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Some of the biggest challenges for those wishing to end domestic violence can be both identifying victims and convincing them to leave their abusive situations. This can be especially true in immigrant communities where victims may already be isolated by language and culture from those who can help.
Over the weekend, the nonprofit Community Prevention Alternatives hosted a luncheon at Flushing Hospital Center to get the word out about domestic violence and services available to victims.
Martha Flores Vazquez, founder of CPA, said intervention is the first step but conceded there is often a long road ahead.
“We can remove victims and send them to a shelter, but sometimes they go back,” she said. “It’s tough.”
Vazquez said victims can call her confidential hot line at 718-909-4634.
She said she works hand-in-hand with city agencies, such as the Administration for Children’s Services, and there are many other resources the government offers.
Dr. Robert Crupi, chairman of Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Emergency Department, said the hospital works hard to identify possible cases of domestic violence.
“The Emergency Department is a place of last resort, but it’s where we sometimes identify victims,” he said. “They don’t always reveal what’s going on.”
Crupi said the staff is trained to identify signs of abuse, such as a controlling family member who will not leave a patient’s side. He said the hospital has protocols to separate the two so a victim can be free to divulge abuse and at that point the institution has various local religious/ethnic partner organizations it works with.
“It’s not just physical violence, but also psychological violence,” he said. “The most immediate thing is to get a victim and the children out of danger.”
The mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, for example, lists 77 organizations in Queens that can provide support services, such as the NYC Family Justice Center, at 126-02 82nd Ave. in Kew Gardens.
According to the initiative, there were 14 family-related homicides in Queens last year, down from 16 in 2011. The office said the Queens justice center has served more than 17,000 clients since it opened in 2008.
Visitors to the initiative’s Web page are informed that abusers can track their Internet activity, and the site gives directions on how to erase Web history and protect e-mail. It says as an alternative victims may wish to call the city’s domestic violence hot line at 1-800-621-4673.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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