Markell issues proclamation designating October as domestic violence awareness month in Delaware

Governor also signs executive order helping domestic violence victims who work for the state

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WILMINGTON – Governor Jack A. Markell today officially declared October 2009 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Delaware and signed an executive order that will increase protections for domestic violence victims who work for the state.

According the State Bureau of Identification, a total of 16,281 criminal incidents of domestic violence were reported in 2008, and of those incidents, 2,867 resulted in physical injury. The Division of Family Services reported that it investigated more than 6,000 cases of child abuse and neglect that included allegations of domestic violence.

“We should not and will not tolerate domestic violence in Delaware,” Markell said. “Behind all these numbers are real people, whose lives are impacted and whose voices are not always heard. The goal of this month and this executive order is to say ‘speak up, speak out’ because this must not continue. We must protect victims, hold offenders accountable and break the dangerous cycle of violence.”

The executive order Markell signed will lead to a policy mitigating the “personal and financial” challenges faced by employees who have been victims of domestic violence. The policy, which will be drafted by the state’s Human Resources Management office in conjunction with advocacy groups, will address issues such as leave, reasonable work-related accommodations such as job assignments and schedules, confidentiality and training for personnel to respond to domestic violence situations.

“Domestic violence victims deserve our support as they move on with their lives,” Markell said. “State government must protect their privacy, allow them to receive the help they need and ensure they are not hurt by insensitive and inflexible policies.”

Senator Patricia M. Blevins, Chair of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, stated “To help maintain the strong network of agencies that assist victims of domestic violence in Delaware, the Coordinating Council passed legislation establishing the Domestic Violence Fund. A portion of the fees charged for certified copies of a marriage license/certificate are allocated to the fund, which provides grants for domestic violence services in Delaware. The Request For Proposals (RFP) will be sent out shortly by the Criminal Justice Council, the agency designated to administer the funds.”

Carol Post, Executive Director of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said “This year is especially significant as we recognize the 15th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as well as the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The landmark VAWA legislation provided much needed financial and technical assistance to help communities improve their response.”

Commissioner Carl Danberg, DVCC Vice-Chair, spoke about the newly released Domestic Violence Coordinating Council Annual Report and the ongoing efforts of the Council to improve Delaware’s response to domestic violence.

In closing, Senator Blevins, said that “Delaware’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the services available to assist victims and to let those living with abuse know, help is available and they are not alone.”

To speak with someone confidentially about domestic violence call:

24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline Numbers

New Castle County 302-762-6110

Northern Kent County 302-678-3886

Kent & Sussex Counties 302-422-8058

Bi-lingual Hotline 302-745-9874