The Wilton Police Department is marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and through the Wilton Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the officers’ charitable organization, the department will be organizing several fundraisers and awareness raising events to support the Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC).
The DVCC serves Wilton as well as Norwalk, Stamford, Darien, Weston, New Canaan and Westport, advocating for and providing counseling and support services for victims of domestic violence in those towns.
According to Wilton’s Sgt. Rob Cipolla, several businesses have joined the PBA efforts. Throughout the month of October, there will be donation boxes displayed at locations around Wilton (he mentioned Village Market).
Additionally, the PBA is sponsoring a spin raiser on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at JoyRide Wilton, called “A Ride to End Domestic Violence.” Several police officers will take part in the special spin class, and members of the public are invited to participate by registering for a bike for the one hour-long class, at the cost of $35 to benefit the DVCC. (To register, click here.)
Wilton’s police department is also encouraging anyone interested in simply donating to the cause to visit the PBA fundraising webpage.
The effort is intended to increase awareness about the issue of domestic violence, explains Sgt. Cipolla, who serves on Wilton’s Domestic Violence Task Force along with Lt. Thomas Conlan and Sgt. Anthony Cocco. One effort the town’s uniformed officers will be doing in October is wearing a purple ribbon pinned to their uniforms.
The Task Force, in conjunction with the Teen Peace Works group, will once again be mounting a visual reminder of how pervasive domestic violence can be, even in a town like Wilton. In years past they have tied purple ribbons on trees around Wilton Center; this year they will be putting up purple pinwheels around the gazebo on the Town Green, and they’ll display the same number of pinwheels as the number of violent family incidents that were recorded since October 1 of last year.
“Presently we’re at 43, but we’ve had a couple incidents in the last weekend,” Cipolla says, noting that although that number may be less than were noted last year, changes to state statutes changed the way incidents were reported. “Per the statute, a violent family incident is something that involves physical violence or threat thereof. We [now] separate out the ones that didn’t fit in that category, so if you do a comparison of 2014 to 2015, yes, the numbers are going to look significantly lower. But it’s just identifying which ones strictly meet that family violence criteria.”
Cipolla says that next year’s statistics will more accurately compare to this year.
“It’s tough to say when numbers go up and down what’s contributing,” he adds. “If you’re spreading awareness, numbers can go up because people are more apt to report it.”
The Task Force and Teen Peace Works may consider putting more pinwheels than just the 45 or so, to reflect the number of incidents that go unreported. “There are statistics that out of every four domestic violence incident only one gets reported, so they might multiply the number of our incidents by four so you might see more pinwheels,” he says.