NEWPORT –– A facility that shelters women and their families from domestic violence hosted Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Friday as she made her way through Lincoln County.
“This is a huge issue to me,” said Rosenblum as she made her way into My Sister’s Place on Friday. “This connects to other issues, and we’re looking out for the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Rosenblum’s justice department processes an average of 5,300 victim’s compensation claims each year, and 137 organizations receive grant money from the Crime Victim and Survivor Services Division of the Department of Justice. My Sisters’ Place is one such shelter to get some of those dollars and logistical support.
“This often times involves alcohol issues and drug issues in families, and abuse and neglect issues with kids,” Rosenblum said, speaking informally to a group of shelter volunteers and employees.
The attorney general’s presence drew attention to the mission of the organization to help those escaping domestic violence. Just last year, the shelter took in 49 women, three men and 27 children and paid for a hotel room for 60 adults and 24 children who were in a state of transition caused by domestic violence.
Overall, 388 people were served, which includes 30 adults and 7 children in need who were given emergency support by the organization, and 35 percent of people served were homeless, according to shelter data.
“We want to develop understanding of the uniqueness of rural communities,” said Tracey Cummings, interim executive director of My Sisters’ Place. “It’s about the effect of what intimate partner violence can have on rural communities.”
The families the shelter assists are often not just women and their children. Sometimes, women and their families come with their pets. A statement on a poster in the office reads “Animal violence is family violence.”
Lincoln County has a higher rate of domestic violence than many other counties in Oregon, My Sisters’ Place workers said.
“So much of Oregon is focused on things happening in the valley,” said Shelby Tilden, secretary for the board of directors. “There are also things happening here.”
The problem of domestic violence was a large part of Rosenblum’s platform when she ran for attorney general in 2012. In the time since she was first elected to her position, her justice department increased the statute of limitations for rape and strengthened confidentiality policies between domestic violence victims and organizations which serve them. She also prosecuted child pornographers, according to her website.
“I think it was wonderful to have her here,” said Kathleen Allison-Myers, court advocate at My Sisters’ Place. “It was great to have her come out and show support.”
Reach reporter Madeline Shannon at [email protected]