Please Join Us – 40th Anniversary Virtual Candlelight Vigil – October 21, 2020 – 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information, visit

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Women Aware


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Middlesex banner

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Women Aware remembers victims whose lives were taken by domestic violence and honors survivors moving beyond abuse.

We invite you to join us October 21, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. for a Virtual Candlelight Vigil to celebrate 40 years of service to Middlesex County families. For more information, click here.

Caption: Thank you to the Middlesex Police Department and Domestic Violence Response Team for this banner in downtown Middlesex. Women Aware 24/7 Hotline: 732.249.4504 Toll-free 833.249.4504

Women Aware Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Virtual Candlelight Vigil

Please join us virtually - October 21, 2020 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Women Aware will mark 40 years of service to individuals and families affected by domestic violence in Middlesex County, New Jersey with a 40th Anniversary Virtual Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The event will bring together members of the community to remember victims whose lives were taken by domestic violence and to honor survivors moving beyond abuse. The candlelight vigil is open to the public and free to attend. Registration is required. Visit

“This major milestone in Women Aware’s history links our past and present in a special way as we will be joined by the founders of the original shelter for victims of domestic violence in Middlesex County,” stated Chief Executive Officer Phyllis Yonta. “Today’s Women Aware stands on the shoulders of pioneers like Diane Palladino, Ellen Koteen and their team who were powerful advocates for victims at the local, state and national level.”

Moving forward from the extraordinary challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for Women Aware’s services to survivors of domestic violence has grown and our delivery of services has evolved. Financial support is needed now more than ever so that Women Aware can continue to provide free and confidential services 24/7 to anyone who seeks our help moving beyond abuse.


During the vigil, we will honor pioneers, volunteers and partners who have lent their voices, energy and resources to help break down barriers between survivors and the services they need:

Women Aware shelter founders, Diane Palladino and Ellen Koteen

Volunteer advocate, Ruth Hague

Founder of Sansone Auto Group, Paul Sansone, Sr.


Candlelight Vigil Sponsor – Independence Wealth Partners

Keynote Speaker Sponsor – Judge Marina Corodemus (ret.) • Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, LLP

Vigil Partner – Yvonne Cangelosi • Edward Leske Company • MassMutual • Schechner Lifson Corporation • Linda Van Derveer

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Susan Dyckman, director of development, at or 732.249.4900, ext. 0428.

How to Help

Register to attend (no charge):

Donate online:

Text to make a donation: 202-858-1233 Code WA40

Mail your donation: Check payable to Women Aware; mail to Women Aware, 40th Anniversary, 250 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Follow Women Aware on social media:

Facebook @womenawareinc

Instagram @womenaware

Twitter @Women_Aware

Family Justice Center for Middlesex County

Video - Family Justice Center Better Serves Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Video screen shot

Middlesex County services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are scattered around the county. By housing resources in a coordinated centralized location, the Family Justice Center (FJC) will break down barriers between victims and services. FJCs increase safety for victims and children; reduce domestic violence homicides; and reduce recidivism among offenders. Women Aware looks forward to working with our partners to make the FJC a reality.

To help the Middlesex County community better understand what a Family Justice Center is, Women Aware produced a brief video. It features comments from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Alliance for HOPE International and Women Aware, and testimony from a father giving voice to his daughter’s experience as a survivor of domestic violence.

Click here to watch the 6-minute video.

Podcast Expands Communications

Women Aware Speaks - Self-care isn't Selfish

Creative Arts Therapists Aline Filipe and Lindsay Chaillet speak to the importance of self-care for survivors of domestic violence. To listen, click here.

All Women Aware Speaks podcasts can be heard on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic and Spotify.

We have a responsibility to one another.

Be the Bridge

Collectively, Women Aware asks that we search our own hearts for any dark corners where we remain silent about injustice and oppression. In order for Love to reign in our hearts, we must examine what is in our minds and how it got there. This is not about a guilt trip, but rather an opportunity to grow and love better. Today, please join us in lifting up George Floyd, his family and his community…our community. We have a responsibility to one another. Let’s raise a white flag.

Phyllis Yonta, MSW, MA, DVS
Chief Executive Officer

Podcast Expands Communications

Women Aware Speaks

To reach as many members of the Middlesex County community as possible using different media during the COVID-19 pandemic, Women Aware launched a podcast titled Women Aware Speaks.

Women Aware Speaks can be heard on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic and Spotify. Click on the episode links below to listen.

Episode 2: Safety Planning for Survivors featuring Domestic Violence Liaisons Rachel Bergfeldt and Kelly Jimenez

Episode 1: Staying Home is Dangerous for Victims of Domestic Violence featuring Director of Client Services Maliha Janjua

Women Aware Featured on National Forum

Director of Client Services Maliha Janjua Interviewed by Modern Muze

In response to concerns for victims of domestic violence under stay-at-home orders, Zulay Henao and Julie Skon of Modern Muze reached out to Director of Client Services Maliha Janjua. In her interview, Maliha shares insight into what domestic violence looks like and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on victims. She also talks about the resources available through Women Aware as well as state and national domestic violence hotlines.

Click on this link to read the article and watch the full Zoom interview: