Yale Daily News

Family Centered Services of Connecticut is holding a fundraising and awareness walk on Saturday to combat domestic violence.

The annual walk, which will start on Nicoll Street at 10 a.m., is a free event, but participants are encouraged to donate or solicit funds from friends and family. The walk is scheduled to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This marks the first year that the walk is functioning as a fundraiser. Before it was held solely to increase awareness of domestic violence. The money raised this year will go toward the organization’s emergency fund for immediate victim needs.

“The money will go directly into our client emergency fund, specifically for victims of domestic violence and any of the resources they may need that’s not covered by other agencies,” said Vanessa Cathey, director of Family Centered Services’ Neighborhood Victim Advocacy Program.

Funds will also go toward helping victims pay to change their locks or put down security deposits if they need to relocate.

While funds from the walk will go toward Family Centered Services’ Neighborhood Victim Advocacy Program and Intimate Partner Violence Program, the two programs that support victims of domestic violence, the organization has a total of 12 programs and offers a wide range of services, from literacy groups to parenting support.

Cathey stressed that beyond the money the event might generate and the awareness it will bring to the problem of domestic violence, the walk will also raise awareness among victims of the organization and its services, so that they can reach out for help in the future.

Domestic violence, although not often discussed, is a prevalent issue in New Haven and Connecticut as a whole, said Esperina Stubblefield, director of the Umbrella for Domestic Violence Services, which provides support to victims of domestic violence in New Haven.

“The issue of domestic violence… is one that a lot of people are not aware of or think is not happening in their community,” Stubblefield said. “Especially sometimes in the more affluent communities, it’s not something that is spoken of, and it’s the mindset of ‘not in my community.’ But it is real, and it happens in our families.”

Liza Andrews, director of Public Policy and Communications for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, underscored the prevalence of domestic or intimate partner violence in the state. She said the Coalition served over 40,000 victims in the last fiscal year alone.

Because of the scope of the issue and the relative lack of discussion around it, Cathey said she hopes the walk will be successful in increasing awareness of the severity of the problem.

This is the seventh year of the annual walk.

Jesse Nadel | jesse.nadel@yale.edu