NEWBURGH – Fearless! Hudson Valley, Inc. will observe National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October with virtual events throughout Orange and Sullivan County to promote healthy relationships and help communities engage in the prevention of intimate-partner violence. Fearless! mission is to build an informed, just, and accountable society so all people can experience supportive and safe relationships free from abuse, exploitation, and oppression. We do this by education, prevention, advocacy, and providing comprehensive services, including shelter, to victims and survivors of interpersonal violence, human trafficking and sexual violence, and other types of crime victimization.
An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Since 2004, 29 women in Orange County and 6 in Sullivan County have been killed by intimate-partners. In 2019, Fearless! advocates answered 7,968 hotline calls, provided 9,421 sessions of supportive counseling, created 5,110 individual safety plans, 5,419 nights of safety through our shelter, and provided 24,845 advocacy services.
The impact of domestic violence on our communities has not decreased over the years; in fact, the need for services has grown. Last year, Fearless! advocates responded to 2,740 crisis hotline calls between April 1st and August 31st. Advocates supported 3,906 crisis calls during the same period this year, reflecting a 42.55% increase in calls.
Access to services, support, and the ability for victims to make informed choices around safety, risk, and danger has been greatly impacted by the COVID. As a society, we have had to shelter-in-place since March to help stop the spread and save lives. This action also forced victims, adults, and children, to shelter-in-place with their abusive partners. All the necessary steps we took as a community to reduce our risks from COVID-19, increased potential risk, danger, and lethality for victims of domestic violence. COVID-19 and the policies and procedures created to address the disease’s impact provided abusers with additional tools to maintain power and control over their victims. The reduced access to criminal and civil systems left many victims unable to access services, support, and relief.
While this year may look different than any other year, community awareness, outreach, and working collaboratively is critical. “The past six months have shown us that we must work quickly, creatively, and together if we want to ensure victims know the services available and have the ability to access them,” said Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, Fearless! Executive Director.
A complete list of the agency’s awareness programs in October is available under the News & Events tab, Awareness Month Activities tab, October of www.fearlesshv.org.
They will include: We Can Be Heroes Run/Walk/Bike October 10th-18th, several virtual workshops on Relationships in a Digital Age, Relationships & COVID-19, and Domestic Violence 101, Virtual Clotheslines: October 8th, 19th, 29th, and 31st, online fundraising campaign throughout the month of October, surprise virtual guest appearances throughout the month, and Orange-Wears-Purple Day on October 22nd (wear purple in memory of victims of domestic violence).
If you or someone you know may need help, call Fearless! 24-HOUR-HOTLINE at 845-562-5340.