Help available to victims of domestic violence, abuse

Crimes of violence against women and children are too often hidden. Only about 25 percent of violent physical assaults and 20 percent of rapes perpetrated against women by intimate partners are reported to police, causing untold physical and mental injuries to the weakest members of our society. October — which has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month every year by Congress since 1989 — is an important time for community members to reflect upon these shocking injustices. Here are just a few of the disturbing facts provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

• One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime

• One in six women will experience an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime

• The direct cost of medical and mental health services for those victimized by intimate partner violence is $4.1 billion a year

• Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

Fortunately, there is help available for Monmouth County victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at 180 Turning Lives Around Inc., a nonprofit organization that has been helping survivors for 32 years. 180 offers domestic violence and rape hotlines, emergency housing for women and children, and trained advocates who accompany survivors at police stations, hospitals and family court, to name only some of the array of the services and programs driven by 180’s mission to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

This month, 180 especially wants to alert the public to the existence of its confidential, informative and supportive counseling groups led by trained professionals. Victims can start the process of healing in a safe and nurturing environment by calling 180’s 24- hour hotlines at:

• 732-264-4111 (or toll-free 888-843-9262) for immediate assistance or to ask about domestic violence survivor counseling;

• 732-264-7273 (toll-free 888- 264-7273) for immediate assistance or information about sexual assault survivor counseling.

At 180, our motto is “Always Believing Change Is Possible.” We encourage all victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse, past or present, to call the above hotlines to make change possible in their lives.
Anna Diaz-White
Executive director
180 Turning Lives Around