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Chamber shines light on domestic violence

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum at its headquarters on Friday, October 16 to raise awareness for domestic violence victims and garner support for aiding battered women.

As part of an initiative called Shining the Light on Domestic Violence, the chamber arranged that its home base at the Hutchinson Metro Center, located at 1200-50 Waters Place, be cloaked in purple light during the evening hours, a symbol of courage, survival, honor, that has come to represent efforts to end domestic violence.

Joining in the announcement were representatives of the Governor David Paterson’s office, Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, District Attorney Robert Johnson’s office, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office, as well as Mercy College. Allstate Insurance, which is sponsoring a clothing drive and empowerment program for domestic violence victims, called Tell a Gal Pal, was also present.

“The Bloomberg administration remains committed to eradicating domestic violence,” said Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs, Carol Robles-Roman. “I commend the Bronx Chamber of Commerce for supporting our efforts by shining a light of hope for many victims.”

The Bloomberg administration also announced plans at the forum for opening a center specifically for the needs of women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

According to Yolanda Jimenez, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, a New York City Family Justice Center will soon open on the second floor of 198 E. 161st Street. It provides aid and counseling for victims of domestic abuse, and will be located on the same floor as the district attorney’s office.

The center will be located in the Grand Concourse corridor because, according to the commissioner, a majority of the reported cases of domestic violence crimes in the borough occur in the area between Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo. The center will study why this area is so hard hit.

“While the purple lights remind us that domestic violence remains pervasive, there is encouraging news in New York City; over the last seven years we have seen a 24% decrease in family-related crimes and an 8% drop in family-related homicides,” Jimenez said. “Specifically, in the Bronx we have seen an important reduction of 42% in family-related homicides year-to-date. There is more to be done and by working together, we can make domestic violence a thing of the past.”

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