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Utica, NY, July 16, 2019 – According to YWCA Mohawk Valley (YWCA MV), local providers of
domestic and sexual violence services, Sunday’s murder of 17-year-old Bianca Devins provides a glaring picture of the magnitude and devastating toll that intimate partner and genderbased violence can take.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 76% of women who are
murdered by an intimate partner were stalked first. For teens, stalking is an increasingly prevalent signifier of a dangerous relationship because of the many advances personal technology has made in recent years. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 26% of young women who experience some form intimate partner violence, including stalking, had experienced it before the age of 18.

“We are saddened by this tragic loss,” says YWCA MV CEO Dianne Stancato. “Our hearts go out to Bianca’s family and friends through this unimaginably difficult time.”

In 2018, YWCA MV provided advocacy services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence
over 13,000 times throughout the year and answered more than 2,000 calls to our crisis
hotlines.

“While we know the statistics are staggering,” says Stancato, “we know that prevention
education is key to addressing the egregious issues of dating and intimate partner violence.”

How can we stop teen dating violence before it starts? According to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, education on both healthy and unhealthy relationships from the beginning is essential.

Supporting the development of respectful and nonviolent relationships from the beginning
enables young people to grow healthy relationships and learn the skills they need to maintain those relationships, such as open communication. Education surrounding red flags of violent relationships is also an essential tool for young people when dating and meeting new people.

YWCA MV offers education surrounding healthy relationships, domestic violence, and more.
The agency also provides shelter and housing programs to individuals fleeing domestic
violence as well as counseling services to survivors. For anyone looking for crisis services, call one of the agency’s free and confidential 24-hour hotlines. For domestic and sexual violence services in Oneida County, call 315.797.7740. For sexual violence services in Herkimer County, call 315.866.4120. Additional information about YWCA MV is available at ywcamv.org.

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About YWCA Mohawk Valley
YWCA Mohawk Valley is a nonsectarian organization engaged in the mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. In 2018, YWCA MV provided more than 13,000 instances of service to individuals in Herkimer and Oneida Counties via such programs as domestic and sexual violence crisis services, violence prevention education, residential services for homeless women and children,
and emergency shelters and transitional housing for individuals escaping violence. For 24-hour, confidential help with domestic and/or sexual violence in Oneida County, call 315.797.7740. For 24-hour, confidential help with sexual violence in Herkimer County, call 315.866.4120. More information about YWCA MV can be found by visiting ywcamv.org or by contacting Kari Procopio at kprocopio@ywcamv.org or 315.732.2159 ext. 233. YWCA MV
receives funding support from the United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica and the United Way of Rome & Western Oneida Counties.

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