St. Johns Lutheran Church Evangelism committee recently donated $2,736 to Family Safety Network, with funds raised in memory of Dawn Anderson.

The Family Safety Network (FSN) provides advocacy for domestic violence victims in Hubbard, Cass and Clearwater counties.

“First and foremost, we appreciate the outpouring of support that we have received from the Park Rapids community and the opportunities to participate in some of the great committees and programs that the community offers. It is so good to be involved in a community that works hard to offer all constituents an avenue for success,” wrote Annette White, executive director of the Family Safety Network, in a news release.

Family Safety Network has worked through “this historic time of COVID-19,” White said, adding it “has been a unique year for domestic violence.”

Last year, during the month of September, FSN handled 65 cases. This year, they handled 159.

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“I do not think that domestic violence in this community has increased, but I do believe that more people are seeking help and more people are taking steps to stop the violence,” White said.

Domestic violence “does not discriminate,” she continued. “It knows no boundaries. It does not operate within certain economic conditions and it does not have gender bias. Domestic violence can and does happen in all factions of life. It happens in all our communities to all genders and in all ethnic backgrounds. It happens in small towns and big towns, cities, and rural settings like ours. We are not unique, but we are blessed with communities like Park Rapids that address the needs of their community members.”

In Minnesota, White that domestic violence counts report indicates that on any given day within a 24-hour period 1,975 adults and children are victims of domestic violence. The FSN provides services to these individuals and families, along with a 24-hour crisis line through its partnership with the Northwoods Battered Women’s Shelter.

“Often the crisis line is a lifeline for someone in danger and especially those isolated in our rural areas. It provides support, information and safety planning as well as resources to those in need,” White said. “But providing help to those 32 individuals and families is not the staggering piece of this work, the staggering piece is that those 32 people received 131 services from FSN in one day. The hardest part of that for our advocates is that even when we are working as hard as we can there are still needs that go unmet.”