February is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Terryl Warner, director of Victim Services for the Cache County Attorney’s Office, was a guest last week on KVNU’s For the People program. She said every day there is a victim advocate out with law enforcement. They respond to domestic violence incidents, to the hospital or wherever they are needed. She said they make sure families know they can get help from organizations like CAPSA or The Family Place.
“We also will reach out when there are children that are school-aged kids and they’re in schools. We’ve created a program called Handle With Care. We did a training in August with a lot of our administrators in Cache County and Logan School Districts.
“A principal or a teacher will get a text or an email from an advocate, and it just basically says ‘handle with care’. And that’s code for ‘this child may need some special services’,” she explained.
Warner said when it comes to informing educators, they leave it up to the family to decide how much detail they want them to know.
“For example, a child may be struggling staying awake at school, they may come to school hungry. A lot of that may be because of domestic violence. They may be coming to school in trauma and they may not be able to focus on learning. So, the teacher may not know that there’s domestic violence going on or that the child is going through a criminal justice or a traumatic event.”
She said they also received a grant with the Children’s Justice Center that provides therapy for kids suffering in domestic violence households. Warner said their goal is not to break up families, but to protect the children, protect the victim and maybe get the perpetrator some help so that the violence can stop.
Audio: Terryl Warner in studio with Jason Williams on For the People