Meridian Star

October 20, 2013

Conference to highlight domestic violence

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     An official at Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter in Meridian said there has been an uptick in the number of people seeking asylum from domestic violence over the past few months.

    "From June to September we have averaged 16 cases (a month) coming to the center," said Jennifer MacKrell, community coordinator for Care Lodge.

    These cases represent people, mostly women, who have been abused and are seeking a judge's protective order against their spouse, MacKrell said.

    MacKrell said the victims are in many cases in eminent fear for their lives.

    "It really is a disheartening reality of life," MacKrell said.

    There are many factors that figure into the causes of domestic violence, experts say. Among those causes are uncertainty over the economy, stress over the looming holiday season and the environment in which some people have been raised.

    In addition to home abuse, MacKrell said teen dating violence is also climbing.

    "One in three teens experience dating violence," MacKrell said. "This is a another example of the home environments these teens grow up in and it reflects directly on our society as a whole."

    Some of these issues will be discussed Tuesday when, in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter will conduct its 19th annual conference on domestic violence. MacKrell said the focus of this year’s conference is “Surviving the Violence: Trauma in the Home.”

    The conference will be on the MSU-Meridian Campus in the Kahlmus Auditorium from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Lunch is provided with registration and 3.5 CE credits are available to those who need them. The conference is also open to the general public. MacKrell said the fee for the event is $75.

    Topics of this year’s conference include: “Victim Defined Advocacy,” “Batterer Intervention Programs,” “Children and Abuse," as well as a special lunch presentation with accounts of abuse and survival written by actual Care Lodge clients.

    "In many respects we see the cycle of abuse passed down from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, and when you add the number one argument among couples being money, or the lack thereof, you can get into some volatile situations that leads to home violence," MacKrell said. "We are trying to educate people and offer them services to help them cope with this issue that unfortunately doesn't seem to be going away."