Shelters offer a safe haven for abuse victims. Providence House, for example, runs a crisis center for abused women and their children in the county. In addition to emergency shelter, victims can get counseling and other services from Providence House.
But in the long term, education may be the best way to reduce this type of violence. Parents must take the lead in demonstrating to their children how to treat one another. School and community programs, including recently enacted anti-bullying programs, can help teach at-risk children how healthy relationships work.
Harsher penalties for violent offenders also are needed. Increasing mandatory sentences for repeat domestic violence offenders would be a good start.
And most important, residents in our communities should develop a zero-tolerance attitude toward domestic violence. Turning a blind eye to it is not an option. If you suspect abuse, report it to the appropriate authorities.
Domestic violence is no longer a secret household evil; it is a fire-breathing, society-menacing dragon that must be slain.