Agencies work remind people of signs of domestic violence during awareness month
JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and local agencies have some reminders they want people to keep in mind.
Domestic violence affects people nationwide and here in our backyard. We’re told one way to help is to know signs that point to a potentially abusive relationship.
“There’s physical signs,” said Priscilla Pitts, JCSD Deputy & victim’s advocate. “Historically you’ve had somebody wearing dark sunglasses, wearing long-sleeves and it’s 90 degrees out trying to cover marks and bruises... If you notice isolation, somebody’s in a relationship and they... ‘I can’t come anymore, I can’t see you,’ very hard to make contact... things like that.”
Jones County sheriff’s deputies say offering support or calling 911 in emergency situations are some of the best actions to take.
“As a friend or family of someone who you suspect or know is in a domestic violence situation, just listen,” Pitts said. “Be there if they ask for help. If you see something, say something. And that applies in public and as well as private. If you are concerned, you can reach out absolutely to law enforcement...”
One agency working to help victims is the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter. It has two locations, one in Hattiesburg and one in Laurel, and offers several resources to victims.
“We’re able to provide clothing, shoes, school uniforms...,” said Becky Stewart, Executive Director, Domestic Abuse Family Shelter. “We have counseling, we have educational groups, job assistance, help with a birth certificate, an ID, transportation to a job.”
However, Stewart says the shelter needs help from the public in order to keep helping victims of domestic violence.
“We don’t charge a fee for any of our services,” Stewart said. “Those monies that are donated... I just can’t stress to people what difference that makes in the lives of victims who come to us.”
To donate to the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter, call its office at (601) 428-1707. If you are a victim of domestic violence needing shelter assistance, call the 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-649-1092.
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