In an effort to bring more of awareness to domestic violence and to educate victims of their rights against it, the City of Chandler’s Domestic Violence Commission is hosting its 4th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Breakfast at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9 at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the breakfast promises to make available a lot of information for attendees, especially knowledge of victim’s rights. Information on legislative updates involving domestic violence, current statistics and tips on how to see signs and how to help someone going through domestic violence also can be obtained at the breakfast.
The breakfast is free.
So far, 70 people are registered, but plenty more are expected to attend, according to Peggy Dudinyak, program director for My Sister’s Place.
My Sister’s Place is a shelter in Chandler that provides shelter for up to 25 women at a time. But because of the rise in domestic violence in recent years, citing increased family pressures during a bad economy, the shelter has to turn away three-fourths of the people seeking help, Dudinyak said.
“It’s a very, very important event,” Dudinyak said of the breakfast. “Domestic violence is a very serious issue. There’s the actual victims, but the victims also are family members and children who see it and suffer through it. It can be a life-long issue and it can be deadly. Many people die from domestic violence.”
Last year, 106 people died from incidents of domestic violence in Arizona, according to statistics from the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“When the economy is bad, family pressures go up and instances of domestic violence increase,” Dudinyak said. “What we’re seeing now are more severe cases of domestic violence.”
During the event, a domestic violence survivor and mother of three will share her story – her name will not be used – about the night she was violently attacked by her abuser and her road to recovery.
The main speaker for the breakfast will be Glendale City Court Judge Elizabeth Finn, who is the longest-running bench serving judge in Arizona.
With more than 33 years of experience, Finn has implemented numerous domestic violence programs to increase accountability for the offense and was the main author of a guidebook for Arizona judges about procedures relating to orders of protection and injunctions against harassment.
Finn also pushed for a domestic violence task force involving various authorities such as police officers and court officials.
John Belatti, Chandler city prosecutor also will be speaking at the event.
“Domestic violence has always been high, but now we’re seeing more instances compounded with extra stressors,” Dudinyak said.
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