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’s Amanda’s Easel Exhibit to be hosted by The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen, Red Bank – October 17, 2018

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we have a very special evening planned to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence in Monmouth County.
I hope you will join us on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ for 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapies Exhibit, “Rock and River: Obstacles and Flow In Survival.” All community members are invited to join us. This event is kindly hosted once again by our friends at the Soul Kitchen and requires no entry fee; RSVP at amandaf@180nj.org
The theme for this year’s project focuses on the concept of river and rocks. Depicted through the use of natural elements like water, rock, pebbles and stones, the ebb and flow of life symbolize the recurrent or rhythmical pattern, of life’s journey. Like a ripple in seemingly still water, or a quickly changing current that seems to carry us in a different direction, our ability to be resilient, strong and willing to change is part of our growth and healing. Using this two-sided metaphor, participants have used rocks and other found natural objects to create their personal vision and perspective of how change and obstacles have influenced their life journey through domestic violence. The metaphor of life’s journey being like the river that flows through obstacles and challenges yet never gives up, is significant in the fight against family violence.
We are so pleased to once again partner with our friends at the JBJ Soul Kitchen who have generously hosted us for many years, to showcase this artwork. After this initial showing, the exhibit will travel around Monmouth County at colleges, libraries, and schools to continue the conversation, outreach and awareness efforts.
For further information, or to showcase this exhibit at your location, please contact Cindi Westendorf, Program Coordinator of 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapies

When abusers have guns, people die.

Our hearts are with Texas. 180 Turning Lives Around is mourning the loss of life in the most recent mass shooting. It is without hesitation that I am compelled to share with you two simple facts:
  • When abusers have guns, people are at a high risk of homicide.
  • Mass shooters often have a history of domestic violence – in fact nearly 60 percent of recent incidents.
The threads of domestic violence in the lives of these perpetrators are important to note:
Santa Fe High School, Texas – where 8 students and 2 teachers were killed, and where according to the mother of one of the victims, her daughter had rejected the killer’s advances for months.
Orlando Nightclub – where 49 were killed and 53 injured, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the perpetrator cruelly abused his former wife, isolating her from friends and family.
Parkland, Florida – before the mass shooter killed 17 students and teachers, he was abusive to his girlfriend, stalked her, abused animals, owned guns and was expelled from high school for fighting with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs – where three individuals were shot to death, the killer beat and raped his wife and had been previously arrested.
Boston Marathon – before planting the bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260, the killer was arrested for beating his girlfriend.
Kansas – an hour and a half after receiving a restraining order stemming from a domestic violence complaint filed by his ex-girlfriend the murderer equipped with assault rifle and pistol killed three and injured 14.

 

And the list goes on. The statistics regarding DV and gun access are staggering. When an abusive partner has access to firearms, statistics show that domestic violence is more likely to turn deadly. According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. More than half of women murdered with guns are killed by family members or intimate partners.

Our commitment to empowering survivors of domestic violence to turn their life around is paramount. However, in light of the link we see between mass shooters and domestic violence, we also remain steadfast to advocating for laws that prohibit domestic abusers access to guns and we implore the community to immediately hold abusers accountable for their behavior.

Anna Diaz-White

Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

P.S. You can read more about the link between domestic violence and mass shootings in the articles we collected here:

RSVP Reminder and Live Auction Preview

Now is the time to RSVP for 180’s Annual Celebration – an event this year which will highlight the #MeToo movement during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness month.
Please join us as we honor our two very deserving recipients:
Impact 100 Jersey Coast accepting, Deirdre Spiropoulos and 
Heather Burke and The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen accepting, Dorothea Bongiovi

The Bobby Bandiera Band will set the stage for an evening to remember and these Live Auction items are sure to please!

PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR
Dorothea and Jon are picking concert seats especially for you!  This will be an amazing night with our Monmouth County neighbor, Jon Bon Jovi! Experience includes behind the scenes tour with a VIP Host and an amazing VIP Preshow Reception in the lounge with food, appetizers, beverages and more!

ESPERANZA

Experience this amazing resort in Cabo overlooking the Sea of Cortez. A sophisticated retreat on the shores of Baja, Esperanza offers an incomparable natural setting on 17 lush acres. Winner and guests will enjoy an entire week in this world-class vacation retreat. This fabulous suite includes a gorgeous open air living room with two balconies, kitchen, 3 bedroom/3 king beds and 3 full baths. Resort has a spectacular spa, multiple infinity pools, work out facilities and restaurants on the property.

SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY
Two special VIP tickets at a performance date of your choice (between now and December 2018) will have you cheering Bruuuuuuce! You select any Friday or Saturday night….it will be an experience you won’t forget. Grab your date, the limo is on the way – it’s time to get ready for Springsteen on Broadway! Thank you Bruce and Patti!


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’s Family Justice Center Opened in Freehold

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.

 

Help 180 Answer The Call

As you probably already know, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. 
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.
Please donate in honor of #GivingTuesday and your gift will help us answer the call in a victim’s moment of crisis. Your support at any level makes a difference!

Please meet Honor.

I would like to introduce you to Honor. Honor is a two-year old Miniature Therapy Horse who spent time last month with children at our Safe House. Research has shown that equine therapy is an effective way to help heal from trauma.

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.

At 180 Turning Lives Around, we are always exploring the best ways to meet the needs of our client-families and we welcome interest and support from our community in helping us bring innovative programs to the forefront. If you would like to support 180 and/or explore new initiatives with us, please contact, 180 Executive Director, Anna Diaz White Thank you!

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.

Domestic Violence a major factor in mass shootings

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.

In this recent case in Texas, the perpetrator was previously court-martialed on two charges of domestic assault after he beat and choked his wife, threatened her with a firearm and hit her infant son hard enough to fracture his skull. Common sense gun control laws which keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders should be the law of the land. To read more about this issue in particular, please read the link here from Everytown for Gun Safety which released a sobering report on this topic. Also, a recent article from Time, “Domestic Violence is the Canary in the Coal Mine for Mass Shootings” is equally informative.
For those of you who are angered and moved to do something in response to these devastating facts and in honor of the lives ruined by this massacre, please become even more involved with 180 and our mission. While events like this can leave us feeling helpless, let’s remember that 180 is on the forefront of combating domestic violence in Monmouth County and helping survivors turn their lives around.