Be Aware: Domestic Violence

October is domestic violence awareness month.
The Okaloosa Walton Domestic Violence Coordinating Council is doing its part to make people aware of the issue and that help is available.
First responders, who deal with domestic violence every day, are receiving some training that could save lives.
Friday's domestic violence training held special meaning for some of these first responders.
Earlier this year, two Okaloosa County deputies were killed after responding to a domestic violence call.
To better prepare first responders for these types of situations, the Okaloosa Walton Domestic Violence Coordinating Council sponsored nationally renowned domestic violence trainer Lt. Mark Wynn.
"We all need to be able to work together and in order to do that we all have to have the same knowledge base," says the Co-Chair of OWDCC Rebecca Bussman.
Wynn touched on victim and officer safety, threat assessment, and responding to children at the scene.
But the most important lesson was finding new ways for law enforcement, service providers and advocates to work together to end domestic violence.
"If we can't give the victim safety and justice, which means an arrest of the offender and prosecution, then victims aren't going to call us. We understand that. We're training officers to understand the better job we do, the less likely that the victim is going to be a victim in the future," says Lt. Mark Wynn.
Domestic abuse can affect anyone.
It knows no economic status, race, or gender.
Wynn says thousands of people become domestic violence victims each year.
"This is probably the most committed and least reported crime in the country. Every 18 months we're going to loose as many people killed in domestic violence as we lost in 9/11.”
Wynn says the key to stopping the abuse is to report the crime, then trust law enforcement to keep you safe.
"We want victims to pick up the phone and call the local police department, or local sheriff's department and ask for help."
Most communities have domestic violence hotlines.
The statewide toll free line is 1-800-500-1119.
Operators will connect you to the program nearest you.
Or you can call your local sheriff's office for more information.



 
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