Lehigh Valley organization warns of signs of domestic violence
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to Turning Point of Lehigh Valley, there have been 87 deaths linked to domestic violence in Pennsylvania this year alone.
Diane Zanetti executive director of Turning Point, an agency that helps victims of domestic violence, wants to remind everyone that it's more than the physical.
“The emotional, the verbal, the psychological, the sexual, the economic, all of those forms of abuse.... we're more than a shelter, we provide the counseling, we provide the case management, we have prevention programs, we have training for community agencies, we have legal advocates that will accompany victims through the court process of getting a protection order” said Zanetti.
Zanetti adds no one is immune, domestic violence affects people regardless of their socio-economic status or background, there's also another group experts say is becoming increasingly vulnerable.
Zanetti says one of the growing trends they're seeing is more cases of domestic violence among teenagers.
She says some children as young as 11 are identifying themselves as either being in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
“He or she tells me what I should wear, calls me all the time, keeps me from talking to my friends, is very jealous ' then we can work with the student and say you know this is not a healthy sign” said Zanetti.
To help address the issue, Turning Point and other agencies across the state are focusing on prevention, talking to students about normal relationship behaviors.
As for the rest of us Zanetti says domestic violence affects more than just the victim.
“This isn't something that just happens behind closed doors, it impacts you, it impacts me, it impacts coworkers, children, family, neighborhoods, communities, it's our issue” she said.
Turning Point will hold its annual candlelight vigil, Thursday October 18th at 6:30pm at Lees Memorial Chapel at Cedar Crest College.
The vigil is to “mourn the loss of victims of domestic violence, and celebrate the survivors who have broken the cycle of violence and now live in peace.” - Turning Point of Lehigh Valley.
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