WESTPORT — A local group is gathering supplies for victims of one of the most hidden, yet prevalent issues in Fairfield County: domestic violence.

“The No. 1 most frequent call for police departments in our service area is domestic violence,” said Kevin Shippy, executive director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, the only domestic violence agency that serves Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, Darien, Wilton and Weston.

Westport police generally receive about 90 domestic violence calls a year, but in 2017 received 75 calls about domestic violence, Lt. Jillian Cabana said, adding the decrease is a nice turn in the right direction and could be a result of increased awareness about domestic violence and the move out of town of a family who repeatedly calls about domestic violence, along with other factors.

Cabana is a member of the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force, a group of local professionals, Town Hall employees, attorneys, mental health professionals, members of the interfaith community and domestic violence advocates that gather once a month to plan domestic violence awareness events. For the past month, the task force has organized a supply drive for DVCC’s safe houses in Norwalk and Stamford.

“Most people don’t realize how prevalent this is, even in our community. People think the victims come from depressed socioeconomic groups, but victims can be extremely educated men and women. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It does happen here and there is help out there, Cabana said, adding the supply drive, which ends Aug. 16, seeks bedding, clothing, luggage and school supplies for the 1,400 hundred clients the two DVCC safe house serve per year.

New leggings are especially needed because they can fit women of various waist sizes, Cabana said, noting luggage is also a useful donation because people often have to carry their belongings in garbage bags when they move out of the safe houses, which are temporary housing.

More Information

Westport Domestic Violence Task Force Safe House Supply Drive ends Aug. 16!

Safe houses are in need of the following items:

-Twin and twin xl sheets (new and used)

-leggings and t-shirts size xs-2xl (new and unused)

-luggage (gently used, working condition)

-backpacks and school supplies for kids in the safe house

Donations may be dropped off in collection bins in the lobby of the Westport Police Department, The Unitarian Church, Westport Human Services Department, Westport Fire Department, and the Westport Weston Family YMCA and will be collected the morning of August 16th.

“It’s not uncommon that we may get a knock on the door of a mom with her child in hand and a bloody face,” Shippy said, adding his agency provides food, clothing, transportation, legal advocacy, and counseling, both psychological and financial, to victims, free of cost.

“The bad news is we’re over capacity in both locations,” Shippy said.

svaughan@

hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1