In Barton County in the past year, over 369 people sought domestic violence victim services and were served by Family Crisis Center Inc. Furthermore, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation reports domestic violence-related homicides accounted for one-fourth, or 25.3%, of all homicides in Kansas in 2018.
With these tragic statistics in mind, the Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a proclamation marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2019. This is the 32nd year for this annual observance and the state proclamation will be signed by the governor at a ceremony on Friday.
“Domestic violence is preventable,” said Becky Davis, Family Crisis Center program director. It is important that measures be taken to provide domestic violence victims services as about one-quarter of the homicides in Kansas are perpetrated by current or former intimate partners.
“Domestic violence is a widespread, preventable, public health problem impacting all demographics of Barton County and surrounding communities,” she said. “Relationships are often counted as life’s greatest treasures, and tragically, many are tarnished by one person’s entitlement to power and control over the other, resulting in violence and fear.”
Abusers are violent and cause fear for their victim(s) by violating the individual’s privacy, dignity, security, and humanity with their intentional, systematic use of financial, psychological, sexual, and physical coercive control and abuse, Davis said
According to the proclamation, “we, as the governing body of Barton County, recognize that this violence is inconsistent with Barton County values and cannot be tolerated.”
A bigger picture
The month is dedicated to increasing awareness about domestic violence and how widespread domestic violence is, said Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence Executive Director Joyce Grover. “It takes us all to create safer communities free from violence and oppression.”
Statewide, in 2017, Kansas law enforcement agencies reported 22,708 domestic violence incidents and 11,356 domestic violence arrests, according to the coalition. In the same year, 59,481 Kansans sought and were provided with victim advocacy services by 26 victim advocacy services programs across the state.
In 2018 the numbers are:
• 77,263 Kansans sought and were provided with victim advocacy services by 26 victim advocacy services programs across the state.
• In just one day, Kansas domestic violence victim advocacy services programs provided services to a total of 702 domestic violence victims.
• 4,000 requests for service had to be referred to other service providers outside the victim’s community.
• One in four homicides in Kansas were domestic violence-related.