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New efforts to stop dating violence in Niagara County

Posted at 7:31 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 23:14:29-04

Two schools in Niagara County are taking extra steps to try and raise awareness of domestic violence and stop the increasing problem of dating violence.

The issue hits home in Niagara County because in 2008, Kari Ann Gorman, an 18-year-old cheerleader at Wilson High School, was shot to death by her boyfriend when she tried to end the relationship.  The boyfriend later committed suicide.

Eight years after her death, Wilson High School now has a safe-dating curriculum.  Cheerleaders at the school wore special, purple shirts that said "Love Shouldn't Hurt" on Friday October 21st as a way to remember Kari Ann and remind fellow students how serious the issue is.

The cheerleaders were also planning to collect donations at Friday night's varsity football game to help support the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier's Domestic Violence Victims' Shelter.

Niagara University is also starting a new collaborative effort with the YWCA and Family & Children's Service of Niagara called "Red Flag."

Using posters with information about the signs of an abusive relationship, and the placement of red flags around campus, it is hoped to encourage friends to intervene when they see warning signs that someone they know may be involved in a dangerous relationship.

The university has scheduled several "Red Flag" events that includes a special art display at the Castellani Art Museum on October 27, 2016 from 5-9 p.pm.  It is called "Surviving...Thriving: A Journey of Healing Through Art" and will feature works created by domestic violence victims.

"For women, four out of five will not report to police, but will report to a friend," said Dr. Dana Radtz, Ph.D, Assistant Professor for the N.U. Department of Criminal Justice, who was referring to national statistics.

NU is hoping the new campaign will help victims find the help they need either through the university counseling service or by contacting the following domestic violence hotlines:

Passage House Domestic Violence Services - (716) 299-0909

YWCA of the Niagara Frontier - (716) 433-6716 or text (716) 870-9726.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly spent the day talking to people in Niagara County about the efforts.