The Partnership Against Domestic Violence is commemorating its 40th anniversary, and part of that commemoration is its Hearts with Hope Gala fundraiser, scheduled for May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead.

The cost is $400 per person and includes a cocktail bar, delectable dining and a high-end auction.

Tickets may be purchased through the organization’s website, www.padv.org.

According to Partnership President and CEO Nancy Friauf, the organization hopes to raise more than 20 percent of its annual operating budget, or about $650,000.

She said the Partnership began in 1975 as an all-volunteer agency and then became incorporated in 1977 and is now the  largest nonprofit domestic violence organization in Georgia providing “professional, compassionate and empowering support to battered women and their children in two metro Atlanta locations: in Atlanta and Gwinnett County.

“We have 43 full- and part-time staff with PADV’s roster of services including a 24-hour crisis line, the two 24-hour emergency shelters which, combined, have a total of 96 beds,” Friauf said.

The Partnership also provides legal advocacy, supportive housing, a teen dating violence prevention program, outreach and prevention programs for battered women and children and workshops on the effects of domestic violence plus many other services for the survivors of domestic violence.

Friauf said in Fulton and Gwinnett counties, the Partnership can also assist people with obtaining temporary protection orders and serve more than 5,000 individuals seeking these protection orders each year.

“I don’t know if it is that domestic violence has gotten worse, as it is people are now more aware than before that domestic violence is a crime,” she said.

Karla Worley, an executive board member with the Partnership, agreed. She said in the 40 years the organization has been in existence and providing life-changing services for victims of domestic violence, its services are still very much needed.

“I would like to think that it isn’t so much that domestic violence is growing, as it is that our services need to keep growing because the awareness of domestic violence is growing,” she said. “People are now much more aware that there is help available for survivors of domestic violence and our services need to grow to be able to meet that increased need.”

The increase in the number of people that are more aware of the services available to victims of domestic violence can readily be seen in the number of incoming calls to the crisis hotlines at both shelters as Friauf said that these crisis lines, which are staffed 24 hours a day, receive more than 10,000 calls annually.

She said that incidents of domestic violence are simply one person’s desire to have dominance and control over another person, “and these individuals will use any means to gain that power and control.”

“Most abusive behavior starts with verbal abuse, intimidation and jealous behavior which leads to isolation of victims from friends and family and, eventually, extends into the need for the abuser to have even more power, which escalates into physical violence,” Friauf said.

She also mentioned another alarming statistic about the occurrences of domestic abuse.

“One in 10 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime,” Friauf said, “but one in four women will be victims of domestic abuse.”

Information: www.padv.org/events/hearts-with-hope

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