There have been three-dozen murders of women by a husband or boyfriend in the past five years in Erie and Niagara counties. The cold hard facts of domestic abuse were the topic Tuesday (Oct. 23) as the Zonta Club of Grand Island heard about the work of the Family Justice Center from its executive director, Mary Travers Murphy. Her talk was part of a special focus during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The center is a one-stop resource where domestic violence victims can access all the services they need to establish a safety plan for themselves and their children. The center has 12 on-site partners, offering services that range from law enforcement, to legal assistance, housing, family medicine and child care.
"Domestic violence does not stop at any zip code or line," Murphy told the Zonta members. She said the problem tears through every part of society, affecting young and old, women and men, rich and poor.
In the past year, there were 12,000 reported cases of domestic abuse in Erie County. Murphy said only one of every seven cases of such abuse is reported, and she talks to groups year-round in an effort to increase awareness and encourage more victims to seek help. She said one of the main reasons victims return to their abusers is that they can't access the services to help them escape. The Family Justice Center offers solutions through free, confidential services at the downtown Buffalo office and a satellite office in Orchard Park.
"Everyone leaves the Family Justice Center headed for hope, safe havens and healing," Murphy said.
If you or someone you know is being abused, call 716-558-SAFE (7233) In an emergency, call 911.
Murphy, former supervisor of the Town of Orchard Park, was a broadcast journalist for more than 20 years with Channel 7 news.
The Zonta Club is a service organization whose goal is to advance the status of women worldwide.
The Grand Island club has awarded more than $95,000 in scholarships over the years. The club also works to help women in developing countries and supports a variety of community projects, including the Grand Island Relay For Life, the Miracle League, Grand Island Neighbors Foundation, the Grand Island Rotary's Haiti Clinic Project, the Buffalo Habitat for Humanity and Carolyn's House in Niagara Falls.