Campaign focuses on domestic violence

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By Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tough realities of domestic violence can be a buzz kill.

By the time someone takes a few sips from a cold beverage, someone might have become a victim of domestic violence.

For the rest of the month, nine restaurants in downtown Tupelo have partnered with Verizon Wireless, the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, the city of Tupelo and S.A.F.E. Inc. to bring awareness of domestic violence in the community.

The restaurants will display coasters with information about domestic violence, serving as a reminder that the crime can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.

“It’s a great way to get the word out on domestic abuse,” said Lori Anne Singleton of Verizon Wireless.

Mississippi Department of Health records show 978 women and 1,116 children visited domestic abuse shelters from May 2010 to April 2011, the latest data available. MDH records show 16,282 calls were made to domestic violence crisis lines.

Due to the federal shutdown, national and state data on domestic violence from the FBI’s uniform crime report was not available.

Along with the awareness campaign, Verizon Wireless contributed $1,000 to S.A.F.E. Inc. in Tupelo, which provides a shelter for battered women and children.

“As an attorney, I’ve seen the impact of domestic abuse,” said Mayor Jason Shelton, who will issue a proclamation promoting awareness on domestic violence awareness.

Deborah Yates, executive director of S.A.F.E. Inc., said awareness campaigns help spread the word of resources available to victims of domestic violence. “We’re always trying to get the word out that there is a shelter around that helps,” she said.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com