Dear Editor: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. During the current public health crisis, as domestic violence flourishes in the conditions created by the pandemic, raising awareness is more important than ever. Here in Wisconsin and around the world, families are spending more time together, and that has always been a strong indicator of when domestic violence goes up. Hotlines traditionally receive increased calls during holidays and summer vacations. In times of isolation, such as during quarantine or social distancing, victims of domestic violence are at much greater risk of abuse as they see their support networks shattered, making it even harder to leave an abusive relationship.
Fortunately, these victims are not alone. Wisconsin is lucky to have so many wonderful organizations and government stakeholders that work directly with victims and remain available to help them navigate these unprecedented challenges. We’re also fortunate that thanks to the voters of Wisconsin, these survivors have strong, enforceable rights in the legal system through Marsy’s Law.
As we’ve worked with Wisconsin’s incredible victim advocates, we’ve been so grateful to hear that with Marsy’s Law now in place, victims’ rights have truly been brought to the forefront, from law enforcement to the courtroom. Victims are being informed about their rights, notified about important steps in the legal process, allowed to be present, and offered opportunities to be heard.
As we continue to navigate these difficult times, we want those who may be experiencing domestic violence to know: you are not alone. Help is available. You have rights. You have a voice.
We hope you'll join us, and all of Wisconsin’s fantastic victim advocates, in the important effort to raise awareness of domestic violence.
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