GREENPORT—October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (NDVAM), a time for public safety agencies, victim assistance organizations and community leaders to work together to provide greater awareness about domestic violence and support for its victims.
Domestic violence victims should be aware that they have access to vital information through two victim notification programs offered by the Sheriff’s Office through the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute, Inc., according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.
The first is the Family Court Order of Protection Notification Project SAVIN-NY (Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification), which allows domestic violence victims to register at www.savin-ny.org to be notified by phone, text message or email when a Family Court order of protection has been served. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Also available is the New York Sheriffs’ Victim Hotline—VINE® (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), which allows crime victims to register at www.vinelink.com or toll-free at 1-888-VINE-4-NY to be notified by phone or email in the event of an offender’s release from jail or prison. This service is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, about one-third of female murder victims were killed by an intimate partner.
“Victims of domestic violence often need the information that can be obtained by phone or on the internet that the VINE and SAVIN-NY programs provide. Both programs provide registered crime victims with critical information when they need it most. This allows domestic violence victims a greater degree of control in their lives and while making informed decisions about their safety,” Sheriff Harrison said in the release.
The sheriff thanked those who are often the first contact for victims of domestic violence when they call for help and support: in Columbia County, Sheriff’s Office communications officers provide victims with information, support and a calm voice to talk to until deputies or local police officers arrive at their location; County 911 emergency dispatchers receive emergency calls from domestic violence victims, many times when the violence is still in progress as they send police patrols; all law enforcement officers who respond to reports of domestic violence, one of the most dangerous calls a police officer gets. Also, Columbia Greene Domestic Violence, an organization who provides a 24-hour hotline, emergency confidential shelter for domestic violence victims, assistance with orders of protection, training for police officers when requested, assistance filing family court petitions and referral to legal and other victim services agencies.
The sheriff noted that there is hope, support and options for victims of domestic violence. They do not have to stay in a relationship which involves violence.