In recent months, several organizations in New Jersey have made a point of trying to address an ongoing public policy concern: the problem of domestic violence in the Garden State. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are simply not enough available resources to sufficiently battle the problem at this time.
Fighting Domestic Violence in New Jersey
On September 15, 2016, approximately 300 public servants, including social workers, law enforcement officers, counselors, and volunteers, attended a dual conference to address the chronic issues of domestic violence and sexual violence in New Jersey. In addition to those two paramount issues, a collateral issue – lack of funding to address the very serious problems – was also discussed at the conference. Among the notable attendees were members of the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, the Rutgers Center on Violence against Women and Children, and the NJ Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board.
Speakers at the conference highlighted some sobering statistics about domestic violence in NJ. For instance, New Jersey residents suffered 62,055 incidents of domestic violence in 2014. Moreover, there were 1,311 reported sexual assaults in NJ in 2015. To make matters worse, experts suspect that the numbers of domestic violence incidents and rapes are actually much higher because victims are often reluctant to report these crimes to the authorities, whether it is because of fear of retaliation or shame of being victimized.
The conference also explored the methods of trauma based approaches that professionals have been developing to assess domestic violence cases and to work with victims of domestic violence and rape.
Although virtually everyone in attendance at the conference acknowledged that the current system needs vast improvements, the attendees also voiced frustration with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie withholding of four million dollars in funding for anti-violence programs in counties throughout the state, including Morris County, Bergen County, Passaic County, and Essex County.
The bottom line is that the problems of domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape exist within our society. The good news is that even in the face of limited financial resources, there are still a number of public interest groups working hard to raise public awareness and to examine trends associated with the warning signs of domestic violence. To learn more about these public interest groups and associations, click on the following links:
- New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence
- Rutgers Center on Violence against Women and Children
- Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board