EDITORIAL; Purple ribbons reappearing

Campaign last year to raise awareness about domestic violence returns this year.

The Purple Ribbon campaign last year to raise awareness about domestic violence might have been just a three-week blip on the calendar.

Except the organizers of last year’s drive are planning another one this April to retain the momentum generated by the 2011 campaign.

Heather Ney, executive director of the Comox Valley Transition Society (CVTS), said the campaign’s effects have lasted.

She should know, because the transition society was one of the key participants, and the CVTS deals with the effects of domestic violence on an all-too-regular basis.

Ney said a heightened awareness of the issue and of services available for victims continued after the campaign ended.

One effect was that some people reported abusive situations as a direct result of the campaign, said Const. Tanya Vandermolen of the Comox Valley RCMP domestic violence section. Vandermolen has seen an increased awareness and knowledge of the community’s victim services.

A further benefit is increased co-ordination between the various community agencies whose jurisdiction and responsibilities might overlap.

One thing that remains a mystery is the number of domestic violence incidents in the Comox Valley.

If numbers have risen since the campaign, it might be an increase in domestic violence. More likely, at least some of the incidents were reported as a result of the campaign.

One final thought — former Courtenay mayor Greg Phelps deserves credit for bringing the idea for the campaign back from a visit to the Maritimes.

Hopefully, the seed he planted might one day mean the Comox Valley RCMP don’t need a domestic violence section.