WILMINGTON — As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, local businesses will be contacted and asked whether Alternatives to Violence Center (AVC) staff can meet with them to review their related policies, as well as provide a 15-minute presentation about AVC services.
In reviewing company policies, AVC staff will try to see whether the agency can assist. For example, perhaps AVC staffers can help create something conducive for a domestic violence victim who may, for example, need an extra day off to go to court, AVC Director Julie Brassel told county commissioners.
Meeting with business people can also help form a partnership so when they suspect an employee is being victimized or might not be in a safe situation, they can refer the worker and know about AVC’s services first hand, she added.
In-person meetings additionally will provide businesses “a face to the agency,” said Brassel.
AVC is a non-profit agency that opened in 1981 and which provides crisis intervention and support to victims of domestic, dating, child, adult, sexual and stalking violence. Additional services include prevention education and professional training, according to the agency’s Facebook page.
Workplaces are affected by absenteeism, lower productivity and, especially if employers are not aware of the situation, employment terminations as collateral damage to the domestic violence that occurs in the home, Brassel said.
“We’re hoping that that’s something that we can help address and partner with local businesses,” the AVC director said Wednesday.
This year’s focus of reaching out to businesses, said Brassel, is a result of a suggestion made by Clinton County Commissioner Kerry Steed the last time AVC met with commissioners.
In her report, Brassel said the ATV plans to add a forensic center to its agency, located on the third floor of the 94 South Building in downtown Wilmington.
“Our hope is that come October 1 we receive funding through the Attorney General’s Office that allows us to hire and maintain sexual assault nurse examiners to provide forensic exams at our facility,” she said.
There is “a definite need” for such forensic services in Clinton County, according to the AVC director.
Currently, no nurse at Clinton Memorial Hospital is a sexual assault nurse examiner, but three nurses have been retained who will be completing the training.
“What happens is we’ve had victims that have spent 11-plus hours just waiting to get the physical examination completed with the forensic evidence,” Brassel said.
AVC has received some funds to move forward on the new service, and is waiting on the final piece through the Attorney General’s Office, she said.
In a separate appointment with commissioners, Port William Mayor Michelle Morrison and Councilman Dan Thompson gave an overview of an engineer’s preliminary report on sanitary sewer options for the village. Presently, residents of the village in north-central Clinton County utilize homeowner septic tanks.
Morrison reviewed two types of collection systems as well as treatment options.
Within village corporation limits, there are 90 houses with residents, and a dozen vacant houses, three of which should be demolished, the mayor said.
Twelve residents have acknowledged they have problems with their private septic tanks, Morrison said.
Another meeting will be held in the commissioners office to further explore the question of a public sanitary sewer system in Port William.
Clinton County Commissioner President Mike Curry told the village officials he thinks they are moving in the right direction.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.