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A one-stop shop to aid domestic violence and sexual abuse victims has opened its doors in Monmouth County and is ready to start changing lives.
180 Turning Lives Around, a nonprofit organization working to halt different types of abuse affecting county residents, will operate a new Family Justice Center out of the county courthouse, located at 71 Monument St.
Before the Family Justice Center, victims in the darkest times of their lives were tasked with navigating the choppy waters of the criminal justice system to seek help, said Anna Diaz-White, 180’s executive director. Now, everything they need is in one place.
“I think it’s going to be a game changer in the way that victims can access services,” she said.
An intake center at the courthouse’s lower level will be the first step, where 180’s staff can ask questions and guide victims in the right direction.
The Family Justice Center is located at 40 Monument St., connected to the courthouse’s parking lot. Different services will be available, Diaz-White said. A lawyer from South Jersey Legal Services is on standby, available to provide legal guidance. Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will be on-call from the Freehold office to assist in pressing charges and filing police reports.
The building also provides shelter for victims with children who may fear returning home. Access to local food pantries, counselors and job assessment and training are other services now readily available. The two-story-home-converted center will have no public access and will only be open to people who pass courthouse security.
In Monmouth County, the numbers of abuse victims are significant, said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. There were nearly 4,000 calls or reported incidents of domestic violence last year, and family courts in Freehold also heard requests for 1,600 restraining orders from domestic violence victims, he said. Those numbers put Monmouth County sixth-highest in New Jersey.
Diaz-White said her organization receives about 5,000 calls a year and not every incident they hear is reported to police. She said the main demographic for sexual and domestic violence victims is 20- to 40-year-old women. Diaz-White estimated 85 percent of victims in Monmouth County are women.
“We hope that it will stop the traumatization from here on out,” Gramiccioni said. “When somebody comes here, they get direction, they get assistance, they get what they’re entitled to.”
Monmouth County’s Family Justice Center is the fourth such center in New Jersey; others are located in Essex, Morris and Union counties. Diaz-White toured the state with Gramiccioni and elected officials over the past year to find the best solution for Monmouth County.
State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11), who volunteered as a rape crisis advocate years ago, said the center is a necessity.
“They’re already stressed, they’re already emotionally fragile,” she said of victims. “They don’t need five locations to sort out life and get things moving.”
The building was provided by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders at no cost, said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. It was previously used as the county’s Weights and Measures offices.
“This Family Justice Center will provide both comfort and justice to these victims and their families by offering so many services in one place,” Burry said.
Plans for the center began when 180 was awarded a $145,000 grant last year by Impact 100 Jersey Coast which will contribute to staffing and overhead costs. Grant money was provided by 145 women who each pledged $1,000 for a greater cause.
The new Family Justice Center is another piece of the large footprint 180 has established in Monmouth County. Main administrative offices are located in Hazlet and a secondary location, the Shore Regional Outreach Office, is based in Neptune.
180 also operates a 45-bed safe house and a 10-family transitional housing center in the county, both in different, undisclosed locations. The nonprofit also partners with Amanda’s Easel, a creative arts therapy program in Middletown.
As Hollywood executives, journalists and other prominent people are being called out for their alleged prior sexual assaults, Diaz-White said it spotlights the importance of the Family Justice Center.
“Of course these make headlines,” Diaz-White said, “but for every one of those, there are thousands of women, men and children suffering in silence trying to navigate their and their children’s way out of seemingly impossible situations.”
By Jay Cook |
This article was first published in the Nov. 2-9, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
All gifts received this #GivingTuesday (November 28, 2017) will support one of our most highly utilized programs – our 24 hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotlines. The hotlines are always available and are staffed by highly trained professionals in the field of domestic and sexual violence and human traficking. Everyday, 180 is answering calls and helping to guide victims to safety. Already this year, we have answered 2,805 hotline calls. The hotlines are often the entryway into additional agency services including: emergency shelter at our safe house, counseling, legal and court advocacy, and programs for children such as our Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy program.
