October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In Pottstown, many may already be all too aware of the issue.
It was just this February that the town was rocked by the death of . Who was the suspect in her case? Allegedly it was her own boyfriend.
WFMZ.com reported that the investigators in February named her boyfriend, Edwin Carrero, on the warrant as the lead suspect. The murder, which allegedly involved Carrero choking Schmidt, pushing her down a flight of stairs and allegedly killing her, is just one case of domestic violence in Pottstown. Experts say that number, however, is growing.
“(Cases of domestic violence) are very frequent,” said Kristine Wickward, legal advocate and domestic violence counselor at the Women's Center of Montgomery County in Pottstown, to Pottstown Patch.
She said her office received 631 domestic violence case referrals from police in 2011. That number was up over 200 more cases from 2010 figures.
“Part of me would like to think that more (victims) are coming forward,” said Wickward. “Awareness I think has improved over the years.”
Schmidt’s alleged murder is a sad reminder of the severity of the issue in Pottstown, and many local organizations hope that the month’s scheduled awareness push will help spread the word about support available right in town.
In addition to the Women’s Center hotline (1-800-773-2424), a free, 24-hour service, many Pottstown organizations are expanding services to assist in the rising number of domestic violence cases.
The Women’s Center also hosts a support group in its Pottstown office. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., each Tuesday, there is an open and free session. To find out more, women may call 610-970-7364. More area support groups offered by the Center are listed here.
The TriCounty Community Network is also planning a “Domestic Violence – Discover the Signs” program to increase awareness during this crucial month of focus. On Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 8 to 10 a.m., the public is invited to attend the program at the 101 College Dr., Pottstown.
There is no cost for the program for first-time attendees, and a breakfast will be sponsored by the Pottstown Senior Center. To attend the event, register by clicking here or call TCN at 610-705-3301, ext. 2.