Executive Order declares October Domestic Violence Awareness month

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By Carol A. Clark

State agencies throughout New Mexico must implement stalking, sexual assault and domestic violence in the workplace policies to be effective July 1, 2009.

Gov. Bill Richardson signed an executive order that requires state agencies to implement policies necessary to provide victims with safe and supportive work environments.

Los Alamos Police Capt. Randy Foster addressed the seriousness of domestic violence during an interview this morning.

"We don't get a lot of these types of calls but the ones we do get are often very serious," Foster said. "So we support anything that will help combat domestic violence.

Richardson issued a proclamation on Sept. 30 declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month and announced new initiatives to kickoff the month.

In a news release, Richardson discussed the executive order and also said new domestic violence Public Service Announcements featuring his wife, First Lady Barbara Richardson, will run throughout October.

“Domestic violence affects all New Mexicans, and its damage is inflicted not only upon victims, but their children, families, communities and employers,” he said in a news release.

The PSA featuring the governor's wife will run throughout the month on local TV and radio stations, he said. The PSA depicts everyday situations – including a neighbor, a teacher and an employer who witness the signs of domestic violence.

“The First Lady has been a champion in the fight against domestic violence; this PSA will bring much needed awareness to this critical issue,” Richardson said.

Barbara Richardson explained in the release that stopping domestic violence must be a statewide effort.

“As shown in the PSA, an employer, a teacher, a friend, or a parent can see the signs of domestic violence and each of us must learn how to help,” she said. “By working together - we can stop domestic violence in New Mexico.”

Domestic Violence Czar Sharon Pino explained in a release that Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to ending the cycle of violence in New Mexico.

“The affects of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking on the workplace are tremendous," Pino said. "There is a huge financial cost to employers, when victims are distracted and harassed at work, or simply absent. By creating supportive and safe work environments, victims are able to maintain employment and are more likely to gain the financial independence necessary to escape a violent relationship.”