Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will join communities across the nation in observing National Domestic Violence Month.
The month is a special time designated by President Barack Obama to remember victims of domestic violence, their families and those who serve and support them.
“We all suffer when victims of domestic violence don’t have the protection they need,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino. “Any time a crime of this nature is not reported, a victim is intimidated or a restraining order is not respected, we are all less secure. It is a priority of this office to make sure abusers are held accountable for their criminal conduct.’’
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, through its Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy, has planned several events to recognize the plight and triumphs of domestic violence victims during this national commemoration, said Pamela McCauley, coordinator of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Unit.
A public exhibit entitled “An Empty Place at the Table” is on display at the First Baptist Church of South Orange. The display recognizes the individuality of each victim, establishes a way to mourn the loss of their lives, and raises awareness about domestic violence and the impact of this crime on the community, said McCauley.
The second exhibit entitled “Silent Witness Initiative” will be on display in the Essex County Hall of Records Rotunda beginning October 16, 2010. The goal of the initiative is to promote peace, healing and responsibility in intimate relationships, according to McCauley.
The exhibit consists of four life-sized red wooden figures, each representing a victim who died violently at the hands of a husband, wife, ex-spouse, partner, or acquaintance. One figure among the group will represent those uncounted victims whose murders went unsolved or were erroneously ruled accidental, said McCauley.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will also host and facilitate a ten-week, 40-hour domestic violence volunteer seminar for the ecumenical community. The seminar, called “Sanctuary” is part of the Office’s outreach programming and is designed to provide crisis intervention services to domestic violence-related assaults, sexual assaults, child abuse, and homicide victims and survivors who are members of local churches, mosques, and synagogues in Essex County.
Upon successful completion of the program, each congregation will have a group of volunteers trained to operate as a crisis intervention team with its members providing immediate and spiritually sensitive outreach to its parishioners within 24 to 48 hours.
For further information, please contact Pamela McCauley at 973-621-4687 or 973-621-4707 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Information is also available on the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office website at www.njecpo.org.