Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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October 9, 2012

Concerned about domestic abuse

Many gather on Courthouse lawn Tuesday for proclamation declaring October the big month

Athens — The Henderson County Courthouse lawn was filled with members of the community, law enforcement and elected officials on Tuesday while Judge Richard Sanders signed a proclamation  declaring October as Domestic Violence Month.

The courthouse lawn is decorated with T-shirts made by community members in recognition of those who have suffered domestic violence.

According to the information provided to the Review, over 223,000 Texans have called a domestic violence hotline in 2011.

Crisis Director of Outreach for the Crisis Center Donna Johnson said, “Everyone is effected by domestic violence. If not you, then your family or friends have been.”

Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee said, “Family violence prosecutors inevitably deal with countless cases, in which the victim doesn't want  to prosecute, or actively works against you. It's easy to decline or dismiss a charge when you see that pursuing it will be an uphill battle.

“Family violence can't be fought like any other crime. An offense that happens within a family or intimate relationship is entirely different from, say, an assault by a stranger or acquaintance. It's easy to decline or dismiss a charge, when you see that pursuing it will be an uphill battle. That might be the right call with other type cases, but we’re never going to make a meaningful difference in reducing family violence, if we don't protect the most defenseless victims – those who must be saved from themselves. Simply put, what's been business as usual just isn't good enough anymore.”

Because of the amount of services the Crisis Centers handle, the money coming into the center is falling short of covering the demand for their services.

“One of the most disturbing things about family violence is the sheer scale of the problem,” said Johnson.

So far this year in Henderson County, the East Texas Crisis Center has provided services to 242 new victims, and services for 218 continuing clients. Family Peace Project has provided services for 98 new victims, and services for over 100 continuing clients.

A Wine and Cheese Party will be held at the Stone Oak Ranch on Friday, Oct 12 to benefit the Henderson County Crisis Center. Tickets are still available at a cost of $30.

To purchase your ticket, contact DeAnn Browning or Betty Herriage at the Henderson County District Attorney's Office, 903-675-6100.

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