Needy Cases 2022: Women Aware coordinates efforts to combat domestic violence




  • In US
  • 2022-12-02 10:20:19Z
  • By Home News Tribune | My Central Jersey

Closing doors is never an option for Women Aware.

Throughout the pandemic, the nearly 50-year-old nonprofit organization remained open − and saw its numbers rise to record amounts.

"Survivors of domestic violence count on us to be here," said Phyllis Yonta, Women Aware's CEO. "Women Aware's greatest challenge continues to be answering survivors' needs for shelter, safety planning and comprehensive services in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is a testament to our dedicated professional staff that our 24/7 hotline and emergency shelter remained open through the pandemic."

Women Aware has been a guiding light for those suffering from domestic abuse. The state-designated lead domestic violence agency for Middlesex County, Women Aware moves approximately 2,000 survivors beyond abuse each year, said Susan M. Dyckman, development director.

Despite the challenges, Women Aware has continued to operate the only 24-hour domestic violence emergency shelter in the second most populous county in the state.

"Our trained, trauma-informed professional staff are experts when it comes to serving survivors, but it takes an entire community to save lives," Dyckman said.

Women Aware is the state-designated lead domestic violence agency for Middlesex County.
Women Aware is the state-designated lead domestic violence agency for Middlesex County.  

Founded in the 1970s, Women Aware started by providing shelter services to women seeking safety from domestic violence. When the organization became incorporated in 1981, the nonprofit began offering additional services. Today, the organization offers shelter along with legal advocacy, counseling, community outreach, supportive housing, liaisons in child protective services, community education and a creative art therapy program for children.

In 2021, the organization served 2,195 survivors of domestic violence, including 176 children. Women Aware sheltered 250 women and children, which was 35% more than in 2020 - the most in the history of the agency. The organization provided 11,440 bed nights − 49% more than in 2020 − and answered 7,278 hotline calls, a 14% rise from 2020.

Last year, Women Aware expanded shelter capacity through a hotel placement program to accommodate victims' need for emergency shelter, spoke with callers in 10 different languages, provided legal advocacy for 1,137 clients − up 38% from 2020 − and increased individual, group and family therapy sessions by 23% in the Peace: A Learned Solution (PALS) program.

Women Aware also hosted and participated in court intervention, accompaniment and preparation sessions as well as case management, legal clinics and workshops.

Women Aware is on pace to exceed these numbers in 2022, Dyckman said.

A major project in the next year is the Middlesex County Family Justice Center (FJC). As the lead agency for this ground-breaking initiative, Women Aware will be laying the foundation for a coordinated community response to domestic violence and sexual assault.

The goal of the FJC is to reduce domestic violence homicides and increase the safety and confidentiality of domestic violence survivors and their children in collaboration with co-located victim services agencies. The FJC will help survivors and their families get the resources and support they need at one location.

"Working collaboratively, in one space, under the umbrella of the Family Justice Center, our purpose is to radically improve family safety as well as offender accountability," Yonta said.

Last year, Women Aware was awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Violence Against Women. This helped to provide funding for the FJC, Dyckman said

This effort is partnership with the Middlesex County Office of Human Services, Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, Middlesex County Center for Empowerment, Central Jersey Legal Services, Jewish Family Services, American Friends Service Committee, Middlesex County Board of Social Services, New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Coming Home of Middlesex County, Manavi, Town Clock Community Development Corporation, A Partnership for Change and Dress for Success Central Jersey.

The FJC is open for walk-ins from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 100 Bayard St. (fourth floor) in New Brunswick.

Dyckman said Women Aware relies on community support to fund and fulfill its mission to provide free and confidential services to survivors moving beyond abuse.

Last year, Women Aware expanded shelter capacity through a hotel placement program to accommodate victims’ need for emergency shelter, among other initiatives.
Last year, Women Aware expanded shelter capacity through a hotel placement program to accommodate victims’ need for emergency shelter, among other initiatives.  

"We are grateful to the individuals, community organizations, businesses, foundations, government funders and service providers who support our mission to promote the safety and self-sufficiency of individuals and families affected by domestic violence in Middlesex County," Dyckman said. "Individual financial donations are used where most needed and are always welcome."

The Woman Aware annual holiday gift program will be comprised of gift cards only. Gift cards give victims of domestic violence some financial independence, helping them purchase what they need for themselves and their children, Dyckman said.

Suggested gift cards include Visa, Mastercard, Uber, Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreen's, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Amazon and gas cards. Gift cards can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday at 250 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick. You can call 732-249-4900 ext. 0428 before stopping by or with any questions. Gift cards also can be mailed to Women Aware at 250 Livingston Ave. New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

For more information about Women Aware go to womenaware.net or call the free 24-hour hotline at 732-249-4504 or toll-free at 833-249-4504. If it is too dangerous for a victim to reach out directly, a trusted family member or friend can call the hotline. The statewide hotline also is available at 800-572-SAFE (7233).

How to support the Needy Cases Fund

From Nov. 27 to Dec. 4, the Courier News, Home News Tribune and MyCentralJersey.com are focusing on 10 organizations serving Central Jersey as part of the annual Needy Cases Fund.

The Needy Cases Fund is a Central Jersey holiday tradition, stretching back more than seven decades. The community-service project has been sponsored by the Home News Tribune and its predecessor, the Daily Home News, working with the Lions Club of New Brunswick. In 2022, the Courier News will again join the Home News Tribune in sponsoring the charity.

Send donations (checks made out to the Needy Cases Fund or cash) to: Needy Cases Fund, Home News Tribune/Courier News, 92 E. Main St., Suite 202, Somerville, NJ 08876. Please do not make checks out to the Courier News Wish Book program this year. Please indicate with a note whether you want to be acknowledged in a wrap-up story about the program, or whether you wish to remain anonymous.

Donations will be gratefully accepted through the end of December.

For any questions, contact Carolyn Sampson at 908-243-6624 or csampson@mycentraljersey.com.

email: cmakin@gannettnj.com

Cheryl Makin is an award-winning features and education reporter for MyCentralJersey.com, part of the USA Today Network. Contact: Cmakin@gannettnj.com or @CherylMakinTo get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Women Aware coordinates effort to fight domestic violence

COMMENTS

More Related News

Police: Alliance man accused of punching officer in the face
Police: Alliance man accused of punching officer in the face
  • US
  • 2023-02-02 18:02:40Z

In Alliance, police arrested a 40-year-old man on charges he punched an officer in the face during an investigation early Thursday.

Cincinnati takes a swing at gun reform with a lawsuit and new ordinances
Cincinnati takes a swing at gun reform with a lawsuit and new ordinances
  • US
  • 2023-02-02 15:00:42Z

In an effort to curb gun violence, Cincinnati has two proposed ordinances for City Council to consider and filed a lawsuit against the state.

Marion Police: Domestic violence, assault cases increased in 2022
Marion Police: Domestic violence, assault cases increased in 2022
  • US
  • 2023-02-02 10:28:14Z

Chief Jay McDonald said fatal drug overdoses continue to be a major issue for Marion County.

Petito family urges Utah lawmakers to pass domestic violence
Petito family urges Utah lawmakers to pass domestic violence 'lethality assessment' bill
  • US
  • 2023-01-31 11:49:27Z

The parents of Gabby Petito appeared before the Utah Senate this morning, Jan. 30, to voice their support of a bill that would require a "lethality...

NJ priest serving life sentence for rape has died. But trauma continues for his victims
NJ priest serving life sentence for rape has died. But trauma continues for his victims
  • US
  • 2023-01-31 10:16:26Z

Former Metuchen Diocese priest Romano Ferraro died last week in Massachusetts, where he had been convicted of sexually assaulting a boy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US