October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Morris County

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Domestic violence, including its causes, ramifications, and efforts to help victims, is the focus of attention this month in Morris County, where the Freeholder Board has proclaimed October, 2019 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Morris County.

The freeholders on Monday (Oct. 7) held a brief ceremony at their morning meeting in Morristown.

They presented the proclamation to JBWS (Jersey Battered Women's Service) President and CEO Diane Williams and JBWS Vice President Diana Kurlander, who oversees the JBWS sponsored Family Justice Center, which is located in the county government building in Morristown.

"Domestic violence crosses economic, racial, gender, educational, religious and societal barriers. It is a crime of violence that violates an individual's privacy, dignity, security and humanity, and destroys self-esteem,'' said Deputy Freeholder Director Heather Darling.

"We are not immune to domestic violence in Morris County, where 2,000 offenses are known to occur each year. But we know that represents just a fraction of the real situation since most cases are not reported. Thankfully, we have a great team in place to handle those cases that we do know about, starting with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff’s Office,'' Darling said.

Attending the event on Monday were Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp, Executive Director of Legal Services of Northwest Jersey Michael Wojciz, plus staff from these agencies who work on the front line of domestic violence issues.

“Domestic violence continues to plague our communities. To effectively serve survivors of domestic violence we continue to vigilantly prosecute defendants charged with such offenses,'' said Prosecutor Knapp, who was joined by several members of his staff, including Supervising Assistant Prosecutor of the Domestic Violence Unit Tia Manochio and Victim Witness Advocate Michelle Leone.

JBWS annually answers 5,500 helpline calls, provides 20,000 nights of emergency shelter and transitional housing, and accompanies 1,100 victims in court.

The Morris Family Justice Center also annually serves more than 400 adults and 40 children through its walk-in center for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating abuse, and human trafficking.

See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79yEwfVLHmo

Proclamation issued by the Board of Freeholders:

Whereas, domestic violence is not confined to any group or groups of people, but crosses all economic, racial, gender, educational, religious and societal barriers; and

Whereas, the crime of domestic violence violates an individual's privacy, dignity, security and humanity due to the systematic use of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, and economic control and/or abuse, and destroys a victim’s self-esteem; and

Whereas, the Department of Justice estimates that an estimated 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are the victims of physical violence by a partner each year, and some 16 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year; and

Whereas, women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving an abusive relationship than at any other time in that relationship, and almost 5 percent of male homicide victims are killed each year by an intimate partner; and

Whereas, in Morris County, there are approximately 2,000 domestic violence offenses each year, representing but a fraction of the domestic violence in the community since most cases are never reported; and

Whereas, each year, JBWS offers Safety, Support and Solutions for Abuse and answers 5,500 helpline calls; provides 20,000 nights of emergency shelter and transitional housing for 160 victims and their children; accompanies 1,100 victims in court; counsels hundreds of men, women and children; and provides education to 20,000 students and community members; and

Whereas, each year, the onsite partners of the Morris Family Justice Center serve more than 400 adults and 40 children through its comprehensive walk-in center for the survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating abuse, and human trafficking.

Now Therefore, I, Douglas R. Cabana, Director of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, proclaim October 2019 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Morris County to raise awareness of the crime of domestic violence and to urge all Morris County residents to support those working diligently to end violence in our lives.

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