Domestic abuse survivors and their families can learn from horses, including how to control fear, how to be more assertive and confident and how to connect with others. This was 180’s first experience with this form of therapy and we will be exploring ways to perhaps integrate programs such as this in the future.
Special thanks to Honor and “Mini Horse Heroes” for making this day possible for our families.
Mini Horse Heroes serve in memory of P.O. Ken Tietjen formerly of Middletown, NJ. The organization was started in 2001 to honor Port Authority Police Officer, Ken Tietjen, who gave his life saving others on 9/11.
At 180 Turning Lives Around we share in the grief resulting from the recent atrocity in Texas.
Like the rest of the world, we try to understand why these events unfold and we are devastated to know that perpetrators of domestic violence account for 54% of all mass shootings.
180 Opens Family Justice Center
Facility to provide services to domestic violence victims
FREEHOLD, NJ – 180 Turning Lives Around Family Justice Center marked its grand opening at the Monmouth County Courthouse with a ceremony attended by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, State and local officials and members of the community on Thursday, Oct. 26.
“The Board is proud to help facilitate the opening of this important resource in the heart of Monmouth County by making the space available in the Courthouse,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “By placing the Family Justice Center in the Courthouse, domestic violence victims and their families will be in a safe and secure location that is monitored by law enforcement during all hours of operation.”
The Family Justice Center is a collaborative effort between 180 Turning Lives Around and numerous members of the Monmouth County community to provide victims of domestic violence and their families with crisis support, legal assistance and counseling services all in one safe place.
“Family Justice Centers are a proven model that save lives and improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Anna Diaz-White, 180’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to Impact 100 Jersey Coast and the Monmouth County Freeholders for providing the seed funding and space to coordinate and begin this wonderful, lifesaving collaboration for our county, and to our partner organizations for contributing their staff’s time and talents to this important endeavor.”
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously approved an agreement to provide the space for the Center at no cost.
“It is essential for elected officials to work with the community and organizations such as 180 Turning Lives Around to help our residents that need support,” said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley, liaison to the Monmouth County Department of Human Services. “The Family Justice Center is a great example of what can come from these partnerships and we hope that those in need of the services offered here will take advantage of them.”
Seed funding was awarded to 180 Turning Lives Around by a generous grant from Impact 100 Jersey Coast.
“Impact 100 Jersey Coast is proud to support the Family Justice Center initiative. As a women’s grant making collaborative, we are thrilled that our $145,000 inaugural grant could make this vision a reality. We seek to fund projects that address unmet needs and reach underserved populations,” said Deirdre Spiropoulos, Co-founder and President of Impact 100, Jersey Coast. “The FJC exemplifies those goals and will be an invaluable support for victims of domestic violence. We are truly impressed by the leadership and collaborative efforts of 180 Turning Lives Around and the many other partnering agencies.”
Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and human trafficking can go to a Family Justice Center and obtain most of the services they need, the same day. Everyone collaborates in real time, all under one roof.
“These victims deserve efficient, effective and compassionate care, which is exactly what they will receive at the Family Justice Center,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso, Esq. “I had the opportunity to tour other Family Justice Centers in the state and I knew that it would be a great resource for Monmouth County victims of domestic violence.”
A Family Justice Center is proven to reduce homicides, reduce recidivism, reduce the barriers and fragmentation of service and they reduce trauma and the re-victimization of victims and their children. Family Justice Centers increase victim safety and increase conviction rates.
“We can make a difference in people’s lives with the Family Justice Center, especially in the life of a crime victim. What we will accomplish here will broaden our scope to provide much-needed services to the community. These services will result in increased awareness, accessible and coordinated services and much-needed help for victims of crime who need help navigating the complicated maze of government, law enforcement, social services, health and legal services,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.
