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Essex County prosecutor among HAWC honorees

SALEM – The North Shore’s largest emergency shelter and counseling service for battered women is honoring the Essex County prosecutor, a mental health professional, an advocacy lawyer, and a longtime member of its board of directors for their efforts in the struggle against domestic violence.Help for Abused Women and their Children (HAWC) will hold its 12th annual Community Awards on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Peabody Essex Museum, from 3-5 p.m.The honorees included Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys’ Association and a board member of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance.Blodgett has filed legislation three times to strengthen penalties for domestic batterers in an effort to make the law match the crime, said Nicki Richon-Schoel, HAWC’s director of community outreach and education. Blodgett has also addressed domestic violence within North Shore schools, the faith community, and with businesses. His office regularly offers training to law enforcement in order to better facilitate the investigation and prosecution of the crime of domestic violence.HAWC will also honor Gail Arnold, a psycholgist at North Shore Children’s Hospital and a licensed mental health professional specializing in the treatment of children who have experienced trauma. Arnold is the pre-school team coordinator at the hospital and has been collaborating with Peg Tiberio of HAWC’s Crossroads Program on the research study, Psycho-therapy/Advocacy Combined Trauma Treatment.Since 2003, Arnold has provided therapy for many HAWC families, to restore healthy attachments and to reduce the impact of domestic violence on the child’s growth and development.”In making the inner world of children vivid, she reminds us where true healing can begin in the lifeline that exists between mother and child,” said Richon-Schoel.Joan Ingraham, a trustee emerita at HAWC, will also be recognized for her years of service. Ingraham was a member of the HAWC Board of Directors from 1997 to 2004 and was secretary to the board as well as a member of the Executive Committee from 1999 to 2004. During her tenure on the board, Ingraham was the driving force behind HAWC’s annual Gallery Gala, working tirelessly on soliciting art, expanding the guest list and hosting a fun and festive evening, Richon-Schoel said.As an active member of St.John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly, Ingraham inspires the congregation to come out in force every year for the Walk for HAWC, according to Richon-Schoel. Ingraham also helps with numerous behind the scenes activities, including donations of school supplies, money for turkey dinners during Thanksgiving, and support for summer camp so that children in the shelter can get outdoors.”Ms. Ingraham is one of HAWC’s long-term, tireless volunteers and supporters, making the agency what it is today,” Richon-Schoel said.The fourth recipient slated to receive recognition from HAWC is Barbara Younger, an attorney who has been volunteering for many years, meeting with women who are involved in the Probate Court system, and helping to guide them through the difficult issues of divorce, custody, visitation and child support in domestic abuse cases. According to Richon-Schoel, the attorney is known “for her depth of understanding regarding the dynamics of domestic abuse, and supports women throughout the whole process through pro bono one-to-one meetings as well as telephone assistance on a regular basis. Her contribution to HAWC and to the lives of families struggling to free themselves from domestic abuse is immeasureable.”The event, dubbed “Ending Violence, Creating Hope: Honoring our Community Partners in Ending Domestic Violence,” will feature a screening of “And Yet I Rise,” a documentary created by HAWC, in which domestic violence survivors from the North Shore tell their real-life stories of healing and hope, and their quest to create safe, violence free homes for themselves and their children.

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