For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – A vigil is set for Oct. 27 to remember the 48 Wisconsin residents who died in domestic violence-related incidents in 2015.
As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Family Center will host the vigil from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at First Congregational Church United Church of Christ, 311 Second St. S. The public is invited. Those attending are asked to enter via the Second Street or Maple Street doors.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin recently released its 2015 Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report. The 2015 numbers reflect a 33.3 percent increase, up from 36 victim deaths in 2014. Victims ranged in age from 2 months old to 92 years old. Homicides were committed in 21 separate counties in Wisconsin, with about 43 percent occurring in rural communities, according to the report.
The complete, 48-page report, along with reports since 2000, is available at www.endabusewi.org, and on The Family Center Facebook page. The report also is available in other languages, including Hmong and Spanish.
“The report is a grim reminder of the potential lethality of domestic violence,” said Sue Sippel, executive director of The Family Center. “If we can prevent even one of these homicides from occurring by providing shelter and safety planning, we will have made a difference.
“Fortunately, with community support, we are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The Family Center provided services to more than 1,000 survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence in 2015, and more than 7,000 nights of shelter to victims and their children. As a nonprofit organization, The Family Center provides all services at no cost to the victims.
During the vigil, victim’s names will be read, as participants float flowers into the river in memory of the victims.
Additionally, The Family Center will present community awards, including an award for “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year,” honoring a local officer who has shown exceptional compassion and/or support for a particular victim or victims in general.
Light refreshments inside the church will follow the river ceremony.
The Family Center also will have a display in the lower level of McMillan Memorial Library, 490 E. Grand Ave., during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which runs through October.
Call The Family Center at 715-421-1559 for more information.