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Silent witness ceremony on Friday

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Tomorrow a special ceremony will be held at the Judicial Center to commemorate those who lost their lives to family violence. The numbers are staggering - in the span of one year Child Protective Services received nearly 2,000 cases involving family violence, and another 600 victims sought help from non-profit organizations.

"Family violence is a very, very serious crime on the island, said Superior Court Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena.  It's a crime that His Honor has been fighting over two decades, noting, "When I first became presiding judge there was no law recognizing family violence."

To deal with the alarming increase of family violence cases at the time, it was in 1988 Lamorena created the Client Services and Counseling Services Division, which provides forensic, psychiatric and psychological counseling for both victims and perpetrators of violent crimes. "What we tried to do is address specifically the issue of family violence because it affected relationships between families. And what we tried to is address that problem because if we didn't address that problem it would perpetuate, because family violence is a learned behavior. And once a person learns that family violence is okay it tends to pass from one generation to another."

Over the years they've tried to break the cycle of violence, with Lamorena saying, "So far we've had hundreds of people if not thousands of people come to the court system. And be treated through our client services and family counseling division to address the problems of family violence through the defendants and hopefully modify their behavior."

On Friday a special ceremony will be held at the Judicial Center Atrium to remember and honor those who lost their lives to family violence. The silent witness ceremony is scheduled for 4 in the afternoon.

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