Hotline Calls Spike at Local Women's Shelter, Highlighting Importance of October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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As Domestic Violence Awareness Month kicks off, Doorways for Women and Families, Arlington's leading provider and advocate for victims of homelessness, violence and abuse, is experiencing a 56 percent increase in hotline calls this year, a sign that domestic violence prevention remains exceptionally important. In response, Doorways is launching two programs in October.

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month kicks off, Doorways for Women and Families, Arlington's leading provider and advocate for victims of homelessness, violence and abuse, is experiencing a 56 percent increase in hotline calls this year, a sign that domestic violence prevention remains exceptionally important. In response, Doorways is launching two programs in October--The Red Flag Campaign and Healthy Relationships seminars--targeted to helping young adults and teens break the cycle of domestic and dating violence.

"The economy is definitely putting more women at risk of abuse. Our phones are ringing off the hook with people asking for help. Unfortunately, due the recession, we are also seeing more women afraid to leave their abusers because they don't think they can make it on their own," explained Linda Dunphy, Doorways' executive director. "That's why it is more important than ever to educate young adults and teens about healthy relationships, so we are targeting our October efforts to them."

Dating violence on college campuses is an epidemic crime. Young women between the ages of 16-24 in dating relationships experience the highest rate of domestic violence and sexual assault.* With a Verizon Foundation grant, Doorways is partnering with area colleges on The Red Flag Campaign, a dating violence awareness effort that educates young adults about how to recognize the warning signs of dating violence as well as the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

As part of the campaign, Doorways will be promoting dating violence awareness at several local universities starting in October, including Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason, Marymount and the Art Institute of Washington. The campaign also includes partnerships with these schools' Women's Centers, student activities and residence life, and includes poster and flag displays, monthly movie events and discussions about healthy relationships and dating violence, brown bag discussions, and faculty and student group outreach.

The second program Doorways is offering in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month is Healthy Relationships and Parents 101, a free seminar on October 14th from 7-8:30pm at Doorways' main office. The seminar is designed to help parents learn to spot the warning signs of teen dating violence, talk to their children about healthy relationships, and find helpful resources.

More information about domestic and dating violence prevention, including instructions on how to sign up for these programs, is available on Doorways web site or by calling 703-522-8858.

ABOUT DOORWAYS FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES
For 30 years, Doorways for Women and Families, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, strives to end homelessness and family and intimate partner violence by offering safe shelter and housing, life changing support services and community advocacy. Recognized as a well-managed leader and innovator, Doorways has received numerous accolades, including the Washington Post's Excellence in Nonprofit Management, Charity Navigator's Four Stars for financial responsibility and Washingtonian Magazine's Great Charities list. http://www.doorwaysva.org

*Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence. May, 2000

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Shawn Flaherty
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