We are Helping
The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV) is a statewide coalition of 30 domestic violence programs and concerned individuals whose purpose and mission is to end domestic violence in New Jersey. NJCEDV performs its work through advocacy for survivors of domestic violence; collaboration with state agencies and its member programs; education and training; and technical assistance for its members and the community. Get help here.
We are Unified
With the support and perseverance of its 30 member programs, the Coalition stands united in its efforts to provide safety and support to victims and survivors of domestic violence, to hold offenders accountable, and to engage community-based systems to enhance their response to domestic violence and to develop and implement programs that promote the prevention of domestic violence.
We are Inclusive
Domestic violence knows no boundaries regardless of race, class, education level, socio economic status, gender, sexual orientation, age, nation of origin, etc. Through its Inclusion and Access Initiative, NJCEDV strives to work with member organizations and community partners to ensure that programs and services are inclusive and accessible to individuals from all backgrounds and communities.
Our Featured Projects
NJ Talks About Domestic Violence
|Thursday, November 9, 2017|
It does not come as a surprise to learn that Devon Patrick Kelley– the perpetrator of the horrific church shooting massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas– had a significant history of domestic violence, including a strangulation assault on his ex-wife and aggravated assault on his stepson. We now know that strangulation assault is a strong predictor of future homicide – for both the intimate partner and the public at large. Please read Casey Gwinn’s blog below. And please join us in urging Governor Christie to sign into law recently passed legislation that upgrades domestic violence strangulation assault to a felony offense in New Jersey.
By Casey Gwinn, Esq.
President, Alliance for HOPE International
Devon Patrick Kelley was discharged from the Air Force in 2014 for “bad conduct” after being prosecuted for domestic violence and child abuse. But Kelley was not the only one guilty of bad conduct. The Air Force gave him a break, letting him avoid a more serious charge that could have put him in prison for much longer and would have given him a dishonorable discharge. He only spent a year in jail for a rage-filled assault on his step-son and wife. And it was not the first time he had assaulted or threatened a woman, child, or animal. In fact, he even threatened to kill his military superiors and ended up escaping from a mental health facility. Under the federal felony statute in the Violence Against Women Act, he could have gotten ten years in prison for a first offense. But not in the Air Force. A year in jail – typical for a misdemeanor offense in many states – was his only sentence. This caused him only to lose one rank and face a bad conduct discharge. After his conviction, the Air Force violated federal law by not notifying the FBI of his conviction – giving him another break. There may be many more cases where the Air Force failed to comply with federal law, letting would-be killers buy assault rifles and handguns. A federal investigation will now have to determine the extent of the Air Force’s actions in other such cases as well. Bad conduct by many who had a chance to do something to stop him.
But there are two other “bad conduct” stories that need to be written with questions that need to be asked.
What and who produced Devon Patrick Kelley? What happened to him in childhood? What did not happen to address the early warning signs in his life as a child, teenager, and young adult? Who let his rage grow without effective intervention? In America, we raise our criminals, including our mass shooters, at home. Most likely Kelley’s rage began in his home growing up or soon thereafter. Not all mass shooters grow up in abusive homes but the question should be getting asked. Children of trauma grow up to repeat the generational cycle of violence and the “splash zone” of their rage produces mass murder. Most mass shooters, radicalized American terrorists, and cop killers are childhood trauma survivors where there has been no mitigation or intervention. What happened in the family? What happened in his earliest relationships? Why does the military not screen for the rage that comes from childhood trauma? Why was there not more aggressive intervention when he was violent with woman after woman? He was investigated for rape (2013) and domestic violence (2014) in New Braunfels and law enforcement and prosecutors did nothing. In the domestic violence case, deputies told the dispatcher after responding to one of the domestic violence calls that it was “misunderstanding and teenage drama.” Bad conduct by many who had a chance to do something to stop him.
