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October 2, 2012- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the City of Poughkeepsie is using this time to announce a name change to their current program. YNN's Alexandra Weishaupt tells us why and how officials hope the implementation of a recent initiative will reduce domestic violence.

”It’s a time we remember those still living in domestic violence situations, those who have survived and those we have lost to domestic violence homicides,” said Project Coordinator for the Universal Response to Domestic Violence Leah Feldman.

A time to remember women like Tyrese Storms, a 25-year-old who fell victim to domestic violence in 2010 when police say she was strangled to death by her boyfriend, and a time to heighten awareness on the harsh realities of domestic violence.

“This is the month that we really try to get the word out about services for domestic violence victims,” said Deputy Executive Director of Family Services Joan Crawford.

Family Services leaders gathered to speak on domestic violence and as it doesn’t only affect women, the program’s name is changing from “Battered Women’s Services” to “Domestic Violence Services of Dutchess County.”

“We want to make sure that men, young people, any people who are oppressed or experiencing violence know that they can come to us for services 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Crawford.

And they say their services come in a time of need as Dutchess County has seen an increase in domestic violence, child abuse and child neglect.

“We see over 5,000 cases of domestic violence that the police respond to each year and in addition to that, domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes,” said Feldman.

Tyrese Storms was one of five domestic homicides in Dutchess County within the past two-and-a-half years, sparking the implementation of a program to assess victims risk of being killed by their batterer.

“We use these instruments and if someone scores high as a potential for homicide, we provide very prioritized services to that victim also hopefully to hold that perpetrator accountable so they cannot commit homicide,” said Crawford.

The program also provides court accompaniment, counseling and advocacy services to hundreds of people a year, in hopes others in domestic violence situations to find their way out.

For more information, visit familyservicesny.org or call the Domestic Violence Services of Dutchess County at (845) 485-5550.