Women Have New Tool to Fight Domestic Violence

Aug 24, 2005
Lorain Morning Journal

Calling it the first of its kind, officials for a Lorain County domestic abuse outreach agency yesterday unveiled their new Web page, which will teach victims how to seek help if they are threatened or abused.

“Information is power,” said Marilyn Zeidner, director of the Genesis House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Zeidner introduced the new site during an open house at Lorain County Community College. The Web page is part of the larger networkofcare.org, a chain of Web sites designed to provide information on various health and social service issues.

The site, which launched August 4th, is found under “domestic violence” on the home page of Network of Care and was created by Bruce Bronzan, president of Trilogy Integrated Resources of San Rafael, Calif.

“This is the first site of its kind in the country,” he said. “I believe it will be a model for many programs across the country.”

Bronzan said the site cost about $32,000, split equally between the Lorain County Board of Mental Health and a grant from the Stocker Foundation. Zeidner said the site would cost about $2,000 to maintain, which will be funded by Genesis House and a continuing grant from the Lorain County Board of Mental Health.

The site features a services directory listing help available in areas such as counseling, housing and law enforcement. There are links to various government and private agencies dealing with domestic abuse and updates on recent domestic violence cases in the news across the country.

Bill Harper, executive director of the Lorain County Board of Mental Health, said he felt a Web site for battered women and domestic violence victims would be useful after learning how many women use the Internet.

Harper cited a March 2004 study by the Nielsen ratings company that indicated 82% of women between ages 35 and 54 are internet users, and that nearly three quarters of Americans have home access to the Internet.

“That just blew me away,” said Harper.

Bronzan said the site has a clean, simple design, with no ads, to make it easer to use.

“It’s written at an eighth- or ninth-grade level,” he said, adding that the entire site can be translated to Spanish, Japanese, Russian or other languages.

“It’s amazing,” said Jennifer Scott, a victim advocate in Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will’s office. “I go online several times a month to find this information. Here it is all rolled into one site,” she explained. Scott added that the privacy the Internet offers should contribute to the success of this site.

Oberlin police Chief Tom Miller said the site should eliminate telephone work for his staff.

“Domestic violence is a common problem in any community,” he said.

Bronzan included features on the site reflecting his past a county official and member of the California State Legislature.

“Visitors can track bills moving through state and federal legislatures and even print off a voter registration form,” he said.