Minnesotans have taken another step toward domestic abuse awareness in Albert Lea. A recent gathering of residents and police officers of Albert Lea and employees of Freeborn County’s Crime Victims Crisis Center involved an awareness vigil in a local park. The gathering was an effort to support the survivors of domestic abuse and bring awareness to people about the ill effects of domestic violence on children and society at large.

The domestic awareness vigil made it clear that domestic violence affects children deeply. These children often live in constant fear and many who grow up with these experiences may behave similarly when they are adults.

Domestic violence not only has a huge negative effect on the victims, but it also costs the community lost in the form of hospital fees, emergency responders, and use of the court system. The vigil reminded people to be aware of their community and to help each other end domestic abuse. If anyone suspects domestic violence anywhere in the community, they should report it immediately to the police.

All victims of partner or spousal assault should be aware of the laws, programs and social service organizations that can help them escape violent situations at home. Minnesota law allows a victim to get Orders for Protection from the court, which bar the victim’s abuser from any contact with the victim or their children until the court holds a hearing. Violation of an order can lead to jail time, ranging from three days to five years. Though domestic violence victims are often scared to reach out for help, once they do so, they can take legal action to protect themselves and their children.

Source: Albert Lea Tribune, “We need to come together,” Kevin Coss, Oct. 13, 2012