Montana Law Enforcement Academy Hosts Silent Witness Exhibit
In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) is host to the Montana Silent Witness exhibit October 1 – 5. The public is invited to MLEA, located at 2260 Sierra Road East in Helena, to see the exhibit.
The Silent Witness display is comprised of more than 100 red wooden silhouettes of female victims. Attached to each silhouette is a gold shield memorializing a woman killed during a domestic violence incident in Montana. Children who died with their mothers are also represented on the shields.
“We should never forget the lives represented by these silhouettes, and their tragic, preventable endings,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “We will continue to encourage Montanans to report suspected intimate partner violence to law enforcement, and to hold perpetrators accountable through tougher laws.”
During the last legislative session, SB 153 was drafted by the Montana Department of Justice in concert with the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office and carried by Senator Margie MacDonald-D, Billings. The new law gives law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to address serial domestic violence in the state, establishing a felony offense of strangulation. Montana’s old law did not distinguish strangulation from other crimes of assault.
“One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime,” said Natale Adorni, MLEA’s Domestic Violence Program Manager. “As you walk by these figures and read their individual stories, you can’t help but be deeply moved. We invite everyone to visit our campus this week and experience this unforgettable exhibit personally.”
According to the most recent Montana Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission’s report, there have been 169 intimate partner homicides in the state due to intimate partner violence since 2000.
The Montana Silent Witness Initiative, established in 1999, aims to promote successful community-based domestic violence reduction efforts in order to reach zero domestic murders by 2020.