PLAINFIELD — The statistics are overwhelming. According to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, 81 percent of men who batter had fathers who abused their mothers.
With that and other harrowing statistics in mind, a 2012 Youth Violence Prevention Summit is planned for 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Hummel Park Community Center in Plainfield. Sandy Runkle of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana will speak, followed by Det. Sgt. Jennifer Barrett of the Brownsburg Police Department.
The event is free and all in the community are encouraged to attend. A complimentary breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m.
“This year we’re seeing what has gotten a lot of media attention are domestic violence situations where children become innocent victims of these crimes where they get hurt or some of them get impacted by a fatality,” said Jennifer Hill, president of Prevent Child Abuse Hendricks County. “What we see is a domestic violence situation between parents where children are witnessing all of the abuse that’s going on. The children are left damaged, whether it’s emotional or physical.”
Other statistics that drive the point home are from a study by Breaking the Cycle that shows that 80 percent of men in prisons grew up in violent homes and from the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary that shows that boys who grow up in homes where domestic violence occurs are 100 times more likely to become abusers than boys in violence-free homes.
“The emotional impact after being in a home where (violence) occurs and we’re seeing them not get the help they need is high,” Hill said. “They find themselves in a repeated cycle or often times become the abuser. Our goal is to hopefully make an impact on how we can prevent this cycle from continuing, how we can help these children so they don’t continue that pattern later in life. Whatever’s going on between mom and dad is severely affecting these children and they get lost in the crossfire. We need to be advocating for these children.”
Runkle’s first speaking session will focus on the internal impact children have when they’re involved in a domestic violence situation and discuss prevention techniques, as well as secondary intervention.
Barrett, who has extensive experience as a law enforcement officer in such situations, will speak on the authority aspect of it and what officers see as trends. She’ll give an inside view to what the law enforcement community sees when responding to a domestic violence call.
Hill said she hopes attendees of the event will come away with a better understanding of their role in all of this as community watchdogs.
“For the public in general, there’s a lot of confusion on when the Department of Child Services should be contacted regarding domestic violence in the home, whether it’s reflecting child abuse or not,” she said. “This will definitely highlight what you can do, and what you should do, about domestic violence occurring in the home and what kind of steps and actions you can take in order to protect those children.
“I think the public often concentrates so often on the one parent that’s being abused, and yes, they are a victim, but sometimes the public forgets that there are children involved as well and we need to remember the hidden victims, that they don’t have the physical ability to get up and leave.”
At the end of the event, attendees will have an opportunity to take part in a question and answer session. After that, PCA Hendricks County will put on a free training class that will last just over two hours with a free lunch.
Pre registration is not required, but is encouraged. To register, visit the website at pcahendricks.org and click on the events tab; e-mail Cassy Woodrum at firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax to 272-1776.
For more information, call 891-4PCA.
The Hummel Park Community Center is at 1500 S. Center St., Plainfield.
Just the facts
WHAT: Youth Violence Prevention Summit
WHEN: 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 12
WHERE: Hummel Park Community Center, Plainfield