CHESTER COUNTY, PA — The Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC) is celebrating October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) by holding several, countywide awareness campaigns. “DVAM is an opportunity for everyone to take a stand against domestic violence, “said Dr. Dolly Wideman-Scott, DVCCC’s Chief Executive Officer, and DVCCC is committed to promoting a culture where we are all safe, empowered, and free from domestic violence.”
In 2015, DVCCC began a campaign to “Paint the Town Purple” for Domestic Violence Awareness Month by hanging purple ribbons throughout the downtown areas of West Chester, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Kennett Square, Oxford, and Downingtown. In the seven years since, the ribbon campaign has expanded to include the boroughs of Malvern and Parkesburg, and to Lincoln University, Immaculata University, and West Chester University’s campuses.
“The goal of our Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaigns is to reach more community members who may still need our services and support,” said DVCCC’s Director of Education Programs, Amelia Rayburn-Pizzica, “which is why we continue to seek new partnerships across the county.”
Part of the push to expand 2022’s awareness month outreach is the direct result of local data showing an increase in the severity of local domestic violence cases following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We not only have seen a 19% increase in calls coming in from our local police departments,” said Ashley Mikos, the Coordinator of DVCCC’s Lethality Assessment Program, “but also a 26% increase in the calls labeled as ‘high danger’ for homicide.” This data speaks directly to a continued, concerning upward trend in domestic violence-related homicide cases in Chester County.
In response to local homicides in 2021 and 2022, DVCCC worked immediately to organize coordinated community response teams with leaders to plan and host Tree of Hope & Healing planting and dedication events in Schuylkill Township, Kennett Square, and Hibernia Park. In 2022, Schuylkill Township lit their Tree of Hope & Healing in purple lights throughout the month of October to shine as a beacon of hope to those who might still be living with domestic violence.
Inspired by the tree lighting in Schuylkill Township, on September 30th, 2022, DVCCC celebrated the eve of Domestic Violence Awareness Month with its “Light the Night for Hope and Healing” events across Chester County. Lights went up at the Tree of Hope & Healing in Schuylkill Township and at Kennett Borough Hall, on the steps of the Historic Chester County Courthouse in West Chester, and at the gazebo in Downtown Coatesville. Community members rallied together to support this effort and remember those we have lost to domestic violence with presentations from local leaders and elected officials.
The trees at Schuylkill Township and Kennett Borough will remain lit throughout the month and the DVCCC purple ribbon which decorated the Historic Courthouse will be displayed in the Knights of Columbus window at 110 Market Street in West Chester, PA.
Additionally, DVCCC engages in a few other awareness partnerships and campaigns which include developing a book list and partnering with local libraries to host book and resource displays throughout the month, bumper magnets in the shape of awareness ribbons for all of our local police departments’ vehicles, “Painting the Shelter Purple” at the Brandywine Valley SPCA by dressing all the available shelter dogs in purple bandanas, and partnerships with several local coffee shops to use Domestic Violence Awareness Month coffee cup sleeves all October.
You can find Domestic Violence Awareness Month book displays and resources available at the Coatesville Area Public Library, Paoli Library, Oxford Library, West Chester Public Library, Spring City Public Library, Easttown Library, and Kennett Library.
You can find DVCCC coffee cup sleeves at The County Cup, Dia Doce/Cathey’s Coffee Bar in West Chester, Soltane Café in Phoenixville, Mary Pat’s Provisions in Kennett Square, and Saxbys Coffee at West Chester University.
The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville will be hosting a classic film screening on Thursday, October 20, 2022, of the 1944 film “Gaslight,” with proceeds benefiting DVCCC. Learn more about this and all Domestic Violence Awareness campaigns in Chester County this October at www.dvcccpa.org/dvam.