Adams County Commissioners Recognize Domestic Violence Victims

The national statistics are sobering. One in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Many victims experience concern for their safety, PTSD symptoms, physical injury, and the need to be counseled by by victim services.

Showing support for victims of violence, the Adams County Commissioners proclaimed Oct. 17 to 22 as Week Without Violence and the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In thanking the commissioners for their recognition of Week Without Violence, Nancy Lilley, Advocacy Director, YWCA of Gettysburg, said,  “At the YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether. That’s why, for more than 20 years, YWCA has set aside one week in October as a Week Without Violence. Join us from October 17 – 22 as we raise awareness, elevate survivor voices, talk with policymakers, and more, with a common goal: centering survivors so that together, we can end gender-based violence.”

“I’m sure these proclamations come pro forma… but I assure you that for those of us who bring them, it’s a wonderful chance to highlight what we feel is important,” Ms. Lilley said, addressing Commissioners James Martin and Randy Phiel.

“We’ve been doing this for 11 years now,” commented Commissioner Phiel “and I assure you that proclamations are never routine.” He added that the proclamations are an important way to highlight community concerns and celebrations.

Commissioner James Martin concurred, saying that domestic violence crossed all social, economic, and ethnic borders and that it was time to end gender-based violence.

Sarah Harvey, Assistant Director of YWCA of Hanover, Safe Home, underscored the importance of helping those affected by domestic violence in the Hanover area and throughout Adam’s County. Harvey said she was proud to provide services to all of Adams County.

 Developed by the Hanover YWCA in 1981, Safe Homes offers:

  • A 24 hour hotline and crisis response (717) 632-0007 serving the Hanover Area and Adams County
  • Emergency safe housing and referrals to local shelters
  • Legal advocacy, including assistance with filing protection orders

Since 2019 the Hanover YWCA has included Adams County as part of its Safe Home coverage area. Harvey stressed that the hotline is free and confidential.

“There are numbers in here that I would say are alarming,” commented Commissioner Martin, thanking both groups for their work in intimate partner violence. “Wish it wasn’t needed, but it is,” he added.

On a lighter note, tiara-wearing Jane Rentsel, Special Programs Coordinator for the Tax Service Department, received a standing ovation on the occasion of her retirement after serving the county for 23 years.

Daryl Crum, Director of Adams County Tax Services thanked her for her years of service, her flexibility and hard work, especially in the administration of the Clean and Green program.

“She is the Queen of Green and Clean,” announced Crum, smiling.

The Clean and Green program, enacted by the state legislature in 1974, encourages property tax savings by basing property taxes on use values rather than fair market values. 

Commissioner Martin was not without tears as he thanked Rentsel for her work and her ability to “kick off my day with a time of laughter.”

In response to a comment that the sun would shine on her first day of retirement, Rentsel joked, “It better. I have places to go and things to do.”

In other board business:

  • A $230,000 grant-funded program from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency was approved for the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex. Called “Transition to Success,” it is an alternative method to traditional corrections targeting first-time, low-risk offenders and probation violators. The program aims to provide them with the tools and resources to help them successfully reintegrate into the community. Current data suggests that the three-year recidivism rate for Pennsylvania is 53 percent, increasing to 71 percent after five years. Corrections Center staff hope to significantly reduce those numbers through the grant-funded program that will be used to refurbish two housing units, staff training, and purchase evidence-based treatment materials and other supplies.
  • A public hearing to remove more than $40,000 from New Hope Ministries for rent and utilities assistance and contribute it to the Alpha Fire Company for Covid-19 response staffing and supplies was met without comment and approved. County Solicitor Molly Mudd later explained that the relocation of grant funds was a good move. New Hope no longer needed the original amount after the federal government provided funds for such assistance as part of its covid-relief program. Moving the funds was necessary to prevent the county from losing them.
  • The board approved a two-year professional agreement with Mark Maas, P.I. for investigative work that the County Public Defender’s office may require. Maas, who will work on an as-needed basis, will charge the county an hourly rate of $75, not to exceed $15,000 for any individual investigation.
  • Tax services director Daryl Crum received approval for an annual maintenance contract for billing software with Grandjean & Braverman, a Pennsylvania Company. Cost is $11,330, with any additional service to be billed at $115 per hour.
Proclaiming Oct. 17 to 22 as Week Without Violence in support of victims of intimate partner violence are, from left, Commissioner James Martin, Kara Ferraro, Director of Programs, Gettysburg YWCA, Commissioner Randy Phiel and Nancy Lilley, Advocacy Director, Gettysburg YWCA. Week Without Violence has been recognized by the YWCA nationwide for the past 20 years. 
Jane Rentzel, center, sports a tiara and a smile as she received a standing ovation for her 23 years of service to the Adam’s County Tax Service. From left, Commissioner James Martin, Rentzel, Commissioner Randy Phiel.

Featured image caption: Domestic Violence Awareness Month was proclaimed at the Oct. 5 meeting of the Adams County Commissioners. From left, Commissioner James Martin, Mandi Howell, Gettysburg Advocate for Safe Homes, Commissioner Randy Phiel and Sarah Harvey, Director of YWCA Hanover Safe Homes project which provides Adams County residents with a number of resources.

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Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

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