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Orange County Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month with Clothesline Project

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

In what has become an annual ceremony of to keep the promise of "Never Forgetting" domestic abuse, physical and emotional abuse that too often results in death, residents and Orange County officials stood before a line of 650 Tee shirts strung along the entire front side of the Orange County Government Center, with both heartbreaking and inspirational comments by victims of abuse and their families. One woman stood weeping while the names of those killed during domestic violence were read.

The T-Shirt display will be travelling to various sites during October.

Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, Executive Director of Fearless Hudson Valley (formerly Safe Homes), described challenges of their work as a private organization that hosts a broad spectrum of free services to help these victims find legal, advocacy resources as well as in-person and 24-hour online support. The networking can enable them to leave their dangerous situation, she said adding, "You might think that in a small relatively quiet county like ours there is not that much domestic violence, maybe a call or two now and then. On the contrary, we have over 11,000 calls per year, and 1 in every 4 women will experience being a victim during their life." She described some of the challenges in the work they do assisting these people, including the networking they do to help someone successfully begin a new life. She thanked the many county departments, especially the police and jail officials, for the support that they provide Fearless during the process of helping victims. Last year they provided Advocacy Services to 23,276 clients, 3,833 nights of safety, 5,467 Adults and children served, and 11,123 hotline calls.

County Executive, Steve Neuhaus, added his concern over the increases this year in all types of violence, and said "We are here to celebrate the survivors". With the number of incidents just this week including several murders, shootings, bridge jumpers and arrests of a Tri-County drug ring where most of those arrested were turned right back out into the community, he said that nearly 1/3 of his time is used to deal with crime. His concern was visible as he stated the need for everyone to step up and work together to solve and end this extended spell of violence, and adding "I'm in the military, and when things get like this it's time to give Marching Orders!

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