October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022 9:49am

By Safe Passage, Inc., news release

Safe Passage recently experienced the highest number of crisis calls to date on their hotline service.

The Kristina Asche-Jones celebration of life in July at Pollard Bowl raised not just awareness of domestic violence but also dollars. The family generously donated $5000 of the proceeds from the benefit to Safe Passage. Family and friends gathered at the Sept. 21 check presentation to Safe Passage: from left, Ella Meyer, Bill Meyer, Autumn Humphries, Rick Pollard, Heather Humphries, Vicky Pollard, Erica Pollard, Safe Passage Executive Director Cari Kettman, Al, Dusty and Tina Asche, with children Kali, Konnor and Kaiya Asche. Photo provided.

(Batesville, Ind.) - Safe Passage recently experienced the highest number of crisis calls to date on the hotline service with 90 calls for the month of August 2022. This is on top of a 139 percent increase in shelter clients since January, and a 142 percent increase in overnight stays at the 30-bed shelter.

Safe Passage is the sole support provider of domestic and violence services for six counties in southeast Indiana: Dearborn, Ripley, Franklin, Ohio, Switzerland and Jefferson Counties. “It’s not just one thing, but a myriad of reasons for this record increase…from the pandemic and stress to a need for safe shelter due to the housing shortage,” said Kim Bohman, Director of Empowerment Services. “On a more positive note, the increase in calls is also attributed to our amazing collaborative partners who share information about the free supportive services offered through Safe Passage. We know the more who know about us, the more we can serve.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. The nonprofit is bringing attention to this local and national community issue through various awareness activities. 

The severity and lethality of recent Domestic Violence (DV) cases has increased since the pandemic. The Indiana Dept. of Domestic Violence reported 98 DV related homicides between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, a 181 percent increase. The Safe Passage local service region is not immune. In 2021, our community lost Kristina Asche-Jones, of Holton, to a domestic violence homicide. In imposing the 65 year sentence in June 2022, the judge said aggravating factors led to the increased sentence, and that there was evidence of an escalating domestic violence relationship. Her family and friends held a benefit in Versailles and recently presented a $5,000 check to Safe Passage in appreciation and support of the non-profit’s life-saving mission of providing help, healing and hope to domestic violence survivors and their children. The family does not want others to ever experience the pain of losing someone like Krissy from domestic violence and is committed to promoting awareness.

Domestic and sexual violence is about power and control, and not limited to physical abuse; it can be verbal, sexual, emotional, neglect and isolation or financial. On average the local nonprofit serves 1,300 a year through the toll-free help and TEXT line, the 30-bed shelter or the nonresidential programming (for those who don’t need emergency shelter but do need support).

Established 25 years ago, Safe Passage has helped 16,000 survivors and their children escape from a lifestyle of violence. Services include shelter, transportation, legal advocacy, emergency hospital response, job and housing assistance, children’s programming, counseling, wellness and life skills.

“Everyone deserves to have a healthy, loving and respectful relationship, no matter what,” said Cari Kettman, Executive Director. “We want to emphasize and spread the message that there is a place of help, healing and hope for those survivors and their children.”

Plans are underway to bring awareness to the issue of domestic and sexual violence during October. Banners and electronic messages will be displayed in all of the counties the nonprofit serves. Other activities include:

  • Text signs placed in each of our 6 counties in the district.
  • Radio announcements during the month to focus on Domestic Violence and Safe Passage services.
  • IGA lunch Cookout in Brookville Oct. 7 with all proceeds to Safe Passage.
  • 30 Care gift bags distributed throughout district to law enforcement, court­­­­­­­­­­­­­s, prosecutors and collaborative partners. These care bags include: panel information cards, tear away and fact sheets, appointment cards, magnets, and more.
  • Vases for Victims. Uniquely designed vases by Batesville artist and supporter, featured throughout the month at Precision Hair Salon and Shear Magic in Batesville. $10 to $30 all proceeds donated to Safe Passage.
  • “Lollipop Moment” 25 year centerpieces placed at the tables at Amack’s Well coffee shop in Batesville during October; Share your Lollipop moment (where an individual is positively impacted by another’s words or actions, often unknowingly), take a Tootsie Pop and sign a message for a survivor.
  • The public is encouraged to post an uplifting, encouraging message to survivors during the month on Safe Passage’s social media. Here is the link: https://padlet.com/safepassage47006/93h6edoxc31sta3e  Messages can be anonymous.
  • Oct. 20 is Wear Purple Day to support the survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Please take a photo and post on our social media. https://www.facebook.com/helphealinghope

“We couldn’t offer this level of support without our fabulous community partners, from the schools and hospitals to the courts and corporations. We are all in this together!” said Kettman.

For more information about domestic or sexual violence go to www.safepassageinc.org, call or text 877-733-1990.

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