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Annual Report on Domestic and Sexual Violence raises community awareness

— Tara Trammell, an attorney at the Hiscock Legal Aid Society, and Monira Alozaime, an advocate at Vera House, both spoke on their work for the International Victims Project. The project serves immigrants, migrants, refugees and victims of trafficking that have also experienced sexual and/or domestic violence.

Trammell described one success story that involved a Cuban immigrant, and her son and daughter. The son became abusive to his mother and daughter. Trammel helped both mother and daughter to obtain citizenship and obtain an order of protection against the son, and Monira helped them find their own apartment, obtain benefits, and enroll in school.

In 2011, the Hiscock Legal Aid Society served 112 clients through the International Victims Project.

Another presenter, Lindsay Ryan Anthony, who has been deaf since birth, spoke through an interpreter about how Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims received a grant to help develop a curriculum to train law enforcement on how to work with deaf people, as well as “the dynamics of deaf culture,” by providing them with different strategies and resources.

As part of her learning and research process, Anthony rode in a Syracuse Police Department car for eight hours. “It was … I hesitate to say fun,” Anthony said, “but I have a lot more respect for what police officers do every day.”

New guides are also provided to help law enforcement better deal with ASL interpreters, older victims, and those with developmental disabilities, speech disabilities, blindness/ low vision, service dogs, mental illness and physical disabilities.

Randi Bregman, Executive Director for Vera House, Inc., was the last to speak.

“Until every story of every man, woman, and child is heard, believed, and acknowledged, and every case is investigated with honor and justice, we must continue,” she said.

Although the event brought to an end this year’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, community efforts should continue year-round.

If you or a loved one is ever in a sexual/domestic violence situation, call Vera House’s 24-hour Hotline at 315-468-3260.

Caroline Mahony is an editorial intern at Eagle Newspapers.

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