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Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift: A New License Plate?

February 13, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia has long been known as the place for lovers, and if some have their way, it may also be known as the state where "Peace Begins at Home." The General Assembly is considering a new license plate with that motto, to help promote and encourage healthy relationships.

State Sen. Mark Herring is sponsoring the license plate bill on behalf of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance. It is addressing an urgent need, he says.

"It's time that we begin to focus not just on the response to sexual and domestic violence, but also on programs in our communities designed to prevent it. There has not been a lot of money appropriated from the General Assembly toward this - or enough - and this is one way that we can help fund these important programs."

If passed, proceeds from the license plates will be dedicated to the "Building Healthy Futures Fund" to support domestic and sexual violence prevention programs around the state. Pre-orders for the $25 "Peace Begins at Home" license plate are available through the Action Alliance by calling 804-377-0335 or by going online to www.vadv.org.

The plates would make a great Valentine's Day gift, suggests Cartie Lominack, the executive director of Shelter for Help in Emergency, Charlottesville. She says research shows one in four children are exposed to some form of violence in the home, and funds generated by the plates would go a long way in aiding educational programs.

"This funding would enhance programming directed toward youngsters and teens to try and break that cycle of violence and help them be in healthy, productive relationships as they move from youth into adulthood."

February is Dating Violence and Awareness month, Lominack says. Her organization will hold a candlelight vigil on Tuesday - Valentine's Day - to honor victims and raise awareness. The vigil is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
at the Free Speech Wall in the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville. The Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault hotline is 800-838-8238.



Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA