October begins Domestic Violence Awareness Month, help available for those in need

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One local organization is dedicated to helping survivors of domestic abuse and educating the community on key warning signs.

Domestic abuse affects millions of people every year. The Young Women’s Christian Association Northcentral PA (YWCA), explains what these red flags look like and the resources available around the clock.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Nearly 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Since the pandemic, those numbers are rising.

“We screened approximately 550 individuals who needed a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) and we served over 1,100 individuals who were suffering from domestic violence last fiscal year,” explained Amber Morningstar, Program Director, YWCA Northcentral PA.

But, it doesn’t always start with physical abuse. Morningstar says there are several warning signs that could indicate violence.

“Jealously, stalking, tracking your every move, getting easily angered over simple things. Obviously psychological, verbal, emotional, and financial abuse,” explained Morningstar.

A common misconception is that this only impacts women.

“Domestic violence happens to everyone and anyone, so you’re not alone. One in four women and one in nine men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime,” said Morningstar.

The YWCA wants survivors to know they can always ask for help. They have resources such as counseling, emergency housing, and a 24-hour crisis line, (570) 322-4637.

Protection from Abuse Orders, court accompaniment, medical advocacy. Really the possibilities are endless.

The YWCA encourages everyone to speak up if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse.

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