A total of 24 billboards will go up in the three counties.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Billboards and posters will be displayed in three counties during the next two months to promote a single message of respect for one another.
More than 100 agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals comprise the Tri-County Family Violence Prevention Coalition, which is a program of Help Hotline Crisis Center. The coalition kicked off its Practicing Respect campaign Wednesday in front of the Mahoning County Courthouse. Similar events will be Tuesday in Warren and Wednesday in Lisbon.
A total of 24 billboards will go up in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in the coming days, depicting women, children and the elderly in an effort to prevent the intergenerational transmission of family violence.
"Violence cannot live in a respectful environment," project coordinator Dorothy Kane said.
Billboards were designed by Rubenstein Associates Inc. of Liberty.
The coalition wants to take the campaign a step further by reaching out to children, teachers and parents, she said.
The coalition's recent newsletters include these statistics on family violence:
In 2004, child abuse and neglect reports totaled 868 in Mahoning County, 2,245 in Trumbull County and 152 in Columbiana County.
Also in 2004, law enforcement made 390 arrests in Mahoning County for domestic violence, 794 arrests in Trumbull and 230 in Columbiana.
In 2005, Adult Protective Services staff of county Job & amp; Family Services departments reported 420 validated cases of elder abuse in Mahoning, while Trumbull had 286, and Columbiana had 236. In each case, at least half the encounters were perpetrated by family members.
A forerunner to the billboard campaign has been the coalition's free workplace training program, which began a year ago, Kane said.
The goal is to let employees know that they can acknowledge family violence situations and receive support at work. Employers and employees learn not only about the signs of family violence, but also how it affects productivity.
So far, at least 1,500 employees in 35 workplaces have participated in training, Kane said.
The coalition received resolutions and letters of support Wednesday from Mahoning County commissioners, Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland of Lisbon, D-6th.