Residents ‘shop a mile’ for domestic violence victims

Shopping, community, and a good cause combined at the Westfield mall as the Center for Family Justice teamed up with the Trumbull Police Dept. to “Shop a Mile in Her Shoes,” an event aimed to bring about awareness of domestic and sexual violence.

“This is an event to end child abuse, domestic and sexual violence,” said Center ChairmanTom Gallo.

The Center provides support services to victims of domestic and sexual violence, including a free and confidential hotline at 203-384-9559 that is available 24 hours a day to assist the estimated 85% of women and 20% of men that are affected by domestic violence in their lives. In order not to discourage people seeking help, the Center will not call 911 without consent.

When a victim is ready for help, there are approximately 40 people on staff including counselors, attorneys, advocates, and even a court staff to walk clients through the legal process. The Center also helps develop safety plans so that victims and their families can leave without fear of being found.

“When you have to leave, we provide clothing, a ‘go bag’, even a safety phone from Verizon,” said Director Debra Greenwood. Later, clients are taken to a safe house, a 15- bed shelter in an undisclosed location. No one is ever turned away from the Center, she said.

Trumbull Police Chief Michael Lombardo related how domestic violence impacts Trumbull, with approximately 300 domestic-related calls each year, including numerous violent situations. In one incident, an ex-husband attacked a woman and took their young child. The man was later arrested in New York and the child returned.

“Victims usually call when the situation is out of control,” Lombardo said. “Our main goal is to get in before it escalates.”

Members of the White Ribbon Campaign, an international organization of men who pledge to end violence against women through educational workshops, were also on hand.

“Domestic violence is a man’s problem, so we are the solution,” Gallo said. “We have to teach men and boys the values of right and wrong. Instill how to treat women and girls and children.”