Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr. announced Erie County Hall will be illuminated in the color purple to "Shine the Light on Domestic Violence" throughout the month of October.
This is the first time Erie County Hall has turned purple, the symbolic color for domestic violence awareness. The purpose is to get the community talking about domestic violence and to let victims know they're not alone, and that resources are available, his office said.
"Erie County Hall is the place where many domestic violence survivors seek help and fight for justice against their abusers," Flaherty said. "By bathing this grand building in the color purple, we are recognizing the struggle victims endure every day, and show we are a beacon of hope, providing safety and security in their lives."
There have been six domestic violence homicides to date in Erie County this year. In 2015, there were 5,768 domestic violence victims reported by police in Erie County.
The Erie County District Attorney's Office's BE-SAFE domestic violence advocacy program is among the largest in Western New York serving domestic violence survivors. The program is made up of domestic violence advocates and social workers who can assist victims both in and out of court. Those who need help can call 716-858-4630. The 24-hour domestic violence hotline for Erie County is 716-862-HELP (4357).
Joining Flaherty in support of this cause are his law enforcement partners, including Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, Erie County Probation Commissioner Brian McLaughlin, and members of the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence.
"It's a wonderful idea to light County Hall in purple during Domestic Violence Awareness month. First and foremost, this act honors and supports the victims of domestic violence, while also bringing attention to the problem and illuminating the work being done countywide by the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence," McLaughlin said. "The probation department is pleased to join with the district attorney's office and our other partners in the coalition who work tirelessly to prevent domestic violence and support its victims year-round."
Flaherty also credits the Erie County Department of Public Works under Commissioner John Loffredo and, specifically, Buildings and Grounds Deputy Commissioner Daniel Fitzgibbons, who worked diligently to make the project possible.
The "Shine the Light on Domestic Violence" campaign, which is taking place in communities all across New York this month, is coordinated by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.