• 54°

Domestic violence awareness month

In a 24-hour period on Sept. 13, 2018, the 12 identified domestic violence programs in Mississippi served 350 victims and answered 123 crisis hotline calls, according to the National Census of Domestic Violence Services conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

The census report states that 130 adults and children received non-residential services, including counseling and legal advocacy, and 220 domestic violence victims stayed in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by the programs.

In that 24-hour period, there were 42 unmet requests for services like emergency shelter, transportation and childcare, because programs did not have the resources to provide them, the report states.

In the past year, Mississippi domestic violence programs had to eliminate 13 staff positions, which means there were fewer advocates to provide services, according to the report.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline documented 1,161 contacts from Mississippi in 2018, and the state is 35th in contact volume to the hotline, according to the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence website.

October is domestic violence awareness month, which is an opportunity to remind the public that domestic violence exists and draw attention to the resources available, said Paula Granger, the training coordinator for the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“Even though it thrives in the dark, I think October shines a light on it in a way that’s not necessarily shown throughout the year, and even though people experience domestic violence throughout the year, I think October is a chance to really push forward resources,” Granger said.

The coalition has 12 shelters that serve 82 counties across the state. The coalition also offers a legal services coordinator, who assists victims statewide in finding protective services, and divorce or child custody assistance, Granger said. So if someone lives in one county, but has fled to a different county, the legal services coordinator can help them find legal services from anywhere in the state.

Pearl River County is served by the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence, which helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The center’s services include a domestic violence crisis line, domestic violence shelters, residential counseling, nonresidential outreach counseling, case management, transitional to permanent housing, court support and advocacy, childcare, a batterer intervention program, emergency transportation and referrals, according to the center’s website. The domestic violence shelter in Harrison County provides services to Pearl River County residents, according to the website.

The Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence can be contacted at 800-898-3234 or 601-981-9196 or by visiting the website at mcadv.org. The Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence crisis line is 800-800-1396. Their website is gccfn.org. The national domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233.