Valencia Shelter Services aims to decrease domestic violence
Valencia Shelter Services employees are wearing the color purple everyday during October — Domestic Violence Awareness Month — with one goal in mind.
“It’s an effort to get people to ask us, ‘Why are you wearing so much purple?’ And we can use that as an educational moment to tell them about domestic violence,” said Tara Sue Salusso, executive director of Valencia Shelter Services.
It’s a topic that has historically been protected by closed doors, but Salusso said that’s beginning to change.
“We’ve realized the best way to change domestic violence across the board in our world of Valencia County is to support change in offenders, educate children about the dynamics of domestic violence and how to recognize it, teaching the community what healthy relationships are and being there for those victimized,” she said.
Valencia County has the highest occurrence of domestic violence in the state, along with teen harm and child pornography, Salusso said.
“Domestic violence isn’t biased. It affects every race, every gender, every age, every size and every shape. It doesn’t have just one look about it,” she said.
In the past year, the number of individuals seeking services from VSS has increased. About 500 to 600 individuals were treated last year, and its 17-bed shelter was full more times in the past year than any other year before.
“More often than not, our shelter has been at capacity and we didn’t have that happen a lot before,” Salusso said.
Valencia Shelter Services offers a 24-hour crisis line, an emergency domestic violence shelter, transitional housing for those leaving the shelter, domestic violence counseling, legal advocacy and supervised visitation and exchanges.
For information about domestic violence, call VSS at 565-3100.
Contact Abigail R. Ortiz