NJ hotline for domestic violence victims

October 27, 2010

40-year-old Jennifer, a Burlington County mother of 3, is in the process of divorcing an abusive husband who turned her family's life into a living hell.

"Pushing, shoving, grabbing, sexual assault...he was a danger to himself and others and to us and I thought it was going to get to the point where he was going to kill us," Jennifer said.

Stories like Jennifer's are all too common at the Department of Children & Families hotline.

New Jersey's First Lady Mary Pat Christie toured the facility Wednesday to learn more about the agency's work.

At a secret location in Mercer County, trained screeners handle as many as 15,000 calls a month from families around the state dealing with domestic violence or child abuse issues, some triggered by the bad economy.

"These are calls where people are actually asking for help, families where maybe both parents are unemployed, they're down on income," casework supervisor Tom Farrell said.

After a phone interview, staffers can offer an array of services to help families in crisis.

"Make an assessment if there are safety issues, if there are children in the home and then based on what we're hearing, we can either send a staff person out to meet with them or we can refer them to community services," DCF Commissioner Allison Blake said.

The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you need help, all you have to do is pick up the phone. The number to dial from anywhere in New Jersey is 1-877-NJ-ABUSE.

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