National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Presentation – Rights & Resources for Victims of Crime in Middlesex County – Presented in English and Spanish – April 21, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Free to attend on Zoom

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Women Aware Women Aware Receives Community Awareness Project Funding for 2021 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Webinar to provide information on Rights & Resources for Victims of Crime

Women Aware received funding from the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA) through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), within the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, to present a:

Virtual Community Education Panel

Rights & Resources for Victims of Crime in Middlesex County

English and Spanish

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Zoom Webinar (

The webinar will promote community awareness of crime victims’ rights and services during the 2021 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 18-24, 2021). Panelists include the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Central Jersey Legal Services, Monroe Township and Perth Amboy Police Departments, and Women Aware advocates. Information will be presented in both English and Spanish.

“The support from NAVAA and OVC for our 2021 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week outreach program will help Women Aware, the Prosecutor’s Office, Central Jersey Legal Service and Monroe Township and Perth Amboy Police Departments share important information about rights and resources with victims of crime,” explained Women Aware CEO Phyllis Yonta. “I encourage the Middlesex County community to help promote justice through service to crime victims by tuning into our Community Education Panel on April 21 and supporting victim assistance programs on a daily basis.”

First designated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week increases general public awareness of, and knowledge about the wide range of rights and services available to people who have been victimized by crime. The theme for 2021 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.”

Since 2004, the NCVRW Community Awareness Project has provided financial and technical assistance to more than 1000 community projects that promote victim and public awareness activities, and innovative approaches to victim outreach and public education about victims’ rights and services during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators is a non-profit organization that represents the 56 state agencies that distribute money from the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund to more than 4,000 direct victim assistance service providers. The money in the Crime Victims Fund comes from fines collected from offenders convicted of federal crimes and not from U.S. taxpayers.

Women Aware Board Member Recognized by Middlesex County Bar Association

Congratulations to Lois Kahagi

Congratulations to Women Aware Board member W. Lois Kahagi, Esq. for receiving the 2021 Pro Bono Practice Award from the Middlesex County Bar Association. The award recognizes Lois for dedicating substantial time and effort to providing legal representation, pro bono, to survivors of domestic violence through Central Jersey Legal Services. Thank you, Lois, for moving survivors beyond abuse.

Pictured during the virtual awards program are: W. Lois Kahagi, Esq. (left) and Janice Chapin, Esq. executive director, Central Jersey Legal Services.

COVID-19 Response Update

Women Aware Partners with VNA and NJ Department of Health on COVID-19 Vaccinations

Vaccination Day at Women Aware

Women Aware expanded its commitment to promote the health and safety of clients moving beyond abuse and staff by partnering with the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey and New Jersey Department of Health to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Today, Women Aware is serving as a testing/vaccination site for survivors and homeless services providers.

“From our small administrative office in Middlesex County, over 70 individuals have received COVID-19 vaccinations with 50 more scheduled for vaccination,” explained CEO Phyllis Yonta. “At Women Aware, we believe it takes a community to save lives; it made sense to step up to help our partners at the VNA and DOH get vaccines into people’s arms.”

Windows of Understanding 2021

Women Aware to be Featured in Community Conversation on Trauma & Recovery

Clinical Director Carmen Hernandez will represent Women Aware as the Metuchen Arts Council joins with the Metuchen Human Relations Commission to host the second in a series of virtual Community Conversations that will take place Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. on the topics of Public Health and Trauma & Recovery. These are among the issues highlighted in the 2021 Windows of Understanding Public Art Project.

The Windows of Understanding Project is a joint project of the New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Mason Gross School of the Arts, the Highland Park Arts Council, the Metuchen Arts Council and the Metuchen Human Relations Commission. The initiative unites local artists, organizations, and businesses to promote compassion and awareness around social justice issues impacting local communities. The belief of the Project’s creators is that through visual language, artists can communicate methods of understanding in powerful ways that cut across cultural boundaries.

For the topic of Trauma & Recovery, artists Janice Fried, Martina Hanna and Amalya Sherman (see image -“Bloom”) created art inspired by the mission of Women Aware, the state-designated lead domestic violence agency for Middlesex County, NJ, whose mission is to promote the safety and self-sufficiency of individuals and families affected by domestic violence in Middlesex County. Women Aware has been serving the community for more than 40 years. Likewise, for the issue of Public Health, artists Dominique Brancato, Luciana Mallozzi and Lauren Rabinowitz created art that illuminates the mission of the Metuchen First Aid Squad.

All Community Conversations start at 7:30 p.m. and can be accessed via Facebook live at

In addition to the Community Conversations, the Metuchen programming for the Windows of Understanding Project includes an exhibition in the Metuchen Public Library Gallery of all the art discussed in the Community Discussion. A virtual exhibit is available for viewing from the Metuchen Arts Council website at The project launched on Monday, January 18, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a way of paying homage to Dr. King’s legacy.

Programming in New Brunswick and Highland Park will include virtual poetry readings, screenings, educational workshops and panel discussions around social justice themes that will complement the visual displays in storefronts and public spaces throughout the run in New Brunswick and Highland Park through February 28, 2021.

For more information on Windows of Understanding, including a complete list of featured organizations, participating storefronts, and a full calendar of free events, please visit On Instagram at @windowsofunderstanding, #weseethroughhate.

Support for Windows of Understanding 2021 has been provided by:

Middlesex County; the New Brunswick Cultural Center; Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts; Rutgers University Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement; Highland Park Arts Commission; Metuchen Arts Council; and New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.

Women Aware Speaks Podcast

Housing Navigation Program Assists Victims of Crime

Listen to the latest Women Aware Speaks podcast, and learn from Housing Navigator Gisela Noe. Women Aware’s new Housing Navigation Program offers victims of crime safe housing options that include safe housing and rental assistance, victim-related compensation and an address confidentiality program. Click here to listen.

All Women Aware Speaks podcasts can be heard on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic and Spotify. Other topics include self care, legal advocacy and safety planning for survivors.

COVID-19 Vaccination Day at Women Aware

Vaccination Day at Women Aware

February 3, 2021 — Thank you, Visiting Nurse Association, Department of Health, and the New Jersey Division on Women for helping Women Aware promote the health and safety of our staff and clients moving beyond abuse.

Women Aware is Partner Organization for Windows of Understanding 2021

Women Aware is proud to announce that we are a partner organization for Windows of Understanding, a public art project rooted in social justice, opening to the public on Monday, January 18.

Windows of Understanding returns January 18-February 28. Featured in storefronts in New Brunswick and Highland Park, New Jersey, the project has expanded to Metuchen with art on display at the Metuchen Public Library. Artists paired with non-profit organizations interpret the question “How do we see through hate?” and transform local businesses into windows of understanding.

Learn More at #weseethroughhate

Welcome New Year!

New Year Greetings from Women Aware CEO Phyllis Yonta

As CEO of the state-designated lead domestic violence services agency in Middlesex County, NJ, Phyllis Yonta looks back at the challenges and victories of 2020 and looks forward to expanding services for survivors moving beyond abuse in 2021

Women Aware Clinical Director Featured on New Brunswick Speaks

In the News

Women Aware’s Clinical Director Carmen Hernandez recently appeared on 1450 WCTC Talk Radio’s New Brunswick Speaks with Joyce Browning, sharing updates about Women Aware’s services through the pandemic and speaking to what’s next for Middlesex County’s lead domestic violence service agency in 2021. To hear the full interview, click here. The interview with Ms. Hernandez begins at the 27:00 minute mark in the recording.