Candlelight vigils for victims of domestic abuse

The Center for Family Justice has scheduled seven area vigils to remember victims and survivors of domestic abuse, including one on Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. in front of the gazebo on Sherman Green.

Since the video of NFL player Ray Rice beating his then-fiancée surfaced, calls to the Center for Family Justice domestic violence hotline have increased almost 50%, as have walk-ins to the center’s headquarters in Bridgeport and its four satellite offices in Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.

The current intense media focus on domestic abuse makes the center’s candlelight vigils during October, Domestic Violence Awareness month, even more poignant this year. At each vigil, a bell will chime every nine seconds as a reminder that every nine seconds another person becomes a victim of domestic abuse.

At each vigil, the names of Connecticut’s victims of domestic violence in the past year are read.

“The vigils are the center’s way of honoring the victims of domestic abuse and violence, but are also a chance for us to raise awareness about this issue and spread the word that we are here to help anyone suffering from domestic, sexual and child abuse and violence,” said Debra A. Greenwood, president and CEO of the center. “It is our hope that the vigils will make victims strong enough to speak to us privately and learn about our free and confidential services.”

Each vigil will feature speakers, including elected officials and staff from the center, describing services available for abuse victims and steps they can take.

About the center

The Center for Family Justice  brings all domestic, sexual and child abuse services — crisis intervention, police, prosecutors, civil legal providers, counseling — under one roof, in its headquarters in Bridgeport.
The organization has worked for 12 decades to provide free, confidential, bilingual crisis services in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.

Within the past year, the center answered more than 950 calls on a 24-hour crisis hotline; assisted with court processes for more than 2,500 survivors of domestic violence; responded to more than 500 survivors of sexual assault and their families; provided a safe home for more than 100 women and children fleeing domestic abuse; coordinated the investigations of more than 170 cases of child sexual and severe physical abuse, developing service plans for the young survivors and their families; and provided psycho-educational support to more than 1,200 survivors of domestic violence.

As part of its mission, the center educates approximately 4,000 members of the community about the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to prevent future violence and spread the word about the services offered at the center. Annually, the center teaches more than 2,000 children and teens about building healthy relationships, bullying prevention and dating violence.

For more information, visit CenterForFamilyJustice.org.

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