People will gather together in downtown Jamestown on Friday to bring attention to an underreported issue.
The 16th annual Walk Against Domestic Violence and the 11th Annual Unity Day Celebration will be held Friday. The Chautauqua County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is sponsoring the events, which will start around 11:45 a.m. at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. Elizabeth Bracey, Project Crossroads program manager, said October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and domestic violence is an underreported problem.
''It is an issue that tends to go unrecognized. People need to be aware of it and need to report it if they think it is going on. The victims themselves usually don't want to come forward,'' she said.
Bracey said if people are victims of domestic abuse or suspect it is happening to someone they know, Project Crossroads can be contacted at 483-7718 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Project Crossroads is a domestic violence education partnership between the Jamestown Police Department and Family Service of the Chautauqua Region. Project Crossroads was created in 1996 as a domestic violence education program with the specific goal to reach out to the community to provide intervention through education for the prevention of domestic violence. In 2005, Project Crossroads partnered with Family Service of the Chautauqua Region to combine the project's domestic violence education program with their community and Hispanic outreach programs to better serve domestic violence victims throughout Chautauqua County.
''We're here to tell people where to go. We work with law enforcement. If law enforcement needs to be involved, that will happen,'' Bracey said. ''We work with The Salvation Army's safe house, we provide counseling for all age groups and the YWCA has transitional housing. These are just a couple examples of the services we can help people with.''
Bracey said if people think domestic violence is occurring to someone they know, they can contact Project Crossroads for guidance.
''It is better to call if you are not sure of something,'' she said. ''We can give you an idea of what to look for, and what is the next step.''
The walk will start at noon at the arena. People will walk down Third Street to City Hall where the annual Unity Day Celebration will take place. Mary Travers Murphy, Family Justice Center of Erie County executive director, will be the keynote speaker for the event. Bracey said Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, County Executive Greg Edwards and other local representatives will also be at the celebration. Plus, the domestic violence honoree will be awarded by coalition members. Lunch will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.
''I hope people come out and help bring light to this underreported issue,'' Bracey said.