October Is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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October Is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Susan Clinton

Louisiana leads the nation in homicides due to domestic violence. In the first six months of 2010, four lives were lost to domestic violence in Region VI. Many more, primarily women and children, are victims but not fatalities. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  In Cenla, we are fortunate to have Turning Point Battered Women’s Program to provide support to the survivors of domestic violence.  The Turning Point Shelter is a 37-bed facility that houses 10–12 children monthly. Most stays in the shelter are for 45 days. The shelter also offers services for women and their families who transition out of the shelter into the community and return to the shelter for non-residential services.

Turning Point’s mission is to empower the survivors of domestic violence to make informed choices which lead to self-sufficient, independent and violence-free lives through provision of safe shelter and supportive services including counseling, education and advocacy.  All program services are free and confidential. Turning Point serves Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides and Winn parishes through a variety of different programs. 

The 24-Hour Crisis Line is answered by trained staff to provide support in time of crisis at any hour of the day or night.  Shelter is available for survivors of domestic violence and their children needing a temporary place to live. At Turning Point, they are provided with physical necessities, counseling, advocacy and referrals. While in the shelter, each woman develops a plan of action for her life.  Support is available for survivors and their children on an individual and group basis. Non-residential services are provided for survivors and their children who choose to remain in their homes but are in need of support, guidance and counseling.

Referral and advocacy are provided to assist with vocational and social services, and legal assistance is available to help file protective orders by calling (318) 419-1799.  The Turning Point Children’s Program provides support and counseling to domestic violence’s youngest victims.

October Is National Domestic Violence Awareness MonthI recently met with Annie Brown, Director, who explained that mothers who stay at the shelter or who transition out of it often have pressing financial needs. Clothing for newborns, boys and girls, pajamas, underwear, socks, shoes, diapers, wipes, formula, blankets, towels, washcloths and toys are all in short supply.

Because the work the shelter is doing is so important, I am working hard to help find donors to meet these needs. I have received items from friends who have children, parents in my son’s Musikgarten class, and a woman I met in a local children’s store. I plan to ask civic and church groups and anyone else I can think of. Act II Resale Shop and area children’s stores including Expectations, Life’s Little Treasures, Sue’s Child Shop and Sweet Dreams have all committed to donating items. Since families enter and leave the shelter, the need for these items is ongoing, so my efforts to assist Turning Point will also be continuous.  If you can donate new or gently-used items, it will make a big difference in the lives of both children and mothers.  Please contact me at (318) 561-0395 or by e-mail at susjim@gmail.com to make donations (which I will be happy to pick up) or to get additional information. You may also contact Turning Point directly at (318) 442-7196.