For some St. Helena Parish residents, the nightmare of domestic violence can unfortunately become a horrible reality.

Local victims of domestic violence will be recognized during a public ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 8, in observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Southeast Advocates for Family Empowerment, or SAFE, will hold its annual event at 4:30 p.m. at the St. Helena Parish Police Jury Office, 17911 La. 43 North, Greensburg.

“We want to remember those who have died because of domestic violence, while also honoring those who survived such situations,” said Pam Seals, community outreach coordinator and crisis counselor with SAFE.

Representatives from local law enforcement will be on hand, as well as pastors, to discuss how domestic violence affects the St. Helena community.

In addition, Seals said, SAFE representatives will discuss services the program offers to those in domestic violence situations.

Seals said that SAFE — which offers services in Livingston, Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Washington parishes — has held such ceremonies for more than 20 years.

“We feel that these programs help to bring awareness to the problem of domestic violence in our community,” she said. “Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation in number of domestic violence cases. We want people to know that they are not alone. There are people and services that can help to get them away from these situations.”

The agency offers assistance to men, women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, Seals said. Services include safety planning, individual and group counseling for survivors, emergency shelter and housing, legal assistance, community education and more.

SAFE also offers a 24-hour, toll-free crisis hotline at (888) 411-1333, Seals said.

“There is always someone manning the hotline, so that those in need have someone to talk to,” Seals said.

For information on SAFE, visit safelouisiana.org or call (985) 542-8384.