“I’m proud to have worked closely with 180 Turning Lives Around to help create Monmouth County’s first ever Family Justice Center –one of only four in New Jersey. As a former rape crisis advocate, I know the work that 180 does is critically important for our communities,” Senator Jennifer Beck said. “The new Monmouth’s Family Justice Center will coordinate resources like counseling, legal services and family support into one location so domestic violence and sexual assault survivors will have easier access to those services. Today would not have been possible without the hard work of our many dedicated 180 volunteers and staff; I am very proud to have played a role in supporting their efforts.”
This will be the fourth Family Justice Center in New Jersey. The others are located in Essex, Morris and Union counties.
Social media is being flooded with messages from those who tagged their profiles to indicate that they have been sexually harassed or assaulted.
Dear Friends of 180,
180 Turning Lives Around
THREADS OF STRENGTH: TAPESTRY OF SURVIVAL is a fiber-arts display depicting recovery from domestic violence and sexual assault. JBJ Soul Kitchen will host an opening on Wednesday, October 18th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at its Red Bank restaurant located at 207 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ. This will be the 5th collaborative art exhibit between 180 Turning Lives Around and Soul Kitchen.
180 Turning Lives Around, is the lead agency in Monmouth County providing services for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. JBJ Soul Kitchen is a community restaurant featuring fresh, healthy ingredients. Soul Kitchen serves meals to in-need customers through volunteer work or to paying customers through paying by donation. Dining at JBJ Soul Kitchen provides an opportunity for all to EAT WELL and DO GOOD.
Each year the staff of the agency’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy Program leads an art project made by survivors and advocates that represents personal journeys toward healing. This year marks the 30th anniversary of National Domestic Awareness Month. The art projects bring awareness about Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence in our community. Thread, fabric, string and other materials were used to represent piecing life back together. Survivors and advocates working together create stronger bonds, weaving stories of pain into strength and survival.
In the art therapy studios at Amanda’s Easel, people gathered around the table to cut, paint and tie together fibers that show survival and strength. Their journeys are personal and courageous. Every individual has a unique story, yet living with violence and abuse has common threads. These creative art sessions allowed survivors the chance to know they are not alone.
“Since 180 has embraced the opportunity to share survivor’s stories through art, we have seen hundreds of men, women, and children find inspiration and healing in the process of the art making. Producing and exhibiting the imagery that addresses surviving violence is often powerful and filled with raw emotion. It is my belief that these are the strong messages we need the public to see and hear about in order to eliminate domestic and sexual violence in our society”, states Cynthia Westendorf, Coordinator of Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Program
The art exhibit will bring voice to the many individuals that find their way to 180 Turning Lives Around. We invite the community to see the exhibit, share in the message and join the campaign to end intimate partner violence.
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc. is a private, non-profit charitable organization dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence in our community. 180 is committed to providing services to individuals and families affected by domestic and sexual violence. In addition, 180 works to mobilize concerned individuals, organizations, and civic and religious groups to join our effort to end violence and abuse through public education, public policy reforms, and training of allied professionals. Domestic Violence: (888) 843-9262 | Sexual Violence: (888) 264-7273 | TTY#: (732) 264-3089 | 2NDFLOOR® Youth: (888) 222-2228
Bi-Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, has been commemorated each September 23rd since 1999. Created by Bisexual Rights activists Wendy Curry of Maine, Micheal Page of Florida, and Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas, it is a day that people, individually and collectively, honor the spirit of folks who identify as bisexual. Throughout the world, the day is marked with events including parties, flag-flying, balloon launches, parades, and community activities. Bi-Visibility Day is a time to empower bisexual individuals and to draw attention to the needs of the bisexual community.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a silent epidemic that occurs in alarming rates within the bisexual community. Coming out to a partner can be an isolating experience. Bisexual people are often treated as though they are willing to participate in any sexual activity and receive any sexual attention. Partners may think that they can never satisfy the person they are with and that their bisexual partner will eventually cheat on them. This can often lead to controlling behaviors such as checking through messages and preventing their partner from spending time alone with a person of any gender.
