Carrying purple balloons and signs stating "Stop Abuse" and "No more violence," scores of marchers made their way to downtown Los Banos to raise awareness of victims last week.
"Since 2010, we've been here and we've provided excellent services," said Genevieve Bardini-Davis, program director for Valley Crisis Center. "We've seen our numbers increase drastically and this is all due to the support of the community."
Valley Crisis Center led the Peace for Families march from Pacheco Park to downtown's Police Annex on Oct. 18.
Marchers chanted, "There's no excuse for domestic abuse, stop the violence," as they walked down Seventh and J streets.
Organizers held a moment of silence and released white balloons that represented the women killed this year by domestic partners, both firsts for the third-annual march. A portable wall held quotes and well wishes from victims and their families, and pledges from children to never use their hands to hurt.
A number of advocate groups and government services, like Memorial Hospital Los Banos Rural Health Clinic, Soroptimists International of Los Banos and Merced County Probation, were on hand to answer questions.
Cmdr. Chet Stygar said domestic violence reports since January are down by almost 10 percent from the same time last year. The 489 incidents this year span from simple family disputes to serious reports of domestic violence.
"We still have a lot of work to do," Stygar said.
Valley Crisis Center recently expanded its hours with a $4,500 grant from United Way Merced County.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.