PUBLIC SAFETY: State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg led a roundtable discussion on domestic violence today with advocates and survivors at the Center for Hope and Safety in Rochelle Park.
Nearly one-fourth of all women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes.
In New Jersey, domestic violence occurs the equivalent of every 8 minutes, 6 seconds.
A total of 38 domestic violence murders were recorded in the state in 2012.
Police in New Jersey reported more than 65,000 total domestic violence offenses that year, for which children were reported present for nearly 30%.
What’s more, Sweeney said, “we know that many incidents go unreported to law enforcement.”
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SHOUT OUT: New bricks will be dedicated at Van Saun Park during a candlelight vigil to mourn victims of domestic violence and reaffirm the commitment to end such abuse this “Purple Thursday” night. READ MORE….
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Shelter Our Sisters, founded 38 years ago in Bergen County, changed its name to the Center for Hope and Safety to reflect “the growing array,” as the agency put it, “of both emergency and non-emergency services it offers to local families.”
The center focuses “not only on providing shelter in the moment of crisis but also offering support and guidance to help people lead independent, vibrant, self-confident lives, free of violence and the fear of violence.”
Earlier this year, it moved into a newly renovated building at 12 Overlook Avenue where today’s roundtable was held, consolidating all non-emergency services in one location for the first time.
“We need to keep raising awareness and remind people that domestic violence happens right here, in our own neighborhoods, often with devastating results,” Elaine K. Meyerson, the center’s executive director, said. “We need to ensure that we all keep working hard to create a world in which violence in the home is simply not tolerated.”
The lawmakers and other attendees agreed.
“We need to send a strong message to women, men and children who are often too frightened, or sometimes too ashamed, to go to the authorities that they are supported,” Sweeney said. “As a community, we need to let victims know that there is nothing to be ashamed of, and that there is help to get them back on their feet.”
Weinberg said the event, held during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, was “an opportunity to hear firsthand from survivors and those who work every day on their behalf.
“I want to commend the women who shared their stories and all of the advocates across the state who have made working to end violence against women their lives’ mission,” she said.
PHOTO: Courtesy Sean Kennedy, New Jersey Democrats