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March On Crime Week One - Domestic Violence

February 28, 2006 -- During the first week of the March On Crime / Lucha Contra El Crimen campaign, the Houston Police Department will focus on Domestic Violence and ways to reduce it in Houston. For the past year, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt, Mayor Bill White and several city, county and business leaders have led the charge in preventing and removing acts of domestic violence through the Abusers Are Losers campaign. The home should be a place of love, happiness and peace. However, over 31,000 cases of family violence were reported in Houston in previous years.

Domestic Violence is a crime and occurs among all ages, races and religions. It happens to people of all educational backgrounds and income levels. Incidence of battering or domestic violence is rarely an isolated occurrence and frequently escalates over time.

Signs of domestic violence:
Domestic violence takes shape in many forms such as pushing, punching, slapping and choking. It can lead to threats of violence to control another's behavior, forced sexual activity and even death. Some people will endure acts of physical and emotional abuse to keep a family together mainly for the sake of children. Constant verbal abuse often leads to some type of physical abuse resulting in deadly violence.

One of the first remedies is to educate ourselves on the warning signs and signals that lead to domestic violence. We want families, especially the heads of household, to understand that violence, as a way of life, is unhealthy and illegal.

- During an explosive situation such as an argument, try to be in a place that has an exit.

- Pack a bag and have it ready at a friend or relatives home. This includes having money set aside as well as any medications, extra clothes and important

- Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave the home. Remember that leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time.

- Inform a close friend at work of your situation and have someone escort you to and from your mode of transportation.

- Select one or more neighbors you can tell about any violence at home and ask them to call police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.

- If you have been assaulted, contact police immediately.

If you are struggling with this problem, call and get help before things get out of hand. The Houston Area Women's Center offer counseling. Their number is 713-528-2121. If you have already been assaulted don't wait. Report family violence or suspected family violence to the Houston Police Department at 713-884-3131. If you witness an act of violence against anyone CALL 911. Help end the cycle of violence in Houston.

AW/ RMM 2-28-06

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.