Vera House's Report to the Community on Domestic and Sexual Violence underscores growing concerns in non-traditional areas.
The report, delivered at Syracuse's Prince of Peace Missionary Church in downtown Syracuse on Tuesday afternoon, included testimonials by victims, who got standing ovations for sharing their stories.
One concern: violence against men. In Syracuse last year, Hector Sepulveda was one of four victims of domestic violence killed in a diskpute with a partner. Last October he was stabbed to death by the woman he lived with, on Syracuse's Shonnard Street. Just this past weekend in Cayuga County, a woman was charged with murder for the shooting of her live-in boyfriend, in Conquest.
"You always assume a victim is a woman, says George Kilpatrick, Vera House's Men's Outreach Coordinator, "but we know that men can also be victims of violence as well, so Vera House provides services to both. We call it survivors of violence."Kilpatrick says there are also efforts to help non-abusers understand that their 'manly' self image does not depend on abusing women or children. "One of the issues for men," says Kilpatrick, "is if they have been victims of violence, is to have them come forward because is it to be less of a man to admit that something is happening in your home?
Vera House's report also targeted the growing area of elder abuse, which was called 'terribly under reported.'"Victims are extremely unlikely first to report and second unlikely to prosecute if they do report," says John Balloni, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department Civil & Administrative Chief.Perhaps surprisingly, the abuser is often a family member, and Jenny Kicks, an elder abuse educator at Vera House, says says financial exploitation is often part of the concern."Isolation is probably the number one red flag," says Hicks. Caregivers try to take access to the victims away. " think it's important that seniors in our community know there's help," says Hicks, "and they have access to Vera House by calling our crisis and support line, even if they just want to talk about ideas that might be helpful to them."
Vera House plans a conference on Elder Abuse on December 6th. For information on it, and other services, check their website, www.verahouse.org.
There is also a crisis line, 24x7, at 468-3260