ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Tri-County Help Center will hold its annual March for Domestic Violence Awareness on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. The event is aimed to bring light on the issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse victims, prevention, and help. The public is invited to attend.
The march is set to kick off from the parking lot behind the Help Center on 104 North Marietta St. in St. Clairsville. Supporters will march to the courthouse, where there will be an informational program highlighting abuse, help, services and resources. Following this brief program, there will be a silent march back to the Help Center. Participants and supporters are welcomed to make and carry their own signs and posters. Upon conclusion of the silent march, there will be refreshments immediately following.
Participating in the program will be guest speaker, Amy Busic, Magistrate of the Belmont County Court of Common Pleas; music by Sarah Mahon-Hays and Mike Schumacher; and a reading by Girl Scout Troop 5774 led by Jennifer Shunk.
Advocates and community members participated in a previous Tri-County Help Center domestic violence awareness march to the Belmont County courthouse steps. This year's march, scheduled for Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. is open to the public. Volunteers are an essential part of the team effort available in support of victims of domestic violence and abuse in the Belmont, Harrison, and Monroe county areas.
October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month across the nation to shed light on the issue of domestic violence. The goal is to promote prevention of the problem by all means, but for those who may be in the midst of abuse, this information is even more valuable. Abuse victims are not alone, with resources such as this, and many others across the Valley.
Intimate partner violence in the United States is a costly and devastating problem. The facts remain that an average of three women in the United States lose their lives every day as a result of domestic violence; one in three Americans have witnessed an incident of domestic violence; and domestic violence has an annual cost to U.S. companies of $3.5 billion in lost work time, increased heath care costs, higher turnover and lower productivity.
"The problem of domestic violence affects all our communities, crossing all racial, social, religious, ethnic, geographic and economic groups," said Cathy Campbell, Tri-County Help Center executive director. "Locally, Tri-County Help Center, Inc. served over 500 primary victims which include providing 78 victims and their children with 594 nights of emergency safe shelter in 2012."
The Tri-County Help Center is a 24-hour program that provides safety and guidance for victims of abuse, whether it is immediately following, or days and months after abuse. The Center serves Belmont, Harrison, and Monroe counties. Workers licensed and specialized to help in these types situations are available to counsel adults, as well as children in areas such as depression, anxiety and grief.
Other services include group counseling, which adds another dynamic element to this array of services. Case management is also available for adults and children who need assistance and support in the community. Linkage to resources that are available on a local, state, and federal level is available too. Also on hand are court advocates who can provide support on behalf of victims through many of the processes.
While many of these services are aimed to aid those who have already been victims of abuse, the Help Center does provide community education and prevention, which is available to any organization, agency or group upon request. The first way to prevent these situations is to raise awareness about facts, coping strategies, and ways to escape dangerous environments before abuse can happen. The Help Center's mission emphasizes empowerment, education and equality in helping people overcome domestic violence, sexual abuse and mental illness.
"Peg's House" is a free, confidential 24-hour emergency shelter provided by the Tri-County Help Center to give survivors of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault a safe place to go while considering alternatives. Families at Peg's House receive counseling and support, safety planning and access to community resources such as Job and Family Services, legal aid or law enforcement. Sexual abuse survivors will also receive 24-hour crisis intervention and availability for hospital accompaniment. The hotline number for Peg's House is 800-695-1639.
Many volunteers help this great program run throughout the year, donating time of their own for a good cause. The Center is always looking for helping hands that are willing to help those in need during some especially trying times.
For more information, you can visit the Help Center's website at www.tricountyhelp.org or contact them by phone at 740-695-5441.