Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign Kicks Off

September 28, 2010 Updated Sep 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 28, 2010 Updated Sep 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) Domestic violence is a widespread social issue that affects thousands of people each year. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a special kickoff event was held Tuesday. Members from Erie County Executive Chris Collins' Office,
representatives from Child and Family Services, and volunteers from a local shelter met to kickoff a series of events to raise awareness against domestic violence.

Many events will be held throughout October, including walks, a bike-a-thon, fundraisers, and the lighting of Niagara Falls purple to raise awareness.

A proclamation was issued on behalf of the Erie County Executive, and a survivor of domestic violence shared her story of fleeing New York City and coming to Buffalo to start a new life.

Domestic violence has been felt throughout Erie County, with nine domestic violence homicides this past year, according to Child and Family Services. The most recent happened less than a week ago when a woman was killed by her boyfriend as part of a murder suicide near Riverside in Buffalo.

The main message today was awareness.

"Domestic violence is something that effects every aspect of our community. It doesn't matter how much your income is, or what your race or religion is," said Laura Grube, the coordinator of the Haven House, a shelter for domestic violence victims.

Erie County Commissioner of Public Advocacy Sawrie Becker also spoke about support for victims. "It's really important that we don't forget, that we don't hide it, and that we stand together to give any domestic violence victim in our community a voice and support."

Events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month will run throughout October. If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, contact the Child and Family Services 24-hour hotline at 884-6000.