MASSENA - October is Domestic Violence month, and the New York State Police wish to educate the public about the widespread problem of domestic violence.
The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as a variety of behaviors or tactics that are used to control another person in an intimate relationship. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse, and is perpetrated by one person against their intimate partner. Domestic violence can also be perpetrated by and/or against a member of the same family or household. Domestic violence does not discriminate based on race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, or social location, but rather is perpetrated by abusers from all social groups.
State police responded to 2,127 reports of domestic incidents In Troop B in 2012. These numbers are broken down by county: St. Lawrence County, 744; Clinton County, 569; Franklin County, 471; Essex County, 343; and Hamilton County, 12.
These incidents range from verbal arguments between parties, to assaults, strangulations, damaging of property, threats of harm, and child endangerment.
While all policing activities involve a degree of risk, particular attention has been paid to the dangers of calls for service in domestic violence situations, according to a release from the state police.
Domestic violence calls can pose lethal risks to officers and have historically been extremely unpredictable and volatile situations for law enforcement, they said.
The state police, in their response to these calls, have found they can turn into ambushes or unprovoked attacks on officers. These incidents also have resulted in hostage situations and barricaded subjects. Although troopers are highly trained for these types of responses, they are often met with individuals that are highly emotional, intoxicated and may be in possession of a weapon.
The state police wish to remind the public who are involved in a domestic violence situation to contact law enforcement immediately for assistance. The New York State Crime Victims Board offers a victims assistance program.
The local New York State Police crime victims specialist, Molly Nichols, offers services for victims of all types of crimes, including but not limited to domestic violence victims, motor vehicle crash victims, and assault victims. She can be reached at Troop B Headquarters in Ray Brook, in person or by calling (518) 897-2000.
Captain Michael J. Girard, Zone 2 commander of Troop B, which covers St. Lawrence County, would like victims of domestic violence to be aware of the following services available in the county:
■ The Reachout program which has a free and confidential 24-hour crisis hotline, offering a host of other services. (315)265-2422.
■ St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House, based out of Canton, offers free services to victims of domestic violence, including crisis intervention, counseling, and shelter. (315) 379-9878.
■ District Attorney advocates Claire Wolf and Tami Richer provide updates on court appearances. (315) 379-2225.