especially the children who live in daily fear of verbal and physical abuse," Matthews said in a statement on Friday.
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