TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Fred H. Madden to establish a State domestic violence public awareness campaign was signed into law today by Governor Richard J. Codey.
“Through education and awareness we can combat the specter of domestic violence in New Jersey and help women reduce its harmful aspect,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “We will empower women by teaching them the warning signs of being in a violent relationship and how to remove themselves from danger before they become victims of domestic violence. For those who are already victims, we will show them how to seek counseling and find a safe, healthy place to live so that they can begin the healing process.”
The Senators measure, S-2380, establishes a domestic violence public awareness campaign. The bill directs the Director of the Department of Community Affairs ‘ Division on Women to consult with the Advisory Council on Domestic Violence and the Commissioners of Human Services and Health and Senior Services to organize the program.
The campaign will address the causes and nature of domestic violence victims and abusers, as well as risk factors and various preventative measures. The program will also include information on the availability of local counseling, shelter, legal advocacy and legal assistance services. The information will have to be available in both English and Spanish on the Division on Women website.
The Director of the Division on Women will be required to coordinate the program with other domestic violence activities done by other State agencies, prepare and distribute written information, organize all grant monies. The director will also be responsible for reporting to the Governor and the Legislature on the program’s activities and accomplishments no later than 18 months after the bills effective date.
The State’s last comprehensive public relations campaign to help combat domestic violence, “Break the Cycle, End the Silence,” took place in the 1980’s.
“Information and empowerment are the only ways to combat the cycle of domestic violence,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This measure would work to educate women about the initial signs of domestic abuse, and the options available to victims to help them escape abusive relationships.”
This measure was unanimously approved by the Senate on June 20.