An Empty Place at the Table – Remembering Victims of Abuse


(WBRE/WYOU-TV) October is Domestic violence awareness month. The display entitled an Empty Place at the Table inside the Luzerne County Courthouse honors victims of domestic violence. The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick spoke with experts and family members about what we can all do to make a difference.

  “It’s been 15 years, but you live it every day” Lois and Joseph Hunsinger from Mountain Top live with the pain of losing their 39-year-old daughter Lynn Ann Hildebrand was a victim of domestic violence.  She was shot to death in 2003.

  “At times it’s very sad. Thank god I have a good wife. We really work together” said Joseph Hunsinger.

Their daughter’s photo joins others here. It’s called “An Empty Place at the Table.

“It’s to recognize the prevalence of domestic violence and to help us work to preventing homicide and domestic violence.” Said Paula Triano, Director of Domestic Violence Service Center.

And it is a growing problem in Luzerne County.

  “Luzerne County ranks currently fifth among all the counties in Pennsylvania with the most domestic violence homicides,” said Triano.

Just this week the governor signed a tough new law to try and prevent domestic violence homicides. One element of that law removes guns from a potentially volatile situation. As soon as a protection from abuse order – or P-F-A – is filed with police.

   “That House Bill is 2060 to fix a third party where you give a family member your gun. You’re not going to be able to do that anymore. You’re not able to keep your gun in a 24 hours period which is the most volatile and vital period” said State Representative Tarah Toohil.

 The Hunsingers urge others to watch out for any possible problems within their own families. Before it’s too late.

   “Just keep your eyes open for abuse. For somebody that controls you. It’s a sign of abuse” said Lois Hunsinger.

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