Award to Boost Awareness of Abuse Issues
By Salina Ali
For the Citizen Patriot
A gift of $1,000 will go a long way in helping people understand the scope of domestic violence and sexual abuse, AWARE's executive director said.
The donation, which was underwritten by Comtronics CEO John Campau, was presented to AWARE as part of the Jackson Police Department's first Partner Award. The award was established for people and groups who work cooperatively with police on crime prevention and community-service efforts.
The nonprofit organization was honored during the Jackson Law Enforcement annual awards banquet last month.
The money will be used by the nonprofit organization for ongoing community education, which is a vital part of the organization's mission, said Shirley Pascal, AWARE's executive director.
The award could help defray costs of the agency's annual community outreach conference, which takes place Oct. 18 and will feature national speaker Lundy Bancroft.
The agency may also use award money to bring in a speaker with Real Men, which is a local group of men and fathers advocating nonviolence.
"We think that's really important to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to find safety, justice and understanding of the community," Pascal said. "We provide much more than just shelter for victims."
The inaugural award symbolized the solid relationship AWARE has forged with police.
Every two years, AWARE helps train officers on how to walk the fine line "balancing the need to collect evidence with being compassionate," with victims, Police Chief Ervin Portis said. "You get better when you understand."
"It's taken a lot of effort from both sides to overcome misconceptions about domestic violence and abuse," Pascal said.
Comtronics, a company specializing in security and communication systems, has been a frequent contributor to community causes.
"I stepped up the contribution due to the fact that I believe in their organization so much," Campau said.
-- Staff Writer Larry O'Connor contributed to this report.
Reprinted with permission from Jackson Citizen Patriot
Copyright June 9, 2005