CCR is a step in the right direction

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2002

It is painfully ironic that Covington County has chosen October to form its Community Coordinated Response Team to attack the problem of domestic violence. This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and, as Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Gambril has said, nearly half of the deaths in Covington County this year were related to, if not directly caused, by domestic violence.

There has been a veil drawn over the issue for far too long. Even now, many of the deaths, or even assaults, due to domestic violence go unreported to the public - partly to spare and protect victim, partly because they are never reported at all, not even to the police.

The victims suffer and die in silence while the police and the public look on in grief and frustration.

The victims often suffer more than the physical, emotional and mental abuse from their tormentors. They also suffer economically. Many of the employers, co-workers, neighbors - all of those within the victims sphere - do not completely understand the scope of the tragedy and the emotional and legal entanglements the victims suffer. Time and money are often needed to escape the abusive environment. Time is needed to take off work and go to court, to the hospital, into hiding - but the paycheck is needed to feed the children and pay the bills.

The CCR team will address those issues with education - the most powerful tool in domestic violence prevention.

The team will work with Opportunity House to help the victims. The team will allow the abused and battered of Covington County to know that their government does, in fact, care for them and is more than willing to help.

You can help. You can help by contributing time or experience to CCR and Opportunity House. You can help by making donations to the United Fund of Andalusia, which is a sponsoring agency for Opportunity House. You can help by echoing the CCR team's primary goal - letting the victims know you care.

We will watch with great interest over the next year as CCR develops past the baby-steps of organization, and we commend the county for not only acknowledging the problem of domestic violence, but for doing something about it.