The Barton County Commission Tuesday morning heard an update on April’s observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month from Domestic and Sexual Violence Program Director Becky Davis of the Family Crisis Center.
Davis also recognized one of the commission’s own, Commissioner Don Davis, “as the most generous supporter.” He received a certificate and, as a regular participant in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, a red stiletto “that he doesn’t have to wear.”
In April, the commission adopted a proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Under that proclamation, all citizens were urged to become familiar with community resources and to be better prepared to assist survivors of sexual assault. The center provides such services under their victim advocacy and services program.
The center has held the second-annual Red Shoes and Bunco Too event Friday, April 13, at the Great Bend Columbus Hall; and the sixth-annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event and family fun night Thursday, April 26, in downtown Great Bend.
“We feel like these were successful events,” Becky Davis said. “We want to thank the county for its continued support.”
In April, center officials noted the following statistics:
• Eighty percent of those assaults are carried out on victims under the age of 30.
• Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be sexual assault victims.
• One in four women have been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
• Nearly 10 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped or physically hurt by their boyfriend.
Closer to home, the center received 273 calls reporting domestic violence in 2017, 93 of which were sexual assault. And, law enforcement received 213 calls in Barton County.
Sadly, cases of domestic violence are under-reported.
The Family Crisis Center, based in Great Bend, provides advocacy and support to all survivors and secondary victims of domestic and sexual violence, child abuse and neglect. The Domestic and Sexual Violence Center creates a safe environment for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to understand the resources and options available for those in Barton, Barber, Comanche, Edwards, Kiowa, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush and Stafford counties.
Also in April, the center requested a proclamation be adopted declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. This stated child abuse and neglect can be reduced by making sure families have the support needed to raise children in a healthy environment and that there are dedicated individuals and organizations in Barton County working to counter these problems.
The mission of the Dell Hayden Memorial Child Advocacy Center is “Providing victims of child abuse and their families a multidisciplinary response, advocacy and support to reduce trauma and hold perpetrators accountable while creating a safer community through awareness, education, and prevention.”
The Dell Hayden Memorial Child Advocacy Center creates a safe, family-friendly environment for children and families. The CAC becomes involved with the children and families upon referral from Department for Children and Families and/or Law Enforcement in order to assist with the investigative process and provide services through referrals as well as advocacy to the child and family. Services for the CAC are provided in Barton, Pawnee, Rush and Stafford counties.