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Domestic-Violence Deaths Illustrate Ongoing Problem

Sept. 30, 2006 — Four deaths in the Virgin Islands have been attributed to domestic violence so far this year, and a local expert believes there could be more.
"There may be other deaths caused by domestic violence which have not been classified as such," said Ty Woods, outreach specialist for the Family Resource Center. Woods is referring to the deaths of Aurelia Torres, Shirley Ann Phillips, Jaheen Williams and Sherett James, recent victims of domestic violence in the territory.
"It's here and it's happening to our community," Woods said.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month across the Virgin Islands and nationwide. The Family Resource Center joins with the Women's Coalition, The Safety Zone, Legal Services and other agencies to raise community awareness.
"Every year [Domestic Violence Awareness Month] is a coordinated effort between the islands," Woods said. A candlelight vigil will be held on the three islands Thursday, Oct. 19. The activity will include a march and rally.
"The simultaneous candlelight vigil shows that the territory is working together and united in this effort," Woods said.
To serve victims and raise community awareness, Woods said, the agencies of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council (DVSAC) coordinate their efforts. DVSAC agencies include Legal Services of the V.I., Human Services, Department of Justice, VIPD, U.S. Attorney's Office, V.I. CARE, Village Partners in Recovery, Family Resource Center, Women's Coalition, Safety Zone and the Men's Coalition.
This year is a special occasion, Woods said. The Family Resource Center is celebrating 25 years of incorporation and 20 years of service to the community. The center is focusing attention this year on the effects of domestic violence on children.
"We need to prevent this from passing on to the next generation," Woods said. A special presentation on the effects of domestic violence on children will be held at Tutu Park Mall on Sunday, Oct 29.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities on St. Thomas.
— Staff will join with the family of an April 2006 domestic-violence victim for a remembrance activity.
— Saturday, Oct. 7: Domestic Violence Awareness Month Activity Kick-Off at the Tutu Park Mall.
— Saturday, Oct. 14: The Clothesline Project will be at Tutu Park Mall with a bilingual outreach worker.
— Saturday/Sunday Oct. 14-15: Faith Sabbath and Sunday worshipers' domestic-violence message.
— Thursday, Oct. 19: Annual domestic violence march and candlelight vigil in remembrance of deceased victims of domestic violence, 5:30 p.m., Emancipation Garden. Rain date: Thursday, Oct. 26.
— Sunday, Oct 22: Birthday Cake Bash on Magen's Bay Beach celebrating 25 years of incorporation and 20 years of serving the community, noon to 6 p.m
— Saturday, Oct 28: Men Terminating Violence at Tutu Mall center court. Information available for men on how to speak out and help stop domestic violence in homes and communities.
— Sunday, Oct 29: "Effects of Domestic Violence on Children" at Tutu Park Mall. Information will be available about the effects of domestic violence and abuse on the family.
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