Media Advocacy & Guide

Visit the Learn More section of our website for information about domestic violence, its impact and additional statistics around firearms, children who witness, and much more.

Additionally, visit the extensive guides on covering domestic violence stories on our sister coalition wesbsites: Jane Doe, Inc. in Massachusetts and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

If you need further information or to arrange an interview, please call Nicole Morella, Director of Communications at 609-584-8107 Ext. 404 or use the contact form below.

Media Contact

Email Cristina Williams:

What's in a name?

Our advocacy starts by urging media to identify and name all cases that involve domestic violence clearly as domestic violence. This is a shared responsibility that includes our judicial system, the media and our communities. Domestic violence is not an isolated incident; murder is the final act of power and control over the victim.

The media has a critical role.

The media has a vast capacity to educate New Jerseyans on the dangers of domestic violence while accurately reporting on these crimes. In this way, the media plays a critical role in breaking the silence around social issues such as domestic violence — and that can help keep victims safe. When the coverage of homicides accurately reflects the experience of victims and the dynamics of domestic violence, the media helps people learn the steps they or someone they know can take to stop domestic violence on a personal, organizational, policy and community level.

Perpetuating the myths

Conversely, without understanding homicides in the context of domestic violence, media reports can perpetuate the myths about domestic violence, such as it is caused by mental illness or was the result of a “troubled relationship” or an argument. Reporting these crimes through the lens of domestic violence, rather than just reporting it as a tragedy, enables the community to understand it as a public health and public safety concern.

NJ Facts & Stats

NJCEDV 2014 Domestic Violence Statistical Summary

Coming soon…

NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act

The Prevention of Domestic N.J.S.A.2C:25-17 et seq. 

History & Protections

In 1991, the Legislature found and declared that domestic violence is a serious crime against society. It found that thousands of persons in this State were regularly beaten, tortured and in some cases killed by their spouses or cohabitants. That a significant number of women were assaulted while pregnant. That victims of domestic violence came from all social and economic backgrounds. That there is a positive correlation between spousal abuse and child abuse and that children, even if they are not themselves physically assaulted, suffer deep and lasting emotional effects from exposure to domestic violence. The Legislature further found that some of its most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled, are victims of domestic violence as well.

The Legislature also found that although many of the existing criminal statues were applicable to acts of domestic violence, societal attitudes concerning domestic violence have affected the response of the law enforcement and judicial systems resulting that these acts received different treatment from similar crimes when they occur in a domestic violence. (click to learn more)

Domestic Violence Tactics, Motives & Homicides

Motives

Plainly stated, the motive of domestic violence is power and control over the victim. The strategies to maintain that power and control can begin with verbal and emotional abuse (which can often be more devastating than actual physical injuries), escalate to physical violence, and in its extreme form end in murder.

Perhaps there is no “apparent” motive that those quoted in articles see or think are serious enough to end in homicide. While we do not know the details of what transpires in specific homes, we do know that domestic violence largely happens behind closed doors and what the public – even family members – observe is not always reflective of what is happening at home. Sometimes, as people who know the victim or abuser, there is a disbelief that someone so close is capable of such a horrific act.

Murder-Suicides

In many murder-suicides, domestic violence is the precipitating factor. Many articles; however, do not mention even the possibility of domestic violence. Instead they focus on the positive attributes of abusers and that they could never do “this.” In most of the recent murder-suicides bystanders have repeated common statements: “He/She couldn’t have done this. This doesn’t happen here. There was no motive.”

Strangulation

Strangulation is Lethal

• Strangulation is the most lethal of abuse tactics and can result in death days, weeks or even months after the initial assault. It is also the greatest predictor of homicide for victims of domestic violence.

• At the center of domestic violence is abusers’ need to control their partners. Strangulation is often a tactic that they use to exert this control – it is a highly intimate and personal type of violence with serious health impacts that can lead to death. The motive here is usually not to kill their victim, but to demonstrate their power and control over their victim, to silence them and illustrate that their lives are in their hands.

• Strategies such as strangulation are an attempt to maintain power and control that can begin with verbal and emotional abuse, which can often be more devastating than actual physical injuries, escalate to physical violence and in its extreme form end in murder.

Strangulation Statistics

• 43% of domestic homicide victims had been strangled by their partner within the last 12 months prior to their death.

• Studies show 23-68% of victims of domestic violence report being strangled by their partner.

• A victim who is strangled by their partner is 7 times more likely to be killed by that partner later on when compared to survivors who reported no history of strangulation.

• For all of these reasons, it is vital for victims and those who suspect strangulation, to share information and resources. Doing so could prompt victims to seek medical attention and to get help with safety planning in response to escalating violence.

Domestic Violence in Specific Populations

Abuse in Later Life

Abuse in Later Life

• Abuse in later life includes physical, sexual, psychological abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and/or stalking.

• Abuse in later life often follows similar patterns and dynamics of power and control as experienced in domestic violence among younger intimate partners.

