Source: Central Jersey.com Windsor Heights Herald
To raise awareness of the social ill, East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov declared at a township council meeting, “Every year, we focus on the issue of domestic violence and to make people aware of a serious problem in our community,” Mironov said. “I think the message we all have to drive home is that domestic violence is a very real thing.
“It is important that we take reports of domestic violence seriously and provide a service (to help victims), not to create further humiliation. That needs to be the message we need to drive,” the mayor said. “We need to provide support.”
Pointing to Patricia Hart, the executive director of Womanspace Inc., who was in the audience, Mironov noted there was someone in the room “who has seen more of this in her career than you realize. Pat Hart, we give you our thanks, our hearts and our encouragement.”
Womanspace, incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1977, helps victims of domestic violence. It grew out of the Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women, and has helped more than 67,000 women, 13,000 children and 4,600 men who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Hart said East Windsor was the first town to form a Domestic Violence Response Team to help and support victims of domestic violence in 1998. “People said no one would volunteer. We had 42 people sign up for training, and we still have some of the original volunteers!”
There are hundreds of victims of domestic violence every year and it is not possible for Womanspace to respond to all calls, which is why the Domestic Violence Response Team is so important, Hart said. Team responds to all calls, days, nights and weekends at the number below.
There is an incredible partnership between Womanspace, East Windsor and the volunteers, she added. Police Chief James Geary said Womanspace is on the front line of shedding light on domestic violence.
Geary said the first person a victim of domestic violence will see after making a 911 emergency call is an intimidating sight, a police officer. But East Windsor police officers are taught to be caring.
“Someday, I hope we never have to talk about domestic violence again, but until then we need to be sure the victims get the care they need,” Geary added.
Click here for the WomanSpace.org website. Their 24/7 helpline number is (609) 394 – 9000.