October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so it's an important time for us to stop and consider this very, very serious crime and the terrible damage it causes to thousands of women and families throughout the city.
For too many women, the home-the one place that above all else should be a haven of safety-is a place of fear, intimidation and danger, where they experience less freedom and feel less protected by the law than they do in the world outside. Nationwide, four women die every day of domestic violence. That's 1,400 women a year. Nearly 2 in 3 female victims of violence are related to or known by their attacker.
Here in New York City, the problem is equally serious. Police arrest thousands of alleged abusers. Our local, 24-hour domestic violence hotline received 84,000 calls in 1998. When a person is victimized, whether it's on the street, in a school or in the home, we should all react with outrage and sorrow-and we should work together on a strategic response that will protect others from harm.
That's been our approach to domestic violence since 1994. We've brought what was once considered a private matter out from behind closed doors. Now, we have to go further. That's why we're working to make the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence a permanent part of City government, formalized in the New York City Charter. You can make that possible by voting "Yes" on November 2 for Charter Revision.
We're expanding our Alternative to Shelter Program, which helps protect domestic violence victims without uprooting them from their homes, their communities, and their networks of support. We're also implementing something called the Juris Monitor program, which will, for the first time, provide victims with an early warning system that facilitates a quick and effective response to threats from their abuser.
We've launched a major public education campaign. You've probably seen the posters on subways and buses reinforcing the message that "Domestic violence is violence… and violence is a crime."
These are all important initiatives, but the best way to transform the City's response to domestic violence is to make a difference one person at a time. Victims and others who witness abuse need to report it. If you or anyone you know is a victim of abuse, please call this number: 1-800-621-HOPE. Help is available, so don't hesitate to call. Remember: domestic violence is not just a shame. It's a crime. This is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
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