Community News – Spotlight
This section shines a light on survivors, partners and programs actively working to end domestic violence in New Jersey.
Community News Feature
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2015
New Jersey Expands Access to Restraining Orders
for Survivors of Sexual Assault
Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) applauds the passing of the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 (A4078/S2686), which will expand the availability of restraining orders to a greater number of sexual assault survivors.
Current New Jersey law prohibits approximately 80% of sexual assault survivors from applying for the protections afforded by restraining orders. “This legislation addresses that gap, and is a compliment to New Jersey’s portfolio of strong, survivor-centered laws and policies,” said Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director of NJCASA.
“The creation and passing of this legislation is a representation of Trenton at its best. This bill advanced thanks to the tenacious leadership of Assemblywoman Vainierie Huttle, and Senators Beck and Pou, who worked with us to craft this legislation with the invaluable input of the Attorney General’s Office, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the expertise of sexual violence advocates from across the State. Today, Governor Christie made a bold statement by signing this legislation into law. It’s a tremendous day for survivors and advocates,” said Teffenhart.
Statistics indicate that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime, with 75-80% of those survivors knowing their perpetrators. As the national discourse around the impact and prevalence of sexual violence increases, so has the understanding of the needs of sexual assault survivors and the complex ways in which lives are impacted by this trauma.
With the passing of this legislation, New Jersey now joins over two dozen other states that offer similar protections for survivors. The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 includes a six-month enactment clause, meaning expanded access to restraining orders will be available in May 2016.
ABOUT NJCASA: NJCASA (www.njcasa.org) is the statewide advocacy and capacity building organization that represents the twenty-one county-based rape crisis centers, and the Rutgers University Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance. NJCASA elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors and service providers by advocating for survivor-centered legislation, training allied professionals, and supporting statewide prevention strategies that work to address and defy the socio-cultural norms that permit and promote rape culture.
For additional information, contact Executive Director Patricia Teffenhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutgers University School of Social Work
Rutgers University has long been an active partner in the movement to prevent dating violence in NJ. The university has a one-of-its kind Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). Created in the Spring of 2007, VAWC exemplifies the land grant mission of Rutgers by engaging community partners from the academic, corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors to collaborate on different projects. The three components of the center’s work include research, MSW Certificate Program, and community engagement.
NJCEDV, through the NJ Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board (www.nj.gov/dcf/providers/boards/dvfnfrb/) collaborated with VAWC and the Rutgers University School of Social Work (vawc.rutgers.edu) to compile the dating violence materials you’ll find by clicking the link below to our dating violence center.
They have been distributed to schools as a way of raising awareness and the mission is to distribute them to as many schools as possible. Toward that goal, please download and share them with the youth in your life.
We can prevent dating violence together.Click to Learn & Get the Facts
NJ Health Cares About Domestic Violence Collaborative (October 2015)
Kimberly Claborn Story (Presented by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in their Survivor Series)
My mother was in an abusive relationship with my father since before I was born. They met when she was 18, and even then he had a tight hold on her. When I was a child, my grandparents gained custody of me because of my father’s abusive and controlling behavior. A few years later, my mother gave birth to twin girls, and my father’s desire for control intensified. He worked to isolate my mother and my younger sisters from the rest of my mother’s family. He controlled where they went and who they could see, as well as all of their finances. After he lost his job, the financial abuse got worse. He took my mother’s paychecks so that she had no money for herself, my sisters or even basic necessities.
Growing up, I never knew what a holiday was like with my mom and sisters. My father ultimately got the final say in where they spent holidays and who could be there. My mother would often work on holidays to earn overtime pay, which my father would then take from her. This went on for years, and in my early 20s I decided that I had to help my mother and sisters get away from my father.
I started researching resources for women living with domestic violence. I came across the National Domestic Violence Hotline late one night and saw they were a 24-hour hotline. I gave them a call, and that was where I found my saving grace. I didn’t know who else to turn to, but knowing I could call experts who could help me handle my situation, understand my frustrations and let me vent meant so much to me. I would even say the advocate, who I talked to on a nightly basis, became one of my best friends. She listened to me for hours and truly became a friend, someone I could trust.
After a long struggle, and several calls to The Hotline, my mother and sisters are finally free. To be able to call my mother whenever I want, see her whenever I want and have her and my sisters spend holidays with me is an indescribable feeling!
I now donate to The Hotline’s Giving Campaign every December. I feel it’s my duty and my way of saying thank you for what this organization has done for me and so many others who reach out to them for help. The Hotline truly helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel, even when you feel you are crumbling. I can’t explain the love I have for this organization!
Because of my family’s experiences, I have become incredibly passionate about raising awareness about domestic violence and organizations like The Hotline. It’s so important to understand this issue and what so many people are going through. I hope that with my story, I can reach victims and their friends and families worldwide and let them know that it is NEVER too late to escape a life of abuse and control.
Do you have a program, partner, bystander or survivor story to share?
Let us know and we can feature them here! Acceptable formats include 500-800 word text narrative, digital video or photo story.
Our goal is to illustrate the scope of the work being done to end domestic violence in New Jersey. We’ll share the stories on our website, our monthly e-newsletter, and on social media.