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More from Strategic Planning – Family Justice Center

NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal Remarks

In pre-recorded remarks, NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal opened the strategic planning conference for the family justice center in Middlesex County on May 18, 2021.

New space in New Brunswick

The state-designated lead domestic violence service agency in Middlesex County, NJ, Women Aware’s legal advocacy, housing navigation and domestic violence response team programs are now located in downtown New Brunswick, with space for community partners to meet with victim/survivors of domestic violence. This is just the beginning of a family justice center for the County.

This Mother’s Day, Give a Gift that Saves Lives

Meet Michelle

On Thanksgiving Day, Michelle and the abuser were pulled over by the police during a traffic stop. The police arrested the abuser for drug-related charges and saw visible bruises on Michelle. The officer called Women Aware’s 24-hour confidential hotline, suspecting domestic violence. At first, Michelle was reluctant to tell her story out of fear that the abuser would find out and harm her. The abuser was affiliated with a gang and used violence and threats as a control tactic. Our advocate safety planned with Michelle and she gradually felt comfortable enough to share her story. She had sent her six children to her sister’s house in a different state out of fear that the abuser would harm her children. Michelle’s hours at work were cut in half because of COVID and she did not have the funds to move out of the house she shared with the abuser. Michelle was scared, but felt she had to return to the house because her beloved dog was there. Familiar with Women Aware’s partnership with St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, our advocate coordinated with St. Hubert’s to safely pick up Michelle’s dog. St. Hubert’s provided temporary boarding for her pet so she could get to safety. Our Housing Navigator connected with Michelle to assist with immediate relocation. Thanks to our positive working relationship with the police, the officer agreed to transport Michelle to the bus station. Our Housing Navigator provided Michelle with a bus ticket out of state, and she safely relocated to her sister’s house and reunited with her children. Relieved and grateful, Michelle said, “Without the Housing Navigator and 24-hour hotline staff, it would not be possible for me to relocate and who knows where I would be. Thank you for going above and beyond and for caring.”

You can partner with Women Aware to save lives. This Mother’s Day, consider honoring your mother, wife, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt or friend with a unique gift. Donate to Women Aware and we will mail a Happy Mother’s Day postcard to your honoree as a special thank you. It’s secure and easy to give at https://womenaware.net/donate. You can call 732-249-4900 x 0428 to donate by credit card. You can also mail a check payable to “Women Aware” to Women Aware, 250 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

Every donation makes a difference to survivors moving beyond abuse.

2021 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Seminario del Panel de Educación Comunitaria Derechos y Recursos Para Victimas de Crimen en el Condado de Middlesex

El seminario web promoverá la concienciación de la comunidad sobre los derechos y servicios de las víctimas de delitos durante la Semana Nacional de los Derechos de las Víctimas del Delito de 2021 (18-24 de abril de 2021). Los panelistas incluyen la Oficina del Fiscal del Condado de Middlesex, los Servicios Legales de Central Jersey, los Departamentos de Policía de Monroe Township y Perth Amboy, y defensores de Women Aware.

Community Education Panel - Rights & Resources for Victims of Crime in Middlesex County, NJ

The webinar promotes 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.

Community Education Panelists

Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office



Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office – Victim Witness Unit


Central Jersey Legal Services


Middlesex County – 732-249-7600

Monroe Township Police Department


Non-Emergency: 732-521-0222

Perth Amboy Police Department


Non-Emergency: 732-442-4400

Women Aware, Inc.


Middlesex County Domestic Violence Hotline: 732-249-4504 Toll-free 833-249-4504

Confidential. Free. 24/7.

Mark Your Calendars

Women Aware Presents A Virtual Conversation with Author Rachel Snyder

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 – 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

An award-winning journalist, Rachel Snyder explores the real roots of private violence, its far-reaching consequences and what it will take to truly address it. Thanks to a generous underwriter, ticket sale proceeds benefit Women Aware’s comprehensive services for individuals and families affected by domestic violence in Middlesex County, NJ.

To purchase tickets, visit https://givebutter.com/WomenAwarePresents

$100 Benefactor ticket – includes copy of No Visible Bruises and signed bookplate

$50 General ticket

$50 Attorney ticket for CLE credit

$20 Student ticket

“Our team’s reading of No Visible Bruises had a profound impact on Women Aware’s advocates,” stated Chief Executive Officer Phyllis Yonta. “The opportunity to hear Rachel’s insights on domestic violence and its impact in our society offers our team, supporters, community partners, attorneys, students and the general public to become better informed and do better by victims and their families.”

The Middlesex County Bar Association is a co-sponsor of this event and an approved provider of CLE credit in New Jersey. The program has been approved by the BCLE of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 1.2 hours of total CLE credit. (Also recognized for NY CLE Credit.)

Snyder will be interviewed by Women Aware Board member Ellen F. Schwartz of the law firm Ramatowski & Schwartz. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask their own questions via the Zoom Chat feature. Questions will be answered as time allows.

Join the Conversation May 25, 2021

Purchase tickets here: https://givebutter.com/WomenAwarePresents

To purchase Rachel’s book in advance:




Text to donate: 202-858-1233 Code WA1

Bilingual Virtual Community Education Panel – Rights & Resources for Victims of Crime in Middlesex County – April 21

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 Presentation https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89437471896?pwd=WldvUFBCa0l6cWs4SXdYZU5DMkh0UT09

The presentation 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.

About Women Aware

Women Aware is the state-designated lead domestic violence agency for Middlesex County. For more than 40 years, Women Aware has been saving lives through a comprehensive array of services that include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, support groups, children’s trauma therapy programs, legal advocacy, and supportive housing. Each year Women Aware moves approximately 2,000 survivors beyond abuse. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, call Women Aware’s confidential 24-hour hotline at 732-249-4504, toll-free at 833-249-4504.

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 https://www.facebook.com/MetuchenHumanRelationsCommission/.

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 www.metuchenartscouncil.com. 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 www.windowsofunderstanding.org. 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.