LEWISTOWN - October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and domestic violence affects millions of people from all walks of life each year in the United States.
Beth Birch, Services Director for the Abuse Network, said the numbers are staggering: One in three or one in four women have been the victims of domestic violence, depending on what statistics you look at.
In Pennsylvania, there were 169 deaths in 2010 attributed to domestic violence, including one in Juniata County, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The majority of domestic violence cases involve a male spouse or partner abusing a female spouse or partner physically, mentally or emotionally.
Birch said domestic violence victims often feel isolated, because the abusing spouse or partner takes steps to cut them off from their friends, family, jobs and social life.
"Often times they don't realize that it doesn't have to be that way," Birch said.
If you or someone you know is the victim of Domestic Violence there is help available. The Abuse Network's 24 Hour Hotline 242-2444.
Jami Glick Mifflin County Crime Victim Services coordinator can be reached at 242-3372 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Birch said they counsel victims and discuss their individual situation.
"The counseling part is very important. There is healing in talking," Birch said.
The Abuse Network does have a shelter for women and children and they are permitted to help victims with Protection From Abuse orders administered by the courts.
"The most critical thing we do is act as a liaison with housing and financing issues," she said.
"We are available 24 hours a day ... domestic violence is not a Monday through Friday nine to five problem," Birch said.
Crime Victim Services Coordinator Jami Glick, who works out of the Mifflin County District Attorney's office said there are people out there who can help domestic violence victims escape the abuse.
Glick has seen a lot of domestic violence cases come through the court system over the years and the ones that involve children who are caught in the middle, are especially difficult.
Glick said one thing Mifflin County District Attorney Steve Snook did several years ago was institute a "no contact" policy between the victim and the defendant until the case can be heard by a common pleas judge.
"Ultimately we have to look out for the safety and security of the victim ... we encourage people to get (protection from abuse orders)," Glick said.
Glick said Clear Concepts Counseling instituted a program for domestic violence offenders that has had good results.
"It certainly has been a benefit. I have spoken with some of the defendants who say they have learned a lot from that program," Glick said.
C. Michael Pierce is one of the people at Clear Concepts that administers the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program.
He and Terry Knoll have been involved with program since 2001 when a grant acquired by the district attorneys office helped with the initial funding.
"Since 2001 we have only had between five and nine come back on a second domestic violence case, out of 220," Pierce said. "That's a pretty good success rate."
Pierce said Mifflin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Rick Williams has been a major backer of the program and he stays in touch regularly to keep tabs on the men in the program.
"We take this group very seriously. It's an effective format ... they learn from each other," Pierce said of the offenders.
"I think that is what makes the program so effective, we are not just lecturing them. They are learning from guys with in the group, it helps them motivate to change," Pierce said.
Those in the group meet for their hour and half sessions once a week for several months.
"Change doesn't happen over night," Pierce said.