County recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month
By RICK KESSINGER
LOCK HAVEN — This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the ladies of the Clinton County Women’s Center (CCWC) are letting it be known as they came out to Thursday’s county commissioner meeting.
Victim/Witness coordinator, Jennifer Bottorf, stepped forward representing the Women’s Center. Bottorf said that it is her job to make sure victims and witnesses of domestic violence are aware of their statutory rights such as the right to attend all hearings before a judge, the right to restitution, the right to have someone sit with them in court, the right to provide an impact statement, and the right to have a voice in any plea offer the district attorney considers making, just to name a few.
Joining Bottorf was trusty therapy dog Lexington, or “Lexi” for short who stole the show and the hearts of all who attended the meeting.
As a therapy dog, Lexi provides comfort to victims of domestic violence as a wonderful escape from the harsh reality they may be suffering in. Children often find her helpful in court proceedings, and, according to Bottorf, “Sometimes a kid just needs to hold the other end of the leash to know they have some control over something in a really scary situation.”
Bottorf also made aware the importance of Marsy’s Law, named after the late Marsy Nicholas and first enacted in California in 2008, which empowers the rights of victims and gives them equal weight under the constitution to the rights of the accused. Marsy’s Law not only empowers the rights of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but victims of crimes across the board. Pennsylvania is one of seven states that is currently trying to get this law enacted.
Bottorf encouraged everyone to vote for Marsy’s Law come election day as it was unanimously passed among the House of Representative and Senate last year across all political parties.
County commissioner Jeff Snyder delivered the proclamation, “Now therefore we, Robert ‘Pete’ Smeltz, Chairman, Jeffrey Snyder, Vice Chairman and Paul Conklin, Commissioner, of Clinton County, Pennsylvania do hereby proclaim the month of October, 2019, as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Clinton County, and urge all citizens to actively participate in CCWC’s scheduled events and programs, and to work toward the elimination of intimate partner violence against all community members” while reiterating the earlier statement, “Only a coordinated community effort will put a stop to this crime.”
Commissioner Paul Conklin added “This is a great great service for the community and I’m proud to live in a community that has the availability of this service to serve that need. Where would we be without you folks out there operating the facility and taking in these people on a minutes notice?”
In other business Kasey Campbell was appointed as the representative for the city of Lock Haven in the Clinton County Municipal Waste Plan Advisory Committee, Jennifer Hagaman was promoted to Director of Veterans Affairs, Audrey Young was hired on as Family Centered Services case manager in Children and Youth Services and Rebecca Collins officially resigned as Supervisor/Intake Screener in Children and Youth Services effective October 18.