October 7, 2011

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners acknowledged October as Domestic Violence month at the board meeting Thursday, Oct. 6. The board recognized vital county and local services that help survivors access shelters and navigate the criminal justice and mental health systems.

Domestic violence is one of the leading health concerns of women in the United States. It is estimated that at least half of all women experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes. Domestic violence impacts a wide variety of individuals and is not specific to certain races, ethnicities, income levels or cultures.

Most homes that have domestic violence have children living in them. Children who experience such violence are also at a higher risk for other types of violence. Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children.

In Multnomah County, there are 5,000 crime reports, 8,000 jail bookings and more than 2,000 restraining orders issued each year related to domestic violence.

Annie Neal, director of the Domestic Violence Coordination Office, said Multnomah County has increasingly directed more resources to domestic violence services. Twenty years ago there was one dedicated prosecutor and one probation officer who focused on such cases. Today there are entire county units dedicated to domestic violence intervention and prevention. Services now include seven culturally-specific programs and advocates based in many settings.

“We now know that it’s a really significant source of violent crime,” Neal said. “Over the past 30 years it has accounted for about a third of all the homicides in our community.”

Since it opened last year, the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services has helped 2,000 adults and 750 children. There were nearly 7,000 visits to the center, which is located at 10305 E. Burnside St., Portland.

The center is a one-stop shop for everything from food stamps to child care to consultations with police officers or a deputy district attorney.

For more information:

If you need help immediately, call 911.

Call 1-888-235-5333 if you’re in Oregon and would like to speak to someone about domestic violence.

The county offers a number of services, which can be found on its domestic violence website.

Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Violence Prevention