BY SISTER BRIGID PEREZ • OCTOBER 3, 2010 | GUAMPDN
The Family Violence Awareness Task Force, the governor’s office and judicial entities are asking all churches and religious organizations on the island to begin this month with special prayers and remembrance for victims of domestic violence and for successful efforts to prevent family violence in the future.
In regards to domestic violence, some people are not too comfortable talking about the issue for the simple reason that it is a personal matter between two individuals — not realizing this is an issue that affects the whole family and society.
I simply feel that we should be more open and honest about issues that affect the moral standards of living in our community. Let’s build courage and strength to talk about the issues, otherwise we are not vocalizing the importance of awareness and prevention.
Outreaches, conferences, village walks, posters, media and some public and private schools are introducing service providers to have displays during teacher conferences on campus. All of these are helpful ways to reach out to the community.
We can do more awareness if our educational system makes it a part of their curriculum, so that our students are aware that it is a serious matter and not to think that it is a normal way of life.
If you know of anyone who is being abused, we give support to the individual, informing them of procedures and services available.
Alee I Shelter is a shelter for women, with or without children, who are victims of family violence or sexual assault on Guam. The Alee II Shelter for abused or neglected children is an emergency shelter whose primary objectives are to promote healing in children, from newborn to age 17, who are victims of abuse or neglect, to prevent unnecessary separation of siblings when they are removed from their home and to enable Child Protective Services to make better foster home matches. Lastly, the Transitional Housing Program is an extension of the Alee Family Violence Shelter that creates a housing environment that fosters independence and self-sufficiency.
The Department of Public Health and Social Services, under the Bureau of Social Services Administration, provides funding to both shelters through the contract for its operations. The programs also applies for federal and local grants to supplement the budget for operations. These federal grants are The S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women, through the Governor’s Community Outreach-Federal Programs Office, and the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA), through the Office of the Attorney General.
Alee Shelter has constantly faced shortfalls in its operational funding and relies on the generosity of organizations and benefactors from the community. The Transitional Housing Program receives its funding directly from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.
Sister Brigid Perez is program director for the Alee Shelter.