Domestic violence targeted by grant
It's not every day the county receives a $323,111 federal grant especially one to fight domestic violence.
Last week U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren announced that Heart of America Family Services, Kansas City, Kan., will receive the funds to provide services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence and child abuse in rural Leavenworth County.
Pat Housh, communications manager for Heart of America Family Services, was pleased.
"It's actually an amazing thing that such a huge grant will be going into one Kansas county," Housh said.
"We're targeting the rural areas in this issue of domestic violence because there's a perception that domestic violence is an urban issue, but all the statistics show that it is not," Housh said.
In 2000, 278 residents stayed in the Leavenworth County's two family violence shelters.
Housh and Betty Pantoja, circuit rider for the Alliance of Family Violence, Leavenworth, said the funds will do more than just help support the shelters.
Alliance personnel attend court sessions with clients, teach classes, including domestic abuse prevention classes, run a sexual assault and rape victims' group.
And the grant, she said, will allow the center workers to take more training and to teach more classes.
This is especially important with the children, Housh said.
"It's hard to teach adults to change," Housh said. "But it's a cycle the domestic abuse sees itself repeated generation after generation. That's an important part of breaking the cycle of violence where you can work on the kids so they won't repeat the things they've seen and been subjected to."
And Housh wants to create more public awareness of domestic violence.
"I hope this will kind of shine a light on it." Housh said, "And maybe it won't be OK or swept under the rug to where it doesn't appear to exist."