By Portia Williams
The Southern Ohio Task Force on Domestic Violence shelter, which is a United Way agency, welcomed Attorney General Mike DeWine Wednesday morning. DeWine was given a tour of facility, and interacted with the shelter staff, as well as local judges and city officials who were present.
DeWine, accompanied by his wife Fran DeWine, daughter, granddaughter, and two staff persons were given a tour of the shelter located at 2315 Grant St., in Portsmouth, on Wednesday. DeWine said his office plays a role in providing funding to the SOTFDV shelter.
“We administer funds to facilities like this. The reason that I am here is that I heard about this new building, and I am really impressed. What impresses me is that it is a new building, and the folks were able to design it, and it is designed specifically for this kind of facility,” DeWine said.
He said domestic violence is a serious issue which must be addressed effectively and expeditiously.
“We sometimes forget that domestic violence situations are the most dangerous situations. Many times, if you have a homicide it rose out of a domestic violence, which can escalate and be very dangerous. What they are doing here is allowing women to be secure, for her children to be secure until they can make more permanent arrangements.
Having facilities such as SOTFDV is crucial to those who encounter domestic violence situations.
“Usually, when there is eminent violence those next 24 to 48 hours are the most dangerous period of time. which makes facilities such as this vitally important,” he said.
He attributes the success of SOTFDV to the high level of support that is rendered by the local community support.
“I think it is a real tribute to this community, because this facility gets great community support. With all of the food that is donated, the supplies that are donated, a lot of things are donated. We know that the support helps tremendously, we are aware that is certainly does not take care of everything that they need,” he said. “So, to have the community involved is a tribute to the community, and is very significant, and is an indicator of how well this shelter is thought of by the community,” he said.
In addition to providing room and board to victims of domestic violence, SOTFDV also home to the Southern Ohio Sexual Assault Treatment Center, which provides care to survivors of sexual assault.
Patty Pettigrew, director of the SOSATC, said being housed in the SOTFDV building is beneficial to the clients that both entities serve.
“Three years ago I was housed with the domestic violence shelter with it dealing with women’s issues, and it being a house for domestic issues dealing with sexual assault at times, it was best that we work in the same building. It is best for our clients,” she said. “When our clients comes in, the referrals come either from the Sheriff’s office, or the Prosecutor’s office, or the hospital’s social work department. We explain the process to them on what is going to happen, and help get them ready. We are a professional friend for the court system.”
Pettigrew said DeWine is very supportive in regard to issues of sexual assault.
“It is wonderful that Mr. DeWine came here today because he is really doing a lot with sexual assault, and helping with women’s’ issues. It is really good to see all of the support,” she said.
Lou Ann Hoffer, co-director of SOTFDV, said they are proud of their new facility, and are appreciative of DeWine’s visit.
“We are very proud of our new facility, and happy that we can have something like this that we can give to our community. We are also extremely happy to have the recognition from the Attorney General’s Office, and that he chose us as one of the shelters in Southern Ohio to visit and to see our facility,” Hoffer said.
For more information regarding the SOTFDV shelter, call 740-456-8217. For the SOSATC information call 740-355-3528.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-370-0712 or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.