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Criminal Justice Update

Observance sheds light on domestic violence


By Alissa Romstadt

Victim advocates are lighting the night sky this October in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is partnering with Ohio programs and agencies in the Purple Light Nights campaign and other activities to raise awareness about domestic violence issues.

Purple Light Nights began in 2007 in Covington, Wash., where people were encouraged to display purple lights in homes and businesses to raise awareness of domestic violence. In 2008, the Domestic Violence Center in Cleveland brought the program to Ohio. To raise awareness of the campaign statewide, the Ohio Domestic Violence Network serves as the lead agency to expand the program in Ohio and posts all activities on its website at (click on the DVAM tab).

“It is important that we recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month every year because the violence isn’t ending,” said Sandy Huntzinger, victim services coordinator with the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Section.

“We’ve seen improved responses from the judicial system, Child Protective Services, law enforcement, and advocates, and yet the violence continues. By acknowledging every year that this is still an issue, we recognize that we continue to have work to do.”

Ohio law enforcement reported more than 36,000 domestic violence cases to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation from January through July. However, Anne Lyon, who compiles the stats, said the figure is low because not all agencies submit the required reports. Agencies use the stats to seek funds for shelters, medical treatment, counseling, legal aid, and other assistance for victims.

The Crime Victim Section awards about $7 million in state and federal funds annually to Ohio domestic violence programs and provides trainings for advocates. Visit for details.