According to preliminary data from local law enforcement agencies around the country, domestic violence homicides are on the rise in many cities. Alliance for HOPE International President and Camp HOPE America Founder, Casey Gwinn, has been one of many who have been trying to bring awareness to the pandemic within the pandemic since May. In our national tracking at Alliance for HOPE International, we saw domestic violence murder-suicides were on the rise by more than 70 percent during the first couple of months of COVID. Now, in the midst of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, these statistics are a harsh reality of how domestic violence related homicides are happening all over our country. All the while, child abuse cases continue to increase as well. Yet reports show a shocking 70 percent decrease in calls reporting cases of abuse or neglect for children during this time.
Through Camp HOPE America, we are doing everything in our power to reach children and youth who have witnessed violence or abuse in their families, or have been exposed in some way. The repercussions that domestic violence has on a child are astounding. It’s up to us to break the generational cycle through hope and healing in this young generation. Casey Gwinn said, “Camp HOPE America is true homicide prevention and criminal justice reform. We are breaking the generational cycle of violence and abuse before someone injures or kills another. We invest in children and teens impacted by violence and help them find different pathways toward hope and healing before terrible tragedy, pain, and death. Our primary goal should not be to get trauma-impacted adults out of the criminal justice system; our goal should be to keep trauma-impacted children and teens out of the system to begin with.”
Camp HOPE America is currently being facilitated in five out of the six locations listed in the NBC News article highlighting communities with increased domestic violence homicides, and there’s no telling what we will be capable of when we are able to be present in every state and county across the United States. “Now, more than ever, the children we serve, and those we do not, need a place to turn. We have hundreds of individuals on the frontlines, committed to intervene, to offer hope and a path to healing for thousands of kids. I believe, with their support, our work is the single most effective way to stop violent crime and to bring hope to the future of our world,” stated Camp HOPE America National Director, John Hamilton.
We are having a visible impact on the country in a very positive way. The further our program can spread, the more opportunity there is for children to have the resources they need for a brighter future.