AMARILLO, TX- Domestic violence continues to rise not just here in the panhandle, but across the nation.
Now, one agency designed to curb the problem is taking a new approach to prevent the crime before it happens.
Family Support Services says they want to step outside the office and into the community in an effort to bring more awareness and visibility to an often "silent crime."
Staff members were busy Friday afternoon down at the Polk Street Methodist Church, prepping for a "Stop the Violence" fall festival scheduled for Saturday.
"We want more people to be involved with us and the recognition of domestic violence awareness month," Janet Byers with Family Support Services said.
It's a proactive event meant to shine the light on a problem most people wouldn't think about unless it's happened to them or somebody they know.
"It's a widespread crime," Angie Stovall, a crisis counselor said. "There are many women effected by this crime. It's also the least reported crime as well."
Domestic violence is by no means decreasing. The agency says nearly 40-percent of women have been involved or will continue to be involved in an abusive relationship.
That statistic is up from 25-percent just a few years ago.
"They don't recognize that services like ours are available and that they can make the choice to leave that type of life," Stovall added.
It's a message Family Support Services hopes will spread across the panhandle through community events like Saturday's first annual fall festival.
The festivities begin at 10 a.m. and will wrap up around 2 p.m.
The event will include FSS' annual March Against Violence, community information booths, carnival games, a Memorial Wall to commemorate victims of violence and several family-friendly activities.
The Polk Street Methodist Church is located at 1401 S. Polk.
For more information, call 342.2500.