WESTPORT — As the sun came up on a chilly morning, police officers and Y’s Men of Westport/Weston volunteers stood on the platform at the Westport train station on Tuesday and handed commuters palm-sized folded cards informing them about domestic violence and bearing a the number of a bolded hotline for help.

The effort was one of several events the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force has planned for Domestic Violence Awareness Month this month. Awareness events began on the afternoon of Oct. 7, when First Selectman Jim Marpe read a proclamation on domestic violence.

“I hope that having this awareness, people know that they’re not alone, that there are places that want to help them, that there are people out there that are willing to help them,” task force co-chairwoman Elizabeth Marks Juviler said.

Beginning Sunday, the task force is organizing a supply drive for domestic violence safe houses. Donation boxes will be located around town at the police station, fire department, Westport Weston Family YMCA, Human Services Department at Town Hall, Kaia Yoga at 1200 Post Road E. and the Unitarian Church at 10 Lyons Plains Road.

“When people go to the shelters, they go with one bag or basically nothing, their cellphone and their wallet or a purse,” Juviler said.

Items safe houses are in need of include packaged pajamas, diapers, toiletries, linens and personal care and hygiene items, task force co-chairwoman Lt. Jillian Cabana said.

Westport police responded to 91 domestic violence calls in town last year. Cabana said police involvement with domestic violence awareness in the community is important because there is still a stigma about it.

Domestic violence is a problem everywhere and can affect anyone, she said, and because Westport is a wealthy community, police also see cases of economic abuse — where money is used as a form of control — along with psychological, verbal, emotional and physical abuse.

Officers do not leave a domestic violence call until they are sure the victim will be safe for the night and they have helped them make a safety plan. Police also use a screening to assess lethality in the relationship and if the results are high, police will ensure they connect the victim to services immediately.

“It’s difficult to leave,” Cabana said, “but there are resources out there and readily available for those who need help.”

She added that anyone concerned about someone they know or who are in need of help can reach out to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, police department or Cabana specifically, the domestic violence liaison for Westport police.

Disseminating information, including how victims can ask for help, is the whole point of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Juviler said she organized a butterfly release for domestic violence awareness two years ago that gained attention and has since gained more volunteers in town. With the formation of the task force, October awareness month events have expanded to a series of events, she said.

Handing out the palm cards at the train station is a good way to get community members involved, Juviler said. She said police involvement is a reminder that domestic violence is a serious issue, and the involvement of the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston, an organization of retired and semi-retired men, adds a male presence as a reminder that domestic violence is a human issue with “no boundaries.

“Typically, this is a female issue, and it’s not,” Juviler said.

On Tuesday, a number of men participated, including Joe Hawley,

Y’s Men’s. He said he felt it was important he and the organization help out to recognize domestic violence as a man’s issue, too, and because he is proud to support Westport’s task force.

The task force plans to host an on-theme movie and discussion event, Cabana said. The task force hosted a movie screening and discussion at the library in April and hopes to have similar events twice each year, she said.

Westport’s task force meets on the second Wednesday of every month at the Unitarian Church and all are welcome, Juviler said.

A toll-free 24-hour domestic violence hotline can be reached at 888-774-2900. Westport police’s non-emergency number is 203-341-6000.

Lweiss@hearstmediact.com; @LauraEWeiss16