Community Advocacy Plays Key Role in Domestic Violence Support
ST. CLOUD -- Domestic Violence can impact so many people and it's important to know what resources are available to get them the help they need.
Central Minnesota has played a vital role in supporting victims of domestic violence, whether that's through the Stearns County Domestic Violence Court or community organizations like Anna Marie's Alliance.
Charles Hempeck is the Executive Director of Anna Marie's Alliance. He says community advocacy plays a big part in putting an end to domestic violence.
We've been providing services such as our 36-bed emergency shelter, as well as providing services in the community for people seeking orders of protection or needing to go to court. We have even gone into the schools and doing a prevention education work in the classroom.
Hempeck says domestic violence cases continue to remain fairly steady throughout the country.
He says if you suspect someone is dealing with an unhealthy relationship to reach out to them and let them know what resources are available to help.
Local law enforcement are also finding new ways to help victims. When the Sartell Public Safety Facility was built, it was designed with a first of it's kind 24-hour safe room.
Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes says they wanted to provide a space for victims to run too as they sought the help they needed.
Once they come into the safe room they can lock the door behind them and only Sartell officers have access. The room is completely bullet proof so if their abuser has a weapon they will be safe. Once they get in they can pick up the phone inside the room and they will immediately get in touch with Stearns County dispatch.
Hughes says the safe room has been used since they opened the building, however it is hard to track if every use has been for domestic violence. He adds you don't have to be a central Minnesota resident to use it.
He says this is just another tool to help bring an end to domestic violence in the community.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Sartell Safe Room