Calling it a crime with consequences that devastate communities, members of the Pierce County Council adopted a joint resolution designating April 26, 2014, as Domestic Violence Awareness Day.
Joint Council-Executive Resolution R2014-49, approved during the Council’s April 22 meeting, encourages all citizens to dedicate themselves to domestic violence prevention and to join the county in the observance.
“Domestic violence is a uniquely disturbing crime because it usually happens behind closed doors and out of the public’s view, making it easily overlooked or ignored. And because it occurs between people involved in close relationships, the psychological damage created by domestic violence can last a lifetime,” said Councilmember Joyce McDonald, who represents Pierce County’s 2nd District. “This resolution is really about drawing attention to this crime so the public won’t tolerate it and victims can feel empowered to seek help.”
One of the best resources available to domestic violence victims is the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center, which is jointly funded and operated by Pierce County and the City of Tacoma. McDonald serves on the center’s board of directors alongside fellow Councilmember Rick Talbert, the board’s chair.
“As a society we’ve improved in the last ten years or so, but for so long it was thought of as a private issue between spouses or extended family members,” said Talbert, who represents the 5th Council District. “The fact is we all have a stake in this so we all need to be part of the solution.”
“It’s imperative that we assist victims of domestic violence so they aren’t afraid to reach out for help,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “Whether it’s providing online resources for victims or volunteering our time packing ‘flee’ bags full of basic essentials that women fleeing domestic violence can grab and take with them, everyone in our community can play a part in helping to end domestic violence.”
As written in R2014-49, domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used by one individual to establish and maintain power and control over another. It shatters lives, robs children of their innocence and affects everyone in every community of Washington State regardless of race, income or age.
“The Crystal Judson Family Justice Center provides free services that include victim advocacy, safety planning, electronic filing for temporary protection orders, criminal and civil legal services, housing and emergency assistance, and chaplaincy services,” added McDonald. “Domestic violence is everyone’s responsibility, and Pierce County remains committed to putting an end to it.”
The center was named in memory of Crystal Judson, who was fatally shot by her husband, the Tacoma police chief, on April 26, 2003. The resolution was unanimously adopted.
Erich R. Ebel, Pierce County Communications