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County News

Posted on: October 4, 2021

Chesterfield to Observe National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Throughout October

Chesterfield County Domestic and Sexual Violence Resource Center 

Oct. 4, 2021

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — Chesterfield County’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Resource Center (DSVRC) reminds citizens help is available. If you, or someone you know, is in a domestic violence situation, the Chesterfield DSVRC is available to assist. 

October is National Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness month, observed both  nationally and locally. The Chesterfield DSVRC encourages community members to educate themselves on the dynamics of domestic violence to include the characteristics of perpetrators of violence, and an understanding of why victims stay. Perpetrators and victims of intimate partner violence have frequently been raised in households where violence existed. Behaviors were learned as children modeling parents and are then carried through into adulthood. 

“The cycle of violence can be broken for future generations, if help is sought,” said Lindsay G. Cassada, coordinator of Chesterfield County’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Resource Center. “In holding perpetrators of violence accountable, while supporting and assisting survivors, we can provide a safer, healthier way of life for those we care about. Unfortunately, some victims are afraid to report abuse, or seek potentially life-changing help.” 

Founded in 1997, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Resource Center works collaboratively with community-based, government-based and private agencies to serve as the hub of the county’s coordinated community response to domestic and sexual violence. The DSVRC  provides no-cost, confidential clinical and advocacy services to victims of domestic, sexual and/or dating violence, and stalking, such as individual counseling, support groups, protective  order assistance, safety planning, and referrals to appropriate resources. Additionally, the Center provides oversight to county domestic violence workgroups, education to the community and training to allied professionals.   

Cassada is no stranger to the traumatic toll domestic and sexual violence takes on its victims in Chesterfield County.

“Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate,” she said. “It effects all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socio-economic levels, and educational levels. Perpetrators and victims of violence can hold advanced degrees or have not completed high school. They can be our closest and dearest family members and friends, our neighbors, our co-workers. Intimate partner violence can impact anyone.” 

Tragically, in Chesterfield County 33 people died from domestic violence between 2007 and 2015, according to  the Chesterfield County Intimate Partner and Family Violence Fatality Review Team’s 2020 report. The dedicated members of the team – representing law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, social services, mental health services, schools, probation agencies, and victim service agencies – review intimate partner homicides to learn from them, and hopefully prevent future deaths. 

Cassada said to prevent more violence and deaths, the community must recognize intimate partner violence exists, and be willing to address it. Perpetrators of violence must be held accountable by friends and family, by employers, and victims should be supported and guided to appropriate service providers.   

“Intimate partner deaths are preventable,” Cassada said. “One life lost to domestic violence is one too many.” 

Learn more about the Chesterfield County Domestic and Sexual Assault Center by visiting www.chesterfield.gov/dsvrc, or by calling 804-318-8265. 

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