GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But for those who staff the Blackburn Center, it’s every month.

As Kimberly Fox told KDKA’s Ross Guidotti, “We help those who have experienced any kind of dating or relationship domestic violence.”

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According to Fox, Westmoreland County has more than its share of people physically hurting those who trust and love them.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“Intimate partner violence happens in all segments of our culture and society no matter how you wanna look at it,” Fox said.

According to state police, Bryan Wallace broke into an apartment in Salem Township earlier this month and sexually and physically assaulted the woman living there. The victim is a one-time intimate partner of Wallace.

Investigators say Wallace allegedly ignored the protection from abuse order filed against him. He is now in the Westmoreland County Jail.

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While Fox said PFAs are often seen as inadequate, they’re often the first line of defense against someone looking to hurt someone else.

“I hear the phrase a lot, ‘The PFA is just a piece of paper.’ And while that’s true, right now it’s the best thing we got,” Fox said.

However, there are some avenues of escape for victims. According to Fox, just saying, “Why don’t you just leave?” to the victim is putting the focus on the wrong person.

“My first answer to this is why are we not asking, ‘Why is he acting this way and why is he not being held accountable for his responses or the way he’s acting in the relationship?’ Because that’s the problem,” Fox said.

According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, thousands of people in 2020 became victims of this type of violence, with 109 of those victims dying at the hands of their abusers.

While agencies like the Blackburn Center can help victims, Fox said it’s society that needs to honestly confront the issue.

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For more information on domestic violence prevention and help for victims, click here or here.