• In most cases, the perpetrator is a partner, family member, caregiver or another person in a trusting relationship to the victim.

Dynamics Unique to Older Victims

• As adults age, they may become more physically and mentally dependent on others for care and support- making them more vulnerable to perpetrators’ manipulation and abuse.

• Older adults tend to be more isolated from their community, partly due to family and friends moving or passing away as well as in part due to the older adult themselves becoming less mobile or able to navigate their community independently- making it difficult to obtain supportive and safe services.

• Cultural Values also play into the adult’s perception of violence and abuse in the relationship. For some family violence is a taboo topic, or privacy and loyalty to the family supersedes any personal interest in safety.

• Victims abused by their adult children often feel a sense of responsibility for their child’s behavior, and/or a responsibility to protect their children from the consequences of their dangerous behavior- which may lead to additional feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment.

• If reliant on the abuser for caregiving, victims may find their adaptive equipment destroyed, medical needs not met, being inappropriately administered medications, they are prevented from accessing medical care, and/or threatened to be put away into a nursing home.

Caregiver Stress vs Caregiver Violence

• It is not uncommon for individuals to find themselves in the position of having to provide care to a loved one- an aging parent, grandparent, or spouse- often without the level of training and support one might need for such responsibility.

• It is true that caregiving can be an extremely stressful experience, but most caregivers are not violent or abusive. In fact, caregiver violence will often mimic a pattern of escalating power and control, as opposed to isolated incidents of violence or abuse.

• Many communities offer caregivers respite care, support and resources to assist them in their roles, and can be very helpful to caregivers who are experiencing stress.

• A sign of caregiver violence may be an individual who refuses any type of supportive services for themselves or their loved one.

• Another indicator may be a caregiver who frequently changes the providers their loved one sees. For example, frequently changing doctors so the provider does not have the opportunity to assess the patient’s health and well-being over a period of time.

A Call for Stronger Collaborations Among Providers

• Older adults are less likely to access the services of a domestic violence or sexual assault program when compared to survivors in other age groups.

• Coordinated community Responses to domestic violence should include collaborations between domestic and sexual violence programs, adult protective services, the medical community, adult and senior service programs, and law enforcement to increase each providers’ capacity to screen and assess for abuse and neglect, to provide education to older adults, and to increase access points in the community.

What Individuals Can Do

• If you are concerned for the safety of someone else talk to them privately, let them know you are concerned for their safety, and that there are services you can help connect them to.

• You may call the NJ Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-572-SAFE (7233), or go to njcedv.org to learn about local domestic violence programs.

• You may also go to the State Department of Human Services website to find the number for their local Adult Protective Services in the event they believe a vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected.

Children Are Affected

Children are often present during domestic violence assaults. (1) Children can be injured in domestic violence incidents, especially those too young to protect themselves or get help. What’s more, we know that children exposed to domestic violence are at an increased risk for poor long-term health outcomes including chronic diseases, substance abuse, dropping out of school, employment challenges, and even early death. (2)

Sadly, children were involved or present during 29 percent of all domestic violence offenses occurring in New Jersey in 2012. Specifically, 4 percent (2,298) were involved and 25 percent (16,534) were present. (3) A review of Child Protective Services cases in two states identified domestic violence in up to 43 percent of cases resulting in the critical injury or death of a child. (4)

There is Help for Children
The Domestic Violence Liaison (DVL) Project is a collaboration between the Department of Children and Families, the Coalition, and the lead domestic violence agencies in the 21 counties. This program places an experienced employee of a domestic violence agency (the DVL) within the local Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) offices to provide support, safety planning and advocacy for victims. In addition, the DVL provides consultative support to the DCP&P workers as they intervene and investigate child protection cases where domestic violence exists or is suspected.

Peace a Learned Solution (PALS), is a trauma informed program for child witnesses of domestic violence that isavailable in 11 NJ counties. This treatment program model uses creative arts therapies for children (primarily aged three to twelve), who have been exposed to domestic violence.

1 Edleson, J. (1999). Children’s witnessing of adult domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14(1), 839–870.
2 2012 NJ Uniform Crime Report
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences)
4 Spears, L. (2000). Building bridges between domestic violence organizations and child protective services [On-line]. Available:http://www.vawnet.org/domestic-violence/print-document.php?doc_id=855&find_type=web_desc_NRCDV

Boiler Plates & Help Information

NJCEDV Boiler Plate

About the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV):

Known as the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women (NJCBW) for nearly 40 years, NJCEDV provides leadership, support and resources on the prevention of domestic violence for all victims in New Jersey through advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and community awareness.

Help is Available

Help is Available:

To learn if a relationship is abusive or if abuse is suspected, it is important to take it seriously, get information and share resources. Help is available in every county and for every victim through a network of programs dedicated to serving domestic violence victims and their families. The State Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-572-SAFE (7233). A list of programs and services is available at NJCEDV.org.

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