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Family Crisis Center to observe National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
new deh county commission crisis center pic
Pictured is the Family Crisis Center Domestic and Sexual Violence Center in Great Bend. The agency is observing October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. - photo by Tribune file photo

 AG Schmidt announces grants for Great Bend organization

The Family Crisis Center in Great Bend has been awarded more than $85,000 in grants to provide services for victims of crime, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced earlier this week.

The center was awarded grants to support the following programs:

• $46,000 to support the Child Advocacy Center, which provides advocacy, support and referrals for non-offending caregivers and children who are referred for services.

• $39,750 to provide quality, comprehensive services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, their families and friends through supervision, agency management and administrative oversight.

“Organizations across our state do great work to support thousands of crime victims each year,” Schmidt said. “We are proud to support the work of these organizations through the victims services grant programs.”

The awards were made from the Protection from Abuse Fund, State Crime Victims’ Assistance Fund and State Crime Victims’ Assistance Fund for Child Abuse and Neglect. The Protection From Abuse Fund is funded by State General Fund appropriations, marriage license fees, county court costs and municipal court assessments. The State Crime Victims’ Assistance Fund is funded though the remittance of applicable fines, penalties and forfeitures from clerks of the district courts. The State Crime Victims’ Assistance Fund for Child Abuse and Neglect is funded through county court costs, municipal court assessments, and State General Fund appropriations. 

 On Oct. 22, the Great Bend-based Family Crisis Center Inc. hopes to turn the community purple. The campaign, in which residents are encouraged to wear all things purple, is designed to call attention to domestic violence.

It will be part of Turning our Towns Purple in conjunction with National Network to End Domestic Violence, said center Executive Director Laura Patzner. It is also part of a month-long observation marking October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

“We will be asking everyone to get involved and will be posting pictures sent to us on our facebook page,” she said. “Wear your favorite purple shirt, decorate your workspace in purple, paint your windows purple. Get creative then share it with others as we show our support to survivors of domestic violence and stand together committing to ending domestic violence in our homes, in our communities and in our world.”

In addition, Patzner will seek a proclamation from the Barton County Commission Monday denoting the occassion.

This is a serious issue, she said. One in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her lifetime, and, on average, three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner. 

“In 2014, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Center (DSVC) answered 2,887 crisis calls, shelter, 97 women, men and children and worked with 382 domestic violence survivors with in their own communities,” Patzner said. “Domestic Violence is a pervasive problem that demands a multi-disciplinary approach to help survivors find safety, hold perpetrators accountable and create communities that are aware and able to respond.”

The economic downturn has had a devastating effect on local programs working to serve survivors of abuse. While a bad economy does not cause domestic violence, it can make it worse. At the same time, there are fewer options for survivors to escape. According to the 2012 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey, nearly eight out of ten domestic violence shelters nationwide reported an increase in women seeking help, while the vast majority experienced decreases in funding. 

Despite tremendous challenges, domestic violence shelters served nearly 70,000 victims in one day alone, according to the latest National Network to End Domestic Violence Domestic Violence Counts. More than three out of four domestic violence survivors who sought support groups, counseling, supportive services and legal advocacy found these services to be “very helpful,” the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and the University of Connecticut School of Social Work reported.

“Our doors are open and we are ready to assist survivors on their journey,” Patzner explained. “We are here to listen and stand with survivors as they explore their options and determine their path. Our services are 24 hours a day in ten counties; Barber, Barton, Comanche, Edwards, Kiowa, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush and Stafford counties.” 

Throughout October, communities across the country will mourn for those whose lives were taken by domestic violence, celebrate the tremendous progress victim advocates have made over the years, and connect with one another with a true sense of unity to end domestic violence. 

One can track Purple Day photos on the center’s Facebook page, facebook.com/FamilyCrisisCenter. For more information about the agency, contact Patzner at 620-793-9941.