HOULTON, Maine — The Hope and Justice Project remains committed to one day bringing an end to domestic violence in Aroostook County.
But officials with the program know they have an uphill battle facing them.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the Hope and Justice Project has been holding family-friendly community events in Aroostook County in the hopes of discouraging abuse.
Krissy Beaton, Aroostook coordinator for the Hope & Justice Project, said the group decided to change things up a bit this year in order to raise awareness on the subject of domestic violence.
Instead of the traditional “Light It Up Houlton” domestic violence awareness vigil and walk, officials from the Hope and Justice Project opted to hold two “Family Fun Days” in Presque Isle and Houlton to bring the focus back toward positive family interactions.
“We are trying to reconnect with our communities,” Beaton said. “With all of the isolation from COVID, a lot of people don’t know we are still around and here to help.”
Saturday’s event featured artwork created by domestic violence victims, as well as a bundle of family-oriented games for people to play — including life-sized versions of “Sorry,” “Yahtzee” and others.
This year’s number of homicides due to domestic violence have yet to be released, but the Hope and Justice Project helped more than 1,000 people in Aroostook County last year.
The program assists people who are victims of domestic violence in a number of ways. Sometimes it is just a bag of food to help people struggling with the basics of life, while other times they assist in finding emergency housing or standing with victims through the court process and holding support group meetings throughout the year.
“We are not just busy in October,” Beaton said. “COVID certainly made things worse as people were stuck in homes with abusers and no way to get out.”
Volunteers are welcomed at the Hope and Justice Project. Those interested in volunteering for the hotline can call the Houlton office at 207-532-4004.
Editor’s Note: For free and confidential 24-hour support call, 1-800-439-2323. Hotline volunteers or staff offer information and can help people experiencing domestic violence explore options.