The Safe Berks Silent Witness Project is a visual monument to the Berks County lives lost to domestic violence. Each red silhouette wears a shield that describes their tragic death.
According to our records, 69 Berks residents have been killed by domestic violence since 1999. Each one of these 69 beloved lives can never be replaced. Each one of these victims leave behind family and friends who are traumatized by these murders. Many of these victims were raising children, who suddenly lost their parent. Some of these victims were children.
In past years, the Silent Witness silhouettes were carried through the streets of Reading, a tradition focused on honoring and remembering these beloved victims. In addition to Safe Berks staff and volunteers, many family members and friends of the victims participated in these solemn marches, as well as an annual Dedication ceremony held at Reading Area Community College. The Silent Witness Project always takes place in October, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 19th annual Safe Berks Silent Witness Project will take place virtually, through Safe Berks social media including our Facebook page. Silent Witness posts honoring and remembering victims will be shared starting on Sept. 28 and continuing through Oct. 20. We will also share a special virtual presentation on Oct. 20, through our Facebook page and our website, www.SafeBerks.org.
“While these 69 victims of domestic violence can no longer speak to us, we still hear their voices,” said Lisa Tumbleson, Director of Education and Outreach at Safe Berks. “We hear their warnings, we amplify their pleas for justice, and we echo their urgent calls to action – to end this violence.”
For more information about the Silent Witness Project, contact Tumbleson at [email protected].
Recent Domestic Violence Fatalities in Berks County
According to our records, in 2019 there were four domestic violence fatalities in Berks County, and so far in 2020 there have been three domestic violence fatalities in Berks. All three fatalities in 2020 took place since March, when the COVID-19 restrictions were set in place.
Beth Garrigan, Safe Berks CEO, said that the services Safe Berks provides are more crucial now than ever. “The social distancing and family isolation required to stop the spread of COVID-19 has increased danger to people trapped at home with abusers,” said Garrigan. “Home is not a safe place for everyone.”
Lethality Assessment Program (LAP)
Safe Berks works closely with local police departments to serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Our Legal Department provides training to police departments on how to utilize the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). This tool can help police identify situations where violence can quickly become lethal. For more info about LAP or to request training, email [email protected].
Safe Berks Provides Life Saving Free Services 24/7
Safe Berks provides free and confidential services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our services are available in English and Spanish and will be translated into any other language needed. Services include shelter, counseling, legal services, medical advocacy, and education and outreach. The Safe Berks 24-Hour Hotline number is 844-789-SAFE (7233), or text SAFE BERKS to 20121.