HYANNIS – Independence House and the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office are working to raise awareness during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Several events are being held this week to provide information on the rights and services offered to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
“The overall mission is to bring awareness to the community about resources that are available to crime victims and where to reach out for help and who to reach out to for help,” said Lysetta Hurge-Putnam, the executive director of Independence House, an organization which helps individuals and victims of domestic and sexual violence.
An event was held with the local Brazilian community Monday evening at the Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands in Hyannis.
“The immigrant community is really adversely affected by domestic and sexual violence partially because they don’t always report or reach out for help,” Hurge-Putnam said.
Immigrants in the state are overrepresented when it comes to domestic and sexual violence cases and homicides. They make up 18 percent of the population and represent 24 percent of the domestic violence cases.
“And those are the ones that actually get reported,” Hurge-Putnam said.
Hurge-Putnam said that Independence House is a safe place for victims who are worried about their immigration status.
“We are hearing about a lot of fear in the immigrant community to come forward,” she said. “They are afraid the police are going to scoop them up.”
The message from the District Attorney’s office and police is that immigrants who report crimes in the state can do so without the fear repercussions.
Another event for students was held at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School Tuesday morning.
The senior community is welcome to attend an event Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Sandwich Council on Aging on Quaker Meeting House Road.
Another youth event will be held with students of Nauset Regional High School Thursday at 10 a.m.
One in two women and one in four men will be a victim of some kind of sexual violence in Massahcusetts.