SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ – According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (nadvc.org), a woman is assaulted or beaten every 9 seconds in the United States and, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, equating to more than 10 million women and men each year.
“At any given moment, 42,000 individuals are suffering from domestic violence and that’s just in Somerset County,” said Veronica Finlay, development director for the Resource Center of Somerset. “It is something that can happen to anyone regardless of race, religion or social-economic background. Anyone can be effected and it’s in every community in the county.”
October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month since 1989, however, the non-profit Resource Center of Somerset has been providing free and confidential help and hope for people affected by domestic abuse for 36 years.
Funded by a small group of volunteers in 1979, the Resource Center of Somerset provides services that are based on the principles of respect for others and empowerment of those who, due to abuse, have lost their voices. The organization’s mission is to end domestic abuse and empower victims by providing protection, education and resources while offering confidentiality and privacy, integrity and consistency as well as respect for individuals’ diversity and beliefs.
As a round-the-clock program, the Resource Center is available to help by providing a safe, supportive and empowering environment that promotes healing and assists individuals as they engage in their journey from victims to survivors. Services include emergency shelter, legal advocacy, outreach counseling, community education, transitional housing and volunteer Domestic Violence Response Teams (DVRT) who work with local police departments.
The center’s DVRT services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. DVRTs work with police departments throughout the county; when the police respond to a domestic violence call, the officer secures the safety of the victim and other family members and offers the assistance of the DVRT, including but not limited to one-on-one crisis intervention, referral services, aid in securing emergency shelter, safety planning strategies, and victims rights advocacy.
““We provide, first and foremost, protection for those who need it most,” said Finlay. “Our Domestic Violence Response Teams work directly with the police departments throughout the county to help guide victims to take the next steps and inform them of the services we provide.”
Victims and/or concerned friends and family members can reach out to Somerset’s DVRT directly anytime, day or night. Support is free and completely confidential. “Our hotline is the best way to reach out get help,” said Finlay. “Family members who have questions can also reach out as well and find out what they can do to help someone.”
Resource Center of Somerset services are free of charge, confidential, and provided in English and Spanish. Additionally, services are available to survivors of domestic abuse, women, men and children. “What many do not realize is that men are victims of domestic violence as well,” said Finlay.
For more information on the Resource Center of Somerset, visit http://www.resourcecenterofsomerset.org. For 24-hour emergency assistance and support, call the Domestic Violence Response Team at 866-685-1122/908-685-1122. All services are free and confidential.
“The sooner assistance is offered to the victim, the more empowered [he or she] will be in dealing with the domestic violence in [their] life,” according to the center’s website. “The first hour immediately following the crisis is the most important.”