Local anti-domestic violence initiative earns $400,000 federal grant
By Richard Gootee
September 6, 2012
Local and federal officials announced Thursday that the Parenting Time Center in Evansville has received a nearly $400,000 federal grant to fund a program meant to ensure safe exchanges of children between parents who have a history of domestic abuse.
The center, which opened in September 2009, already has similar programs in place, said executive director Kathryn Kornblum-Zelle during acceptance of the $397,221 check, but she said the award will help the center increase its efforts in such an important area.
“Supervised visitation is done in a manner where the child is nurtured and feels safe,” she said. “(The child) is with the perpetrator but (another) person is in the room to make sure everything is taken care of. The victim does not come in contact with the perpetrator. That is the most dangerous time, the exchange of the children.”
Federal prosecutor Joe Hogsett made the presentation to Kornblum-Zelle and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke during Thursday’s announcement at the Civic Center on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. The award is part of the federal Safe Havens Program.
“Domestic violence is not only a personal tragedy for those who are victimized by it, but frankly domestic violence affects the entire community,” said Hogsett. “We are all degraded when abuse and violence, particularly directed toward women, occurs and is permitted to continue.”
Kornblum-Zelle said the center currently serves about 40 families and 55 children from the Tri-State. She said the exchange program is meant to “intervene on behalf of the child” as well as protect parental victim.
“Children really want to be loved by both parents,” she said. “They’ll put themselves in danger, they’ll hide the fact that Mom or Dad did something wrong.”