What was the most important warning sign in Kelley’s conduct that was ignored by everyone? The second storyline, completely missed, is this: Kelley was a strangler. Most mass shooters, radicalized American terrorists, and cop killers are not only childhood trauma survivors – they are also domestic violence offenders and stranglers. Devon Patrick Kelley was a strangler. In the Air Force court martial documents, they only refer to it as “choking.” He “choked” his wife. Choking is when food gets caught in your throat. When Kelley placed his hands around his wife’s neck, he was committing the felony crime of strangulation. Strangulation is external pressure to the neck that blocks air or blood flow even for seconds. When Kelley put his hands around a woman’s neck, he was telling people he was a killer and no one paid attention. Once a woman is strangled, she is 750% more likely to later be killed by that man. No one treated his strangulation as seriously as it deserved to be treated. It is likely he was never offered even offered ways to address his trauma issues before the Air Force taught him to use assault weapons and apply pressure to the neck of his opponents in hand to hand combat. Bad conduct by many who had a chance to do something to stop him.
Alliance for HOPE International and others have documented that strangulation in an intimate relationship proceeds most mass shootings and cop killings in this country. Strangled women are the “canary in the coal mine” of mass shooters. Next time you hear “he choked me”, pay attention to her abusive partner. You are in the presence of a would-be killer. The rage of a man that would strangle a woman is the same rage of a man that would open fire on 50 people gathered to worship God on a Sunday morning in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
As I write today, we are training 90 FBI agents, federal and tribal prosecutors, and tribal law enforcement in Columbia, South Carolina at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center. Our program is called the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention. Our focus is on the aggressive handling of near-fatal and non-fatal strangulation cases in domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault cases. Men who strangle women are the most dangerous men on the planet. Our failure to hold stranglers accountable for their actions is often life-ending bad conduct by those of us who have an
opportunity to stop them.
Ways to get involved:
- Sign up to Stay in the Know about our legislative efforts and other initiatives.
- Sign up to volunteer to contact your local representatives or contact them on your own.
- Follow us on social media (Facebook / Twitter) and share our posts.
- Donate to support the work it takes to advocate for funding and victims’ rights.
Domestic Violence Response Teams
Teams are composed of trained citizens who respond to the police departments on an “on-call” basis. All volunteers go through a rigorous screening process followed by an intensive 40-hours of training. Upon successful completion of the training, volunteers are able to speak to victims in a confidential nature. Additionally, individual supervision is provided to volunteers within 24-hours of their call-out.
Click below for more information including county contact details.
Friday, December 1, 2017
You’ve seen the headlines.You’ve heard the reports on television. Domestic Violence is national news — but not new.
For 37 years, the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence’s (NJCEDV) mission has been to make New Jersey a safe place to live. NJCEDV works tirelessly to advocate throughout the state for services that offer safety and healing, improve the laws protecting victims/survivors and increase awareness of the issue of domestic violence. Please support this essential work by donating today.
Here are the words of survivors who reached out to the Coalition for help this past year:
“I didn’t know where to start when I rst called NJCEDV’s Legal Helpline. I was afraid to be at home and felt stuck because my husband told me he’d take the children or hurt me if I left. I received legal guidance from trained advocates who listened to my case and helped me ll out my restraining order. I know that I couldn’t have gone through this alone.” Maria
“I had always dreamed of becoming a nurse. When I left my abusive partner, my part-time job didn’t pay enough to support my two children. Thanks to the Coalition’s client fund, I was able to pay for my application to nursing school and eventually graduated as a nurse.” Katerina
“When I arrived at court for a restraining order hearing, the sign language interpreter was not there. The volunteer from the Coalition’s Deaf Advocacy Project knew to check to see if roll-call had been read. It had, and of course I hadn’t heard it. If my advocate had not been with me, I would have lost my chance.” Hilde
Words of thanks from a Coalition member program:
“I am thankful to the Coalition, our legislators, and Governor for passing the recent strangulation legislation. This law will help to hold high risk offenders accountable and protect future victims from lethal assault.” Pat Hart, Executive Director, Womanspace
With your help this holiday season, domestic violence survivors like Maria, Katerina and Hilde will continue to live and thrive feeling safe in our community. Your contribution will enable us to strengthen resources for victims, change laws and educate the community. Please donate generously, so together, we will make New Jersey a safer place for all.
Thank you for your past support and your caring spirit. Wishing you a warm and safe holiday season. Sincerely,
Elaine K. Meyerson Interim Executive Director
P.S. Today more than ever we need your commitment. No time to write a check? Follow the link njcedv.org and follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/njcedv
The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence is a statewide coalition that provides leadership, support and resources on the prevention of domestic violence in New Jersey through advocacy, training, public awareness and research.