Shelter steps up efforts during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Nancy Head is the new executive director of Kingman Aid to Abused People (KAAP), a shelter for victims trying to escape the treacherous cycle of domestic violence.

On the job for just two months, Head said the shelter is full every day with families torn apart as a result of domestic violence.

"It is devastating for everyone in the family, especially the children," she said.

Robin Millin, the case manager at the shelter said children who witness abuse within the family often end up becoming abusers themselves.

"Today, with domestic violence cases we are trying to address the children more.

Violence breeds violence.

If they see it, very often, they do it too," she said.

A new position was created at the shelter for a child therapist.

Catherine Jenkins has been hired and will start Oct.

9, Head said.

The shelter, open since 1985, has 20 beds, but for the last month up to 25 women and children have been staying at the shelter nightly.

There are no fees for services provided at the emergency facility.

A "client" can stay for up to 90 days, as long as the threat of violence at home continues.

In addition to being a hands-on administrator at the shelter, the director is also the chief fund-raiser, lobbying for increased funding for the shelter, as well as increased safety for women and children.

In 1999 more than 50 Arizona women, children and men were murdered in incidents of domestic violence.

"Even more disturbing are studies indicating that fewer than 20 percent of all domestic violence assaults are reported to authorities, often because victims live in fear of their aggressors," stated information from Attorney General Janet Napolitano's office.

Napolitano has proclaimed October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

A Picnic in the Park is planned from 3 p.m.

to 8 p.m.

Oct.

28 at Centennial Park.

Food has been donated by Laughlin casinos and will be cooked by Kingman Fire Department chefs.

Games for children, a salsa contest between local media and a drawing for a three-day stay at a casino will be held.

In addition, victims of domestic violence will give testimonies, and there will be a candlelight vigil in memory of those victimized, and those who have died because of domestic violence.

Purple ribbons will be given out at the picnic to represent National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Kingman Police Department, Department of Pubic Safety and Mohave County Sheriff's Office have stated that they will put a purple ribbon on vehicle antennas during the month of October, Head said.

For more information about the picnic call Millin at 753-6222.

The KAAP shelter includes several bedrooms, a large living room, a "counseling" area, two offices, a basement stocked with food and supplies, a children's library and a play area with a lawn for children to play, protected from prying eyes with a fence.

The domestic violence residential program, including counseling, life-skills and parenting classes are mandatory for clients staying at the shelter.

Crises counseling, sexual assault crises counseling, pregnancy crises counseling and children's' programs are also available through the shelter.

A small home and property recently donated to KAAP will be used as transitional housing for a family after they leave the shelter, Head said.

The organization recently acquired additional space separate from the shelter to set up an administrative office where people can drop off donations.

The address is 101 Chestnut St.

The location of the shelter is kept secret to protect those within.

Anyone who needs help can call 753-4242, the confidential 24-hour referral crises line at the shelter.