Newton Mayor Speaks at Domestic Violence Awareness Event on Campus

Newton Mayor Speaks at Domestic Violence Awareness Event on Campus

October 18, 2011

With 13,000 households affected by domestic violence in Newton, the city's Mayor Setti Warren pledged his commitment to address the problem during a speech at Lasell's Yamawaki auditorium this week.

Lasell College hosted the City of Newton's kick-off event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month on October 18. The event focused on the importance of bystanders in domestic violence situations and raised awareness of the problem locally.

During his speech, Warren said that the number of city residents who are affected by domestic violence is unacceptable.

"We have a responsibility to make sure the message [of preventing domestic violence] is clear. We have to stand up as a community, and you have a real partner in the mayor," he told the audience.

Following the mayor's speech, the audience heard from a panel promoting domestic abuse awareness and discussion. The panel included Becca Davies, a survivor of domestic violence, spoke about the role of the bystander to family abuse based on her personal story.

The panel also included community professional Joanne Patterson, Director of Education & Prevention Programs at Refuge, Education, Advocacy and Change (REACH), which is committed to advancing the safety, healing, and empowerment of those who experience domestic or relationship violence, and Julie Youdovin of Jewish Family & Children's Service, who spoke about the resources available to both victims and bystanders of domestic violence.

Elizabeth Bruisie of Legal Services Coordinator for The Second Step, which provides transitional housing and other services those leaving abusive situations, spoke about the legal aspects of reporting or trying to end domestic violence. She cited that while there is no legal obligation to report domestic violence as a bystander, there are negative ramifications for doing so. She also advocated for legislation to protect bystanders to help encourage reporting.

The panel also discussed programs at other universities around the country that have begun educational programs to promote domestic violence prevention and awareness.