Local organizations work to aid those affected by violence

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, October 12, 2016


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Georgia Grodowitz, executive director of Haven House Family Shelter, said in addition to aiding women and children in the shelter, the organization also reaches out to woman through the court system to offer help.

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She said there are usually over 300 cases of domestic violence a year in city court and up to 200 in the county.

“Most incidences that occur, nobody ever knows about because its mostly behind closed doors. The ones we hear about have sometimes been years and years of abuse before the public hears about it because most people want to keep their business to themselves and especially in the family,” Grodowitz said.

She said domestic violence is a progression and can take the form of being controlling, verbal abuse, emotional abuse or physical abuse.

The shelter, located in Vicksburg, was created to give women and children support and services away from their abuser to heal and empower them to live free of violence.

“Somebody can get over a cut, a bruise, but it’s the emotional side of that that takes so much to heal,” Grodowitz said.

Domestic violence impacts more than the couple. Children who witness domestic violence are likely to emulate the behavior they have seen.

Erma Driver, executive director of the Child and Parent Center, said there is a direct relation between domestic abuse and child abuse.

Vicksburg has 136 children in the Court Appointed Special Advocates program through the CAP Center.

She said of those children, 92 percent came from domestic violence households.

“It is a serious, serious issue. I don’t think people really realize how many cases we have here in Warren County that are horrific,” Driver said, adding the county is in need of more CASA volunteers who the CAP Center will train to work with the family and investigate the household. “That is the most important thing that you can do for a child is to advocate for them in a court of law.”

Child abuse comes in many forms just like domestic violence. Driver mentioned physical abuse, sexual abuse and mental abuse.

“Most of our cases are neglect,” Driver said.

She said the CAP Center offers mentoring to children by just talking with them or playing games with them for about an hour a week to give them a little relief from the things they have experienced. The center also offers parent education.

Driver said the community has to be involved whether it is through volunteering or support through fundraisers.

“Be a part of the solution; let’s not talk about the problem, but the symptoms, the signs of child abuse and most important is the solution, and it lies with you,” Driver said.

For more information, contact Haven House at 601-638-0555 or 1-800-898-0860 and the CAP Center at 601-634-0557 or visit capcenter.net.