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Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

SINCE 1987, OCTOBER has been dubbed Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and each October, there is an influx of events and media coverage dedicated to raising awareness about the alarming numbers of people who are affected by violence in their homes. For many people, home is their refuge: a safe place where they can escape the worries of the day and receive unconditional love and support. For victims of domestic violence however, home is anything but a safe place to retire.

Domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence, is not limited to any socioeconomic group or particular month: it can take place at any time in any environment. Domestic violence occurs in households across the globe every day, and a large number of these incidents go unreported. Violence in the home affects everyone within the household, whether or not family members are the targeted victims of abuse themselves. And the effects of domestic violence can extend well beyond the home, to neighbors, family, friends, coworkers, and the community as a whole.

The Office of the Nevada Attorney General is committed to taking a stand against domestic violence not only this October, but year-round. Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt chairs the Committee on Domestic Violence established to increase awareness of the existence and unacceptability of domestic violence in Nevada. This committee also reviews programs for the treatment of persons who commit domestic violence, fatalities of victims of domestic violence as well as evaluating the criminal justice system with respect to domestic violence offenses statewide.

In addition to this committee, the Office of the Nevada Attorney General is the administrator for Nevada Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE), a free service for victims of crime or members of the public that allows users to register and receive automated notifications of changes to an offender's custody status. In July 2017, Attorney General Adam Laxalt took the initiative to make Nevada the first state in the country to implement a new and enhanced version of VINE to better serve victims of violent crime in our state. This new version offers users innovative features and the ability to gain immediate access to statewide service providers specializing in crisis response, counseling, housing, financial or legal assistance even when their offender is not under supervision. To access the Nevada's VINE service, visit www.vinelink.com or download the VINE Link mobile app from iTunes or Google Play.

In an effort to make a permanent impact in the lives of survivors of domestic violence, Attorney General Laxalt has submitted a domestic violence bill proposal for consideration in the upcoming Legislative Session. The bill would create additional protections for victims and law enforcement responding to domestic violence incidents. While many states already have a statewide protection order registry, Nevada does not. Attorney General Laxalt's proposed domestic violence prevention bill would create a Statewide Protection Order Repository in the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History that contains protection order history to aid victims, prosecutors and law enforcement when temporary and extended protection orders are issued against perpetrators of domestic violence and stalking. In particular, this Repository will provide greater protection for victims and for law enforcement when responding to domestic violence calls, and aid prosecutors in their pursuit of justice.

Addressing domestic violence requires a threefold approach: raising awareness and providing education about domestic violence within our communities, ensuring those who are victimized by this crime receive the services they need, and pursuing perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law to deter repeated offenses. The month of October serves as an extra reminder of the effect domestic violence has on our communities. Start a conversation with a family member, friend or coworker; use VINE to find a local service provider and volunteer your time or make a donation to support the organization; and most importantly, if you encounter a victim of domestic violence, reassure him or her that help and support is available. The month of October should serve as a reminder to all Nevadans that each one of us can play a part in combatting domestic violence in our communities.

BY NICOLE O'BANION

Nicole O'Banion is the Ombudsman for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking for the Nevada Attorney General's Office.
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Title Annotation:Special Section on Domestic Violence
Author:O'banion, Nicole
Publication:Prosecutor, Journal of the National District Attorneys Association
Date:Oct 1, 2018
Words:704
Previous Article:Pulling an Abusive Rabbit Out of the Hat.
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