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Candlelight Vigil for NY Domestic Violence Victims Who “Suffer in Silence”

PHOTO: There's a candlelight vigil to call attention to New York victims of domestic violence tonight, in front of the Family Court Building in Central Islip. Photo credit: Fotolia
PHOTO: There's a candlelight vigil to call attention to New York victims of domestic violence tonight, in front of the Family Court Building in Central Islip. Photo credit: Fotolia
October 11, 2013

NEW YORK – No need to suffer in silence.

That's the message tonight at a candlelight vigil to call attention to New York victims of domestic violence.

Martha Maffei will be among those holding a candle in front of the Family Court Building in Central Islip.

She says this issue is of particular concern to undocumented immigrants who are afraid they could be deported if they report being a victim of a domestic violence crime.

"We are also concerned about legal services for them to gain, like immigration relief, or representation about custody of the children," she says.

Maffei, executive director of the Hispanic immigrant advocacy group SEPA Mujer, says the vigil takes place during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and is intended to remember the resiliency of those who survived, as well as the lives lost.

At the Empire Justice Center, senior attorney Linda Hassberg says the center will be handing out a multi-lingual guide with advice about the court system to help victims of domestic violence, as well as lawyers and nonprofits.

"It's intended to be used by advocates who assist these people,” she explains. “But even more importantly for women themselves, who have to interact with the courts – to give them some idea of what to expect."

Hassberg says the brochure will be available at the vigil, at local courthouses throughout the state and on the Empire Justice website.

"The brochure right now has been translated into Russian, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish,” she says. “I believe those are the three most-used languages in the courts throughout the state."

Future versions may add more languages to meet the growing diversity on Long Island.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY