EDITORIAL: Wallingford police take on domestic violence

 A Wallingford police officer is leading an effort to engage the community during the department’s first observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Officer Kelly Boyle planned several participatory events for this month, from visual arts installations to public information sessions, all geared toward increased public awareness.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U. S. — more than 10 million women and men annually.

A school resource officer and the department’s domestic violence coordinator, Boyle has been researching and planning projects for this campaign since the summer. “I picked exhibits and events that would have an impact on our community to show the extent of domestic violence (statewide),” she said in a recent Record-Journal story.

This includes a local Clothesline Project, an initiative that’s been around since 1990, created to bring awareness the issue. Locally, people who’ve experienced domestic violence were invited to visit the police department for markers and a white T-shirt where they could write their stories. Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis helped facilitate the project and worked with survivors to get their stories included.

The Silent Witness Initiative is another community-based exhibit with a visual representation of the 15 intimate partner homicide victims in Connecticut in 2019. Life-sized, red silhouettes depict those who died. Lyman Hall High School woodworking students created the silhouettes.

In addition, officers are wearing purple ribbon pins on their uniforms to show support to the victims and survivors of domestic violence. 

Several information sessions, including one on teen dating for high school students, are also scheduled.

The police department’s support and Officer Boyle’s efforts emphasize that domestic violence must be taken seriously and must be addressed by the whole community. The educational and participatory elements of these programs are significant and can make a real difference.

The Wallingford Police Department was scheduled to hold a general information session with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Meriden-Wallingford on Wednesday at the Wallingford Senior Center.

An informational session in Spanish with the same information is scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Spanish Community of Wallingford, 284 Washington St. presented by Officer Alexis Torres, one of Wallingford’s Spanish-speaking officers. Spanish-speaking advocates will be available.

A community candlelight vigil is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Friday on the front lawn of the Wallingford Police Department. The rain date is Oct. 23.)






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