October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 1, 2013

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Oct. 1
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – A special ceremony hosted by Governor Paul R. LePage to highlight domestic violence awareness, support victims and celebrate advocates who dedicate themselves to eradicating the violence will take place at the State House on Wednesday, Oct. 2. The ceremony, which marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month will be at 9:30 a.m. in the Governor’s Cabinet room where Governor LePage will proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and make a major announcement regarding a community initiative that supports families and victims of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence takes the lives of too many every year here in Maine. The physical violence alone is heart-wrenching,” said Governor LePage. “However, the emotional scars from domestic violence are lasting as well.”

There are many organizations in Maine working to end domestic violence, including the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) and Womancare. Members from both organizations are expected to attend, as well as state and local officials, representatives from law enforcement, business and community leaders and victims’ advocacy groups.

There have been 17 homicides in Maine this year – 6 have been related to domestic violence. Every murder is a somber reminder of the reality many families face, and why efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence and provide Mainers with resources about this abuse have remained a top priority for Governor LePage since taking office in 2011.

The LePage administration has worked closely with domestic violence advocates to improve domestic-violence laws and hold perpetrators accountable. Earlier this year, Governor LePage signed into law an emergency measure directed at reducing the number of domestic violence victims and ensuring offenders receive the tools they need to identify and end their abusive behavior. The new law focuses on batterer’s intervention programs, which hold abusers accountable for their actions, making certain that offenders can be sentenced to these programs.

Governor LePage also has worked to amend Maine’s bail code to ensure judges determine bail for domestic violence offenses, expanded financial resources for victims and their families by requiring abusers to pay into the Victim’s Compensation Fund and helped create a workplace policy for responding to domestic violence abusers, which all state agencies implement.

To locate your local Domestic Violence Resource Center, call the Statewide Helpline at 1-866-834-HELP (4357) or visit www.mcedv.org.