October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The YWCA Mohawk Valley held a virtual news conference earlier this week to mark the start of the month.

CEO Dianne Stancato discussed the significance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the continued impact of COVID-19 on crisis services provided by agency staff, and initiatives to be held during the month.

“There is no doubt that the work of YWCA MV is essential and lifesaving,” says Stancato. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first stay-at-home orders, we have seen a drastic rise in the demand for our services.”

The agency reported that the number of services provided in 2020 increased by more than 50% over 2019. Statistics for 2021 show a similar trend, with YWCA staff serving more than 1,300 new domestic violence clients between January and August.

A number of events will be taking place throughout the month:

The Purple Ribbon Campaign is YWCA MV’s signature October fundraiser. Paper purple ribbons can be purchased for a donation of $1 at participating locations throughout Oneida County.

Take Back the Night is an annual survivor-centered event dedicated to raising awareness, honoring the memory of loved-ones lost, and demonstrating solidarity. Take Back will be held virtually this year on Tuesday, October 19 at 6 p.m. The event will include a rally and speak out.

YWCA MV also announced the return of Steps to Stop Violence, a social distance-friendly substitute for the traditional in-person march for Take Back the Night.

Steps to Stop Violence is a call to action to help raise awareness for domestic violence and is open to anyone. Participants will pledge to take steps between October 1 and 18 in honor of survivors in the community.

For more details on any of YWCA MV’s activities during October, visit ywcamv.org/DVAM.

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