LITTLE VALLEY - According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 1.3 million women are victimized by domestic violence every year.
In Cattaraugus County, more than 500 women and children are victimized yearly.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for law enforcement agencies, victim assistance organizations and community leaders to generate greater public awareness about domestic violence, prevention strategies and effective responses for victims.
Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb wants domestic violence victims to know they have access to information through two victim notification programs offered by the Sheriff's Office through the New York State Sheriffs' Association Institute Inc.
The first is the Family Court Order of Protection Notification Project SAVIN-NY, which allows domestic violence victims to register at www.savin-ny.org to be notified by phone, text message or e-mail when a Family Court Order of Protection has been served. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The second is the New York Sheriffs' Victim Hotline called VINE, which allows crime victims to register at www.vinelink.com or toll-free at 888-VINE-4-NY to be notified by phone or e-mail in the event of an offender's release from jail or prison. The service is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, about one-third of female murder victims were killed by an intimate partner.
"Victims of domestic violence often need the kind of timely information that the VINE and SAVIN-NY provide. Both programs provide registered crime victims with critical information when they need it most. This access empowers domestic violence victims to gain a greater degree of control in their lives and to make informed decisions about their safety," Whitcomb said.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was created in 1987 to promote increased rights and services for domestic violence victims; to educate the public about the crisis of domestic violence and the prevalence of domestic violence; and to encourage involvement and support from the community for domestic violence victims and those who serve them.
For more information about 2012 National Domestic Violence Awareness Month or to learn more about the New York State Sheriffs' Institute victim notification services, contact Investigator Melanie Easton at 701-3447.