The number of domestic and sexual violence calls in Onondaga County is holding steady, according to Vera House’s annual Report to the Community.
There were more than 17,600 total domestic violence calls last year to all the police agencies in Onondaga County. The county has been averaging about 17,000 calls every year over the last five years. Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman says that doesn’t mean the programs affiliated with the non-profit aren’t working. In fact, she says awareness is up and that means more victims are coming forward. At this point, Bregman says prevention is one of the main focuses of the agency.
“These last few years, we’ve really tried to focus on primary prevention, how to create a culture that’s less tolerant of this, so finally we see those numbers come down,” said Bregman.
Looking ahead, Bregman says one emphasis will be making sure strides made in the past, don’t slide backward.
“There’s a lot of risk at the federal level, and a lot of concern about changed perspective on some of issues that we thought we had climbed to a point from which we couldn’t slide back,” she said. “So that’s an area we don’t want to lose focus on.”
Bregman says there are concerns about federal priorities and budgeting for victims services, as well as changes in federal policy in connection to rape on college campuses.
“There are concerns in our national networks about what may happen to a variety of responses for victims services. That and there’s a lot of upheaval right now in terms of federal priorities and federal budgeting. We don’t know exactly what to expect, but we’re expending a lot of time and energy in staying informed,” Bregman said.