October 19, 2010

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month highlights victims' gains and continuing needs

Gov. Jay Nixon has proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Missouri in recognition of the advances the state has made in protecting the rights of domestic violence victims, and to call attention to the need for additional progress.
"Missouri and the nation have made great strides in strengthening our criminal laws to protect domestic violence victims, in large part due to the hard work and determination of victims themselves and victims' advocates," said Gov. Nixon. "But more work remains to be done to ensure that domestic violence is reported and that victims and their families have the resources they need.”
According to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV), in 2009, approximately 37,000 domestic violence incidents were filed with Missouri law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that more than 50 percent of domestic violence incidents still are not reported to police. 
According to MCADSV, Missouri domestic violence programs provided a safe place to stay for more than 10,500 women, children and men in 2009, but were forced to turn away more than 15,000 others due to a lack of resources.
Over the last two decades, Missouri criminalized domestic violence and marital rape, established orders of protection with criminal penalties for violations, expanded funding for domestic violence services, strengthened child welfare laws to protect battered mothers and their children, and increased penalties for domestic violence offenders.
"Domestic violence is a crime that can affect victims in any part of our nation, said Gov. Nixon. "It is not confined to any social or economic group. We must continue to work to raise awareness of this devastating crime and support the agencies that are working to protect victims and their families, and to prevent it from taking place.” 
Those seeking more information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month should contact their local domestic violence agency or the Missouri Crime Victim Services Unit at 1-866-334-6682. The Missouri Crime Victim Services Unit is a program within the Department of Public Safety created to serve as a liaison between victims, victim service providers and the criminal justice system.



For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail