Domestic Violence Awareness
Domestic violence added up to more than 3,000 incidents in Gloucester County in 2008, the last year for which statistics have been reported, and this abusive, sometimes fatal, behavior is highlighted this month nationally and with local programs to assist victims.
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, observed nationwide during October since 1987, Gloucester County's local police departments and the Gloucester County Prosecutors Office will collect used cell phones, which are exchanged for payments from a Florida recycling firm. Proceeds will be donated to Mother/Child Residential Services, a Woodbury shelter for domestic violence victims. From Oct. 24 to Oct. 31, phone collection boxes will be placed in police stations and the atrium of the Gloucester County Justice Center, Hunter Street, Woodbury.
Domestic violence impacts all members of the family, especially in these difficult economic times, said county Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton. "This program is an excellent way to support the victims, simply by getting rid of old cell phones in your home."
The GCPO also has assistant prosecutors assigned specifically to domestic violence cases in Family Court and a victim/witness staff member who regularly helps DV victims understand the court process and makes referrals to agencies for counseling and shelter.
For those in imminent danger, Verizon Wireless offers a HopeLine program that provides cell phones for 9-1-1- calls and contacts with DV agencies, employers, landlords, doctors or a childs school. Phones are shipped with 3,000 prepaid minutes. In addition, ADT Security Services donates alarm systems and alarm pendants for persons at risk for a domestic violence attack. The GCPO victim/witness unit can help victims who may need these services.
New Jersey has also made it possible for domestic violence victims to cancel a residential lease in order to escape abuse without damaging their credit and rental history. The New Jersey Safe Housing Act, sponsored state Sen. Fred H. Madden Jr. and former Sen. Dana L. Redd, was approved in late 2008.
Principal sources for advice to domestic violence victims: the Center for Family Services- specifically, Services Empowering the Rights of Victims (SERV). Hotline: (856) 881-3335. Toll-free: 1-866-295-7378. Also, the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline. Toll-free: 1-800-572-7233.