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30 years ago, the Silent Witness Initiative was born in Minnesota, by a group of female artists and writers. They created life-size silhouettes, in red, to represent each individual homicide of a woman who was murdered by her partner. A silhouette was also created to represent all of the fatalities that were uncounted, unsolved or erroneously ruled accidental. These silhouettes were displayed to commemorate these domestic violence homicide victims, while also raising awareness on the growing homicides of women by their partners.

In 1994 this became a national initiative. Within a year, 800 Silent Witnesses were created representing 17 states. That was just the beginning…

Fatality reviews typically show that 90% of domestic violence homicide victims never had contact with a hotline worker or local program. It begs the question why? Did the victim not know about the resources available, was the victim too controlled to be able to reach out, was the victim too fearful? It could be a number of things.

As a result, to combat this, Pennsylvania began a Lethality Assessment Project, based off the successful Maryland Lethality Assessment Project. Wayne and Pike Counties participate in the PA Lethality Assessment Project. This is a Project where VIP partners with police departments in an effort to make immediate contact when an officer is on the scene of a domestic violence call. At the very least, victims will become aware of the services available.

How can you help? Use YOUR voice to spread the word about VIP and our services, you never know who is listening.

The Silent Witnesses will be displayed at the Pike County Courthouse during the vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.