Stephanie Rowe: Domestic violence victims have rights, too


THEIR VIEW

Stephanie Rowe - Contributing columnist



Annabelle, a 65-year-old Delaware County resident, suffered frequent beatings by her husband for more than 20 years before leaving her marriage. A retired nurse, she knew about Turning Point, the shelter for victims of domestic violence and turned to them for help.

She lived at the shelter for six months and received emotional support as well as assistance in creating a new life for herself. She just moved into a new apartment and is living violence-free.

Like Annabelle (not her real name), an estimated 980 Delaware County women between the ages of 18-64 are physically assaulted by a current or former partner every year, according to the Ohio Family Violence Prevention Project. In addition, requests for civil protection orders increased by 60 percent from 2007 to 2012.

The combination of high domestic violence incidents, the dramatic increase in civil protection filings and Delaware County’s rapid population growth make two upcoming events of special interest to local victims and residents.

First, victims of crime, victim assistance professionals, justice and allied professionals, students and the general public from north-central Ohio can learn about victims’ rights and the community services available to them during a panel discussion hosted by Turning Point on Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to noon at the William Street United Methodist Church in Delaware. The discussion is free to the public and is the culmination of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week from April 10-16.

Diane Linville, program Manager, Adult Court Services, will serve as the panel moderator. Panelists will include Deb McCurdy, victims’ rights advocate, Turning Point; Nora Flanagan, Sexual Assault Response Network coordinator, Helpline of Delaware & Morrow Counties Inc.; Christopher Woeste, victims’ rights attorney at the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center; Shannon Farley, anti-trafficking intern with the Salvation Army’s Anti-Human Trafficking Program; Valerie Hooper, domestic violence specialist/sex offender & arson watch, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office; and a special guest, a survivor of domestic violence who will share her courageous story of survival.

The panelists will discuss how they can help victims of crime rebuild their lives. Information will include victims’ rights and legal options, ways of coping with the impact of crime, developing a safety plan and learning to navigate the criminal justice system and social service systems. A question-and-answer session will follow.

As a victim of crime, a person has the right not only to be informed but to be heard and be able to seek restitution when possible.

Turning Point provides survivors of domestic violence with safe temporary housing, individual and group education, advocacy programs, transitional housing, outreach programs for teens and children and a 24-hour crisis line. Turning Point serves a six-county area of Crawford, Delaware, Marion, Morrow, Union and Wyandot counties, making it the largest rural domestic violence shelter in Ohio.

However, Turning Point recognized the growing need for Delaware County to have its own shelter for victims of domestic violence. The United Way of Delaware County, Women’s Leadership Network and other community leaders have come together to help Turning Point in reaching their goal of a shelter in Delaware County. Last year, phase one of the Delaware shelter project was completed when about $228,000 was raised to purchase a site that can be redeveloped to serve the needs of local survivors of domestic violence.

When renovations are completed and the new shelter is open, Delaware County residents like Annabelle can find a safe haven from violence and the calm and help needed to create a safe future in their own community.

Turning Point is a nonprofit agency. Funding comes for a variety of sources, including the United Way and the Delaware/Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

If you or someone you know needs help or if you would like more information, please call 800-232-6505 or 740-382-8988.

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THEIR VIEW

Stephanie Rowe

Contributing columnist

Stephanie Rowe is development coordinator at Turning Point.

Stephanie Rowe is development coordinator at Turning Point.