The Danger Assessment

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and 180 Turning Lives Around is grateful for this month-long recognition which helps draw awareness, support and engagement with our mission.
Each day our hotline rings with calls from victims of domestic violence who have confronted their fears of retaliation and taken that courageous step to get help for themselves and their family.  Callers like Elizabeth*, explaining through her tears, that she and her daughter had been living in their car for the last few days since fleeing her abusive husband’s death threats.  He had come home drunk and threatened to kill her, throwing her against the wall.  Wearing only their pajamas and running out in the middle of the night, she wasn’t sure where to turn.  A call to the police lead her to finding 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.  It wasn’t the first time he’d terrorized her but she vowed it would be the last.  Drumming up all her courage, she told her story to 180’s hotline counselor who listened with compassion and understanding.  “You don’t have to do this alone, we’re here to help you”.
During calls like these, staff who are trained and certified in administering Johns Hopkins University’s Danger Assessment tool, discuss factors that may determine a victim’s level of danger and risk of lethality.  The days and months following a victim leaving her abuser is often the most dangerous for her so a Safety Plan is discussed to address her safety and well-being in the immediate future. Should she decide to come in for counseling, these tools are elaborated upon and plans for her next steps put in place.
For Elizabeth, and thousands like her each year, 180 is a beacon of hope that helps individuals empower themselves and find the courage and strength to turn their lives around.  Each year, more than three million victims in the United States are abused by their intimate partners with more than 1,200 killed by their abusers.  These victims of homicide or attempted homicide are often unaware prior to the attack that their lives are in danger.  The Danger Assessment tool is just one critical step we take in working with domestic violence survivors to help assure their safety.
We thank you for taking the time to read this and to understand one aspect of our work with survivors.  We appreciate your support of our mission which makes this work possible.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.
*To protect confidentiality, client name has been changed.
P.S. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to help raise awareness in Monmouth County, please consider forwarding this message to individuals in your network. 

180 Client-Families: Thriving and Surviving

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer! 180 Programs are as busy as ever. Periodically, we receive input from our client-families. Not only from those who have stayed with us at the Safe House, but also from individuals who have gone through any one of our many programs including the Amanda’s Easel Creative Art Therapies Program, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counseling, 2ND FLOOR Youth Text and Helpline, Family Justice Center and Court Liaison Program and so many more. It is inspiring to hear from individuals who have turned to 180 for help, and as a result are thriving and surviving because of our interventions, counseling and domestic and sexual violence programs. The feedback we receive helps shape our work and is also a very good reminder as to how much your generosity saves and changes lives. You make these success stories possible! As always, thank you for your commitment to our mission; it is your support that enables us to turn lives around.
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

“I came to 180 and stayed in their Safe House. I was pregnant with my first child. It wasn’t the first time he was violent, but this time he strangled me. I left him and found 180. The staff at the Safe House gave me the tools I needed to start anew.”

“There was a darkness in our home, but mom and 180 changed all of that for me. As I got older I learned that mom had spoken to 180 Court Liaisons at the Monmouth County Courthouse and she was able to obtain a restraining order.”


“I am now a living example that this program works and it is possible to come through a desperate situation. Now I am independently caring for my children, managing my comfortable home, working full time and continuing my education at a local University.”


“You allowed me to touch my pain and come to terms through art with the sadness I was resolved to keep buried. You have helped in the process of healing from many painful wounds. Amanda’s Easel became a refuge, a place to seek comfort and helped me to understand new ways of thinking. We are a better family because of YOU.”


“Just knowing that 180 was by my side in the courtroom gave me the strength to be there and the courage to face the defendant.”


“I think that the most important thing 180 does for its clients is to empower them. Educating sexual assault victims about their choices is handing them the tools they will need to become survivors.”

 


Their Story

These brave women shared their stories with us. If their story sounds a bit like yours, please reach out to us today. 180 can help you like we helped them. We understand that the holidays can be an especially vulnerable time for families and 180 Turning Lives Around is here for you. 1.888.843.9262

 

Jennifer stayed at 180’s Safe House

Dear Friends of 180,
Warm winter greetings from 180 Turning Lives Around!
This Holiday Season, I would like for you to meet Jennifer. Her name and identifying details have been changed to protect her for purposes of this story, but her experience with us is real. Her life forever changed for the better because of individuals like you who choose to support our mission. You make her story, and so many more like hers, possible. It is especially important for us to say thank you during this holiday season and to ask for your continued support on behalf of our neighbors in Monmouth County who will need our help in the coming year. Without you, we simply could not continue to change and save lives here in our community.
On behalf of the 180 Board of Trustees, staff and all of our survivor-families, we wish you a peaceful and safe new year.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around
I came to 180 and stayed in their Safe House. I was pregnant with my first child. It wasn’t the first time he was violent, but this time he strangled me. I left him and found 180. The staff at the Safe House gave me the tools I needed to start anew. Safety and a place to stay at first, but the longer, more lasting benefits were the tools I was given to make sure that I lived a life free from abuse; self-confidence, inner strength, renewal and hope. These tools would set me free and would allow me to carve out a life away from him and safe for me and my baby. I gave birth while staying at the Safe House and thanks to 180 my son and I will be celebrating our first holiday together – on our own and safe. I will never forget my time with 180 and all of the guidance and support I received. While the first days of my motherhood were spent at 180’s Safe House, my infant and I were exactly where we were meant to be.
Jennifer’s story has been altered to protect privacy and safety. Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.

180 saved me

My mother and I stayed in the Safe House when I was 10. That was over twelve years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. She gathered up the courage to leave and we escaped our abuse once and for all. With a few belongings stuffed into suitcases and a large black trash bag of clothes, we fled. I was too young then to know all of the horrors of Mom’s life; as she did a good job protecting me from most, but not all of the violence. There were nights when I thought the screaming would never end and other nights when the silence was just too still. Fighting…arguments…hiding…her bandages. There was a darkness in our home, but mom and 180 changed all of that for me.
As I got older I learned that mom had spoken to 180 Court Advocates down at the Monmouth County Courthouse and she was able to obtain a restraining order. Meanwhile, 180’s emergency shelter kept us safe until mom found a better job and a place for us to live. As a child, I tackled the changes and challenges in our life by talking to 180 counselors. Also, mom and I took part in weekly creative arts therapy sessions for almost a year with the nicest and most caring staff. Little did I know then that this was 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy Program. The therapy helped me to cope with the changes in my family and the violence I had witnessed in our former home.
180 saved me. I’m not sure where mom and I would be now if it were not for 180. We never lost hope and 180 gave us the tools we needed to start anew. We continue to be optimistic about our future. Although 180 is part of our past, we will never forget…we carry them with us wherever we go.
Melissa*
Monmouth County
*names are changed to protect our survivors.