- 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.
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.
P.S. You can read more about the link between domestic violence and mass shootings in the articles we collected here:
Dear Friends of 180,
Thank you for making 180’s Annual Celebration a terrific success! What a wonderful night for 180 Turning Lives Around! With a sold-out room filled with outstanding supporters and overflowing hearts, the evening raised over $330,000 to support 180’s life-saving mission.
Keynoting the event was First Lady Tammy Murphy who spoke about her involvement with 180 over the last 16 years. She discussed the critical need for 180 services, as on average, two sexual assault survivors come forward to 180 each and every day. It was an honor for me to be joined by former 180 Board President, now Governor, Philip D. Murphy who spoke movingly about Honoree Dorothea Bongiovi and her commitment to nurturing body and soul through the work of the JBJ Soul Kitchen. Noted was Dorothea’s special support of 180 and our mission including: helping to build 180’s new safe house, providing meals to families and hosting our annual community event at the Soul Kitchen which brings awareness to the issue of domestic violence.
Speaking on behalf of Honoree Impact 100 Jersey Coast, Deirdre Spiropoulos joined with co-founder Heather Burke to highlight the special synergy that their organization and 180 Turning Lives Around shares. Both 180 and Impact 100 Jersey Coast began with a small group of women who decided to make a difference in their community. With the award of Impact’s inaugural grant, 180 opened the Family Justice Center of Monmouth County, a one-stop shop for critical services needed by victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Many of the guests wore denim to highlight April’s National Sexual Assault Awareness month and Denim Day (click here to learn more). Board President, Bob Fouratt opened the evening’s program by welcoming guests and thanking Presenting Sponsor, Carol Stillwell and Stillwell-Hansen, Inc., and Community Hero Sponsor, Verizon. Major event sponsors included Crum & Forster, Rick and Ana Blank and BTIG, The Diaco Family, The Sahakian Family and The Hovnanian Foundation (see below for complete sponsor listing).
Many thanks to all of our guests and sponsors, Event Chair Siran Sahakian and all Committee Members, Board, staff and volunteers. We are so grateful to you for your dedication which makes our work possible.
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.
PS: Did you know that your employer may match your personal gift to 180? Many of our donors have contacted their employer and already this has raised an additional $25,000 for 180! Please let us know if you have any questions and thank you again for your support!
Photos compliments of Aimee Burns
Cynthia Westendorf, LPC, DRCC, ATR-BC, is a registered and board certified art therapist with over 30 years of experience working with children and families in crisis. She is the Program Coordinator for the Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy Program of 180 Turning Lives Around in Monmouth County NJ since 1997. She received her graduate training at Hahnemann (Drexel) University in Philadelphia and has been practicing art therapy with children and families affected by trauma for the majority of her career. Cynthia has been a licensed professional counselor since 1999, as well as, a member of the Monmouth County Disaster Response Crisis Counselor team since 2004. She has received extensive training in trauma treatment both locally and nationwide. Cynthia specializes in interventions with traumatized children and adults particularly those who have witnessed violence. Cynthia has seen 180’s program grow into a well respected and successful service for the most vulnerable families in Monmouth County.
April 11, 6:30 PM
Springwood Park, Asbury Park
(corner of Atkins and Springwood Avenue)
The Mercy Center is recognizing 180’s Amanda’s Easel Program Coordinator Cindi Westendorf, and her team, at the Crime Victim’s Rights Candlelight Vigil.
In Collaboration with Mercy Center, Greater Asbury Park Community Development Initiative (GAPCDI) & City of Asbury Park
Agenda: Guest Speakers*, Community Prayer, Shiloh Community Fellowship Ministries Choir, T-shirts and Glow Stick for vigil. Information and Resources will be available for Victims of all Crimes
Lt. Delisa Brazile & Kelly Cullari
Christopher J. Decker, Assistant Prosecutor, Major Crimes Bureau-Victims’ Rights
Barbara Suppa, Assistant Prosecutor, Family Division – Victims’ Advocate
Asbury Park Chaplaincy Team- Survivors’ & Victims’ Support
Penny Dees- Survivors’/Victims’ Activist
Cindi Westendorf, Amanda’s Easel “180 -Turning Lives Around” – Victims’ Services
PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR
SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY
To support 180’s Sexual Violence Programs, click HERE
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.