Newark forum focuses on domestic violence

Cyril Josh Barker | 6/27/2019, 11:41 a.m.
Domestic violence in New Jersey is on the rise.

Domestic violence in New Jersey is on the rise. According to the latest data from the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Department of Law and Public Safety, 63,420 domestic violence offenses were reported by the police. Nearly 75 percent of all domestic violence victims in New Jersey are women.

This week,the Newark AntiViolence Coalition and Newark Coalition Accountable Policing co-hosted a forum that examined domestic violence along with the Newark police reform effort. The forum took place at the Shani Baraka Women’s Center.

Panelists include Asia D. Smith of the SBWC, Emily Perez of the Ironbound Communities Corporation, the Rev. Jerri-Lee Mitchell of Unity Fellowship Church and Capt.Brian O’Hara of the Newark Police Reform Team. NAVC’s chairperson Keesha Eure served as moderator.

“There are women out there right now living in a constant state of anxiety and fear because they’ve been the victims of sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence or other abuse,” said State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “Through our extensive effort to fight violence against women and support survivors, we have seen that coordinated responses are essential to help survivors through crisis, and empower them to live safe and healthy lives.”

New Jersey received approximately $4.25 million in Violence Against Women Act funding in Fiscal Year 2017, the bulk of it ($3.78 million) administered through the Department of Law and Public Safety, and another $473,407 allocated to the Department of Children and Families to support its Sexual Assault Services Program.

Jersey Battered Women’s Services is a nonprofit domestic violence agency in Morris County helping women who have been victims. The organization’s president and CEO Diane Williams said that thousands of women call for help.

“JBWS answers 6,000 help line calls each year; shelters up to 12 families at a time in the safe house; delivers safety planning, counseling, case management and children’s services; and provides a full-service transitional living program with 11 fully furnished apartments,” she said.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy and Research, domestic violence impacts Black women at disproportionate numbers. Statistics indicate that 40 percent of Black women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.