The 2010 CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey was re-released in 2013 with it’s first-ever study focusing on victimization by sexual orientation. Lifetime prevalence of sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner was 43.8 percent for lesbians, 61.1 percent for bisexual women, and 35 percent for heterosexual women. For gay men, the same was 26 percent, 37.3 percent for bisexual men, and 29 percent for heterosexual men. This study did not include gender identity or expression. In addition, survivors who are bisexual women have the lowest rates of social support when disclosing trauma, the highest rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted, and the most negative experiences when seeking help from formal support resources such as rape crisis centers, therapists, law enforcement, and medical professionals.
180 Turning Lives Around (180) is committed to ensuring that all LGBTQI+ survivors of IPV have access to immediate and long-term support in a safe, confidential, and empowering environment. Our LGBTQI+ Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator educates staff and volunteers, and also law enforcement, professionals, and organizations on relevant issues within the LBGTQI+ community. 180 engages in on-going dialogue with LGBTQI+ leaders on both state and local levels.
180 provides free supportive services including confidential 24/7 hotlines, trained advocates who assist victims by providing emotional support, resources, and accompaniment during hospital forensic examinations and police procedures, court liaisons who help victims through the court restraining order process, counseling and support groups, a safe house that provides emergency shelter for individuals and their children, and transitional housing. We have a satellite counseling office conveniently located in Neptune, NJ.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of Intimate Partner Violence, please call our 24/7 confidential hotline at 732-264-4111 or 1-888-863-9262.
For stories, about Intimate Partner Violence among Bisexual Women, check out Bi Women Quarterly’s Summer 2017 Issue: http://biwomenboston.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Summer_2017.pdf
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Staff of 180 Turning Lives Around, I would like to take a moment to update you on some of the exciting projects that are a direct result of the generosity we receive from our community:
Our new Safe House has welcomed over 250 women, men and children since we placed our first families in February 2016. The fact that we were at capacity just a day after opening our doors and have continued seeing a steady stream of survivors cross our threshold, underscores the magnitude of the need for this service here in Monmouth County. Thousands of domestic violence incidents are reported in our communities each year and it is well documented that victims are at the peak of danger when fleeing. Our shelter not only provides the basic necessities for families but provides supportive services onsite so that families can begin the healing process. This type of intervention is highly beneficial, and sets victims on the path to long term independence.
Another model program that has been underway in 2017 is our Keeping Families Together Project. 180 has been providing supportive services to a pilot group of families who are homeless. This program has shown to be a key factor to decrease child welfare involvement while keeping families together in permanent housing. 180 provides comprehensive, evidence-based, trauma-informed, therapeutic and concrete supports to these families. This program enhances a survivor’s self-sufficiency, assists victims to regain control of their lives and helps families heal from the trauma of violence.
180 is proud to have received the first Impact 100 Jersey Coast Grant of $145,000 to create a Family Justice Center in Monmouth County. Based on a nationally proven model, 180’s Family Justice Center will address the root of the hardships many domestic violence victims face when trying to break from their abuser’s coercive control. The FJC will be a one-stop shop where multiple services and service providers work collaboratively to meet the needs of survivors and their families. No longer will survivors have to relive the trauma through multiple recounting of their abuse; complete a multitude of paperwork; find the time and means to travel to multiple locations; and wait (sometimes over the course of days or weeks) to keep the process moving. With this project we will coordinate a team of professionals who will provide the following under one roof: legal services, counseling, case management, advocacy, art therapy, coordination with civil court, and more. This method has proven to reduce homicides, increase prosecutions, reduce recantations, and improve overall outcomes for victims and their children.
Because of the support from our community, our 180 families are on a new path for healing, and indeed, turning their lives around. We are grateful that so many members of our community have contributed and supported our life-saving and life-changing services and programs for families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and all staff at 180, we wish you and your family a safe and restful summer.
Thank you again for your belief in our mission!
Anna Diaz-White, 180 Executive Director