ANOTHER VOICE: Working together to prevent domestic violence

In Oregon, we have one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the nation. In the last decade, more than 205 Oregonians has lost their lives to intimate partner violence and nearly three-quarters of those deaths have occurred in the last four years.

With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is important to give recognition to this problem. Additionally, year-round, it is imperative that we raise awareness and make progress toward decreasing the number of victims impacted by domestic and sexual violence.

As we know, having a safe and stable home environment also makes a difference in the ability for our children to do well in school. If we can break the cycle of violence in our homes, we can improve various other aspects of our community and grow together to build successful, safe and stable futures for our children and families.

Throughout our communities in HD 52, there are nonprofit organizations providing life-saving services with limited resources. HAVEN in The Dalles, Helping Hands Against Violence in Hood River, and Clackamas Women’s Services are all dedicated to combating sexual and domestic violence and helping survivors of these awful crimes.

Despite their best efforts, they are not able to serve all of those who need their services and like many other sectors, their job has been made more difficult by limited funding and shrinking budgets. Despite the increase in need, these organizations are simply unable to fill requests for safety and shelter.

In the last biennium alone, more than two requests for emergency shelter every hour of every day could not be met due to a lack of space and the means to acquire it.

In Salem, we did our best to grab this problem by the root and promote education and prevention tools as a way to reduce the number of crimes and lower the numbers of victims. In 2013, my colleagues and I fully funded the Oregon Domestic & Sexual Violence Services Fund in House Bill 5018.

ODSVS is the foundational funding for the most basic and important victims services. The emergency shelters, safety planning, counseling, medical and legal advocacy that these programs provide across Oregon are literally lifesaving.

These nonprofit domestic and sexual violence services reduce re-assault by nearly 70 percent. The domestic and sexual violence programs throughout Oregon, including Tribal communities, strengthen the community by not only assisting victims as they face the trauma inflicted upon them but by also by participating as a critical part to the multi-disciplinary response.

The reach and impact of these vital services are apparent throughout our community, as parents retain their jobs, remain in their homes with their children, recover their safety and the next generation is given a small chance to break the cycle of violence. In Salem we funded a vital component of a comprehensive solution because the cost of not doing so was simply too great.

While the problem reaches across Oregon, there is much that we can do in our local communities. For instance, the Hood River Helping Hands Annual Auction Gala is on Nov. 2 at Springhouse Cellar Winery.

I would encourage as many of you as possible to join in, attend, and support them if you are able, as well as your other local services as much as possible as we tackle this problem together, as neighbors, as a community and as a state.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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