Updated at 6:57 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 to add the Womanshelter/Companeras 24-hour crisis-support line: (413) 536-1628 or toll free at (877) 536-1628.
“It clearly shows that all of us need to do more,” Neiswanger said at a gathering at Holyoke Heritage State Park.
Neiswanger, Mayor Alex B. Morse and state Rep. Aaron M. Vega, D-Holyoke, were among speakers at the “Remember, Celebrate, Support” event to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month organized by Womanshelter/Compañeras.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni was scheduled to speak but told Womanshelter/Compañeras a few hours before the event he was unable to attend, said Susan E. Scully, director of development with Womanshelter/Compañeras.
The event in the park’s visitors center included a reading of the names of the 11 women and two men who have died from domestic violence in Massachusetts in 2015.
In 2014, Holyoke police fielded 376 domestic-violence-related calls and made 146 arrests, Neiswanger said.
In the first nine months of 2015, police have received 205 domestic-violence calls and made 128 arrests, he said. That would be a 12-month pace of 170 arrests.
“We are here to remember the victims who lost their lives and to celebrate the survivors …,” Neiswanger said.
The Police Department’s “brave men and women” are committed to and more skilled than ever at dealing with domestic violence cases, he said.
“I am thankful to be here today to partner with Womanshelter/Companeras,” Neiswanger said.
Morse said the community benefits from the “tremendous asset” that is Womanshelter/Companeras, including its hot line for people in trouble to call, counseling and shelter.
“I want to thank you for filling that void,” Morse said.
Womanshelter/Companeras has existed here for 35 years working to help people battered by domestic violence and to remember those who were murdered, Executive Director Karen B. Cavanaugh said.
“Today is the first day of domestic violence awareness month and we are calling this event, ‘Remember, Celebrate and Support,'” Cavanaugh said.