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Preventing Domestic Violence Deaths in VA

October 7, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and to bring attention to the issue in Virginia, a documentary chronicling the story of a Pennsylvania mother of two who was shot and killed by her husband will air tonight on public television stations across the state. The film examines the clues the victim left behind, the signs of trouble, and what could have been done to prevent her death.

Seema Zeya, victims advocate for the Fairfax Fatality Review Team, explains how those same angles are analyzed in every domestic violence death case in northern Virginia.

"We are examining those events, looking retrospectively at the circumstances that led up to the fatalities, and then prospectively identifying interventions or opportunities for collaboration that might reduce the likelihood of future domestic violence homicides."

Zeya notes instances of homicides are comparatively low in northern Virginia, but of those deaths, she says At least one-third are related to domestic violence. She believes it will take a community-wide effort to save lives.

"Everybody has a stake in ensuring that we create a safe community where people especially feel safe in their homes, women, children, men, as well. And so, I think hopefully the film will help to serve as a call to action, to encourage people to learn more about this issue."

"Telling Amy's Story" is set to air at 8 p.m., followed by a taped panel discussion featuring several Virginia domestic violence awareness advocates.

Documentary info: www.telling.psu.edu/index.html.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA