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WHEREAS, domestic violence impacts our families, homes, communities, schools, and workplaces on a daily basis; and
WHEREAS, individuals can be victims of domestic violence regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, culture, socioeconomic status, or religion; and
WHEREAS, without intervention, cycles of violence perpetuate through generations; and
WHEREAS, the effects of domestic violence harm every aspect of our community from our schools to our military to our healthcare system to our economy; and
WHEREAS, in 2015, there were 124 family and intimate partner homicides in Virginia, representing 32% of all homicides in the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, in 2017, approximately 22% of the 18,645 violent crimes committed in Virginia and reported to law enforcement agencies were committed against family members or intimate dating partners; and
WHEREAS, in 2017, 55,911 emergency protective orders were issued by magistrates and judges across the Commonwealth to protect the immediate health and safety of domestic violence victims and their family members; and
WHEREAS, in 2017, 6,176 adults and children received emergency shelter due to domestic violence; and
WHEREAS, a strong criminal justice system sends messages of accountability and victim support; and
WHEREAS, in 1987, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) observed the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the same year that the first national toll-free hotline for domestic violence victims was established; and
WHEREAS, during the month of October, victim-advocate groups, centers, service workers, and many other organizations come together to connect those who work to end violence, to celebrate those who have survived and to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence; and
WHEREAS, it is critical that those seeking help or services have access to proper care and treatment; and
WHEREAS, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to stand with domestic violence survivors, to celebrate the progress made in combating these crimes, and to recommit to reducing domestic violence in the Commonwealth;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 2018 as DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.