County helps domestic violence victims


 CHOICES Executive Director Gail Heller, left, accepts a check from Commissioner Paula Brooks, Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Board President Mary Jo Kilroy. The funding will help support services for victims of domestic violence.

In order to combat violence, Franklin County Commissioners presented a $320,000 check to Gail Heller, Executive Director of CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence, Inc. on Nov. 6.

The funding, approved by resolution, will provide $320,000 to support services for victims of domestic violence through CHOICES. Estimates demonstrate that violence occurs in up to 60 percent of the families in America.

CHOICES operates a comprehensive year-round shelter for victims and survivors of domestic violence and their children. Having recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary for its efforts to interrupt the cycle of domestic violence in the community and being an advocate for social change, CHOICES has served over 17,000 victims, of domestic violence since its doors opened in 1977.

Just last year, its 24-hour domestic abuse hotline that provides immediate assistance for victims of abuse served over 7,200 crisis and information calls.

“Domestic Violence is a problem that cannot be ignored in our community,” stated Board President Mary Jo Kilroy.  “CHOICES has been instrumental in providing services for victims of domestic violence for 30 years. With statistics stating that 86 percent of the victims served from CHOICES are from Franklin County we must continue to support CHOICES and help to provide a way of escape for all victims of violence including children.”

“Thirty years ago I was privileged to help create the laws that ensure funding for groups like CHOICES’,” said Commissioner Paula Brooks. “Statistics show that homicide is the number one cause of death of pregnant and recently pregnant women; therefore CHOICES’ work is vital to protect the safety and security of our Franklin County children and families.”

“The resources that CHOICES has provided for the past 30 years have helped victims of domestic violence escape the dangerous cycle of abuse,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “It is of the most importance that the county invests in programs that help sustain families and provide refuge for victims of abuse and their children.”  

“We are thrilled to be the recipient of this allocation from the Commissioners,” said Gail Heller, CHOICES executive director. “Our programs increasingly rely on the support of government to fund essential programs for domestic violence survivors and their children. Focusing services on victims who need them the most and preserving and expanding funding for prevention programs is a greater challenge than ever due to the economy. We are extremely thankful for this support.”

Funding for CHOICES is possible from the issuance of marriage licenses and other fees related to annulment, divorce or marriage dissolution actions collected in 2007.

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