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Family safety organization promoting awareness of domestic violence

BEMIDJI – Wreaths with stories about victims of domestic violence are located throughout the Bemidji community until Friday as part of a local and statewide awareness campaign.

Domestic violence programs across the state, including locally, have sponsored events during the month to promote awareness of domestic violence.

According to statistics provided by Northwoods Coalition of Family Safety:

-- Formal domestic violence programs have been in Minnesota for more than 30 years.

-- One in three women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime

-- On average, more than 20 Minnesotans are killed annually due to domestic violence. In 2011, 34 Minnesotans were killed as a result of domestic violence. So far in 2012, at least 16 Minnesotans have died.

The mission of Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety, established in 1978, is to protect and empower victims of domestic violence. The majority of victims are women and children, but the organization also provides services to men when requested.

The organization provides 24-hour emergency shelter for up to 60 days, a 24-hour emergency hotline for domestic abuse victims in our area and programs, including Nokomagiisis (Grandmother Moon) Program, which provides culturally appropriate services for tribal elders and children.

Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety is a member of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, a statewide organization working to improve the lives of battered women and their families. In November, MCBW and the local domestic violence programs will be rolling out their Act for Impact: Create Safety campaign, which invites the public to become part of the solution, to be part of the campaign to create safety in our local communities.

More information, to volunteer or make a donation, contact Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety at (218) 444-2722, or writing to NCFS, P.O. Box 563, Bemidji, MN 56619.

To reach the crisis hotline,  call (800) 588-6229.