Winter 1985 // Volume 23 // Number 4 // Ideas at Work // 4IAW2

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Family Violence - A Community Concern


Betty Rae Weiford
Extension Agent, Home Economist
Pocahontas County
Marlinton, West Virginia

William E. Beckley
Extension Agent, 4-H
Pocahontas County
Marlinton, West Virginia

Estimates indicate that half the families in the United States have or will experience some form of family violence. The problems associated with family violence reach beyond the families involved to the outside community.

After taking part in multi-county family violence seminars in October, 1984, agents in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, planned a follow-up educational program within the county. The program objectives were to help county residents: (1) recognize the scope of the problem of family violence, (2) become familiar with related laws and problemsolving resources currently available, and (3) explore additional resources needed to deal with the problem.

Cooperation with other agencies enabled us to use several approaches for the family violence education program. A public seminar on family violence was held in November, 1984. A follow-up series of 10 articles on family violence appeared in the local newspaper. Two one-hour live radio discussions were aired in December and gave the public a chance to call in and ask questions or express comments related to family violence. In January, 1985, Extension Homemaker Clubs in the county studied lessons on family violence.

Long-term results from these efforts to solve problems associated with family violence will take some time to surface. However, some results are already being noted: (1) social service agencies have reported more family protective orders being issued, (2) people have called or stopped by the Extension office with questions related to reporting violence, and (3) agency representatives who deal with family violence have expressed the need for additional resources.

We know that Pocahontas County residents now have greater awareness of the problem of family violence, and that the WVU Extension office is seen as a resource for information. This information is basic to solving the problem. We hope this will contribute to reducing or ending the terrible chain of family violence in our community.