How Can We Work Together to End Domestic Violence? – Mayor Gary Christenson

I recently participated in the Zonta Club of Malden and the Malden Teen Enrichment Center’s (MTEC) second annual STEPS Walk (Steps Toward Empowering Personal Safety). The walk was a collaboration of community groups that brought the issue of domestic violence to the forefront. I think the event serves as an example of working together to not only raise awareness, but to also provide information about the services and resources available to assist victims.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone – it impacts women, men and children of all ages and backgrounds. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence:

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their life time;
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes; and,
  • On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls.

In Malden, in the past year alone, our Police Department has had:

  • 800 Domestic Violence calls for service;
  • Made over 170 arrests of batterers; and,
  • Assisted with the filing of over 195 Restraining Orders and 30 Harassment Prevention orders in the Malden District.

As a City, we are working hard to improve our prevention measures and response efforts.  With the assistance of Police Chief Kevin Molis and the support of the City Council we now have a detective dedicated specifically to the Domestic Violence Unit. Officer Elijah McNeal works hand-in-hand with the courts and support agencies to assist victims.

Additionally, through grant funding from the Junior Aid Association and Malden Industrial Aid Society, the Malden PD now has an on-site Domestic Violence Liaison from the agency RESPOND, Inc.  Victim advocate, Samantha Nunes, divides her time between the Malden Court and the Police Station, and works closely with Detective McNeal as a resource for victims needing support, shelter, counseling and legal services.

There is no doubt that we have to remain pro-active and take responsibility for raising public awareness and for providing better support services. I believe that by working together and collaborating with advocates, victim service providers and organizations like the YWCA , we will make a difference in the effort to end the violence.

 GARY CHRISTENSON

Mayor, City of Malden

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