Playground

A team of volunteers from First National Bank and Trust including Jessica Hernandez, Pam Ball and Deb Griffith work to clean up the playground at DEFY Domestic Abuse Beloit on Wednesday as part of the United Way Blackhawk Region Day of Caring event.

BELOIT—Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit is gearing up for a busy October with various online and in-person events planned to honor National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Between January and Sept. 15, Defy has assisted 214 domestic violence survivors resulting in over 893 service hours being provided and 113 survivors being provided emergency shelter stays. Those figures are near levels seen from January to September in 2020 when 216 survivors were served resulting in 1,118 service hours and 111 survivors being given emergency shelter, Family Services data shows.

Over the last three months, Defy has provided domestic violence survivors $40,544 in emergency hotel vouchers and $29,468 in emergency rental assistance, data shows.

Defy Director of Survivor Empowerment Services Kelsey Hood-Christenson said National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is always an important time for the organization to reach new community members and highlight the program’s important and life-saving work.

“We are excited to get back to it all,” Hood-Christenson said. “It’s important for us to come together and share these moments.”

From Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, Defy will host a “Paint the Stateline Purple” contest encouraging residents in the area to decorate their lawns with purple-themed items in support of domestic violence survivors. Those who participate will have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Lawns decorated can be submitted to the Defy Facebook page.

At 6 p.m. on Oct. 12, Defy will host a candlelight vigil at Riverside Park to honor those impacted by domestic violence. The event will feature talks by survivors and culminate in a moment of silence to honor those killed due to domestic violence.

On Oct. 20, Defy will host a Facebook live stream event featuring poetry about domestic violence and survival as the overarching theme. Those who would like to submit poetry entries may do so by emailing khood@familyservices1.org.

From Oct. 25 to 31, Defy will hold a Halloween costume competition with the winner receiving a $50 Amazon gift card.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, a local 24-hour hotline is available through Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit at 608-365-1119. A national abuse hotline is also available at 1-800-799-7233. For more information, visit www.familyservices1.org/defy.

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