CARMEL – Domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking are problems plaguing America today and unfortunately Putnam County is not immune.
The Putnam Women’s Center, in collaboration with the Putnam District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department, has formed the Putnam County Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Task Force.
Police on the state, county, town and village levels will be participating in the program along with the Putnam Child Advocacy Center.
District Attorney Robert Tendy said the creation was the brainchild of Ann Ellsworth, executive director of the Women’s Center. “When a crisis is reported, a variety of agencies interface with each other but there has not been a regular inter-connectiveness on a recurring basis,” said Tendy. “Thanks to Ann’s intuitiveness we will be meeting on a monthly basis to use our manpower to educate the public from high school students all the way to senior citizens informing them of the problem. Our goal is to empower people to seek help for themselves or others whom they feel may be in need of assistance.”
Ellsworth said that “one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some type of physical violence by an intimate partner during the past year while 72 percent of all murder-suicides nationwide involve an intimate partner with 94 percent of these murder-suicides being female.”
Last year her center located in Mahopac served 1,863 men, women and children who were victims of either domestic or sexual violence.
Tendy said domestic violence extends beyond two partners. “Recently, we encountered a problem between a nephew and his uncle.”
Ellsworth said domestic violence also affects business and the economy since “one in five employed adults is a victim and women make up 46 percent of the workforce resulting in eight million lost work days nationwide or $2 billion in lost wages and $4 billion spent in medical and mental health care costs due to this epidemic.”
She said victims must have access to help. “The professionals must communicate with each other and take a stand against violence since one case is one too many.”
The task force agencies along with Brewster Village, Carmel, Cold Spring and Kent Police will share statistics and data while performing educational awareness and training in the community that includes high schools, social organizations and other groups which may need of services for their members.
The task force will be placing a priority on issues related to victim awareness, safety and confidentiality regarding violence and human trafficking cases.
“We envision a community that values men and women equally with self respect. With this mission in mind, our task will be successful,” said Tendy.
Sheriff Robert Langley forecast the task force will “work together as one by sharing information allowing us to educate and work in solidarity.”
Those in need may contact the Women’s Center at 845-628-9284 or the District Attorney’s Office at 845-808-1050.