Treating Domestic Violence With Education, Services

Mayor John Ducey addresses domestic violence with two representatives from Providence House. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – There have been three homicides in the township this year that were committed by people who were closest to the victims.

  In June, there was a murder/suicide by gunshot of an elderly township couple; in September a 55-year-old man was allegedly beaten to death by his son and another man; and also in September a woman was charged in the stabbing death of her fiancée.

  According to the FBI’s crime statistics, there were 58 aggravated assaults in the township in 2017 and 45 in 2018. There were no murders in either year.

  Also according to the data, Brick’s population decreased from 75,566 in 2017 to 74,712 in 2018. Violent crime also decreased over those same two years from 107 instances to 65.

  The township council and Mayor John G. Ducey put a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence during a recent council meeting by inviting local organizations and professionals who work with domestic violence victims.

  “Tonight I’d like to emphasize the need to talk about domestic violence so that our children, our siblings, our friends, and our loved ones stop feeling ashamed, and speak out, ask for help, and find the strength to save themselves and their children,” Ducey said.

  Domestic violence can be physical or psychological, and it can affect anyone of any age, gender, race or sexual orientation. Women are the most battered party in a relationship, although men can be victimized, as evidenced by one of the three township homicides, he said.

  More than 38 million women have been victims of domestic violence in this country alone, and the weapon needed to fight the statistics is empowerment, Ducey said.

Lawrence R. Jones, a Monmouth University professor and former NJ Superior court Judge, discusses domestic violence. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  “Our young people need to know what behavior is unacceptable in a relationship, and how to manage it if it occurs,” he said. “Victims need to know what resources are available and how to access them, and abusers need to know that society will not tolerate violence, especially in the name of love.”

  Seventy-five percent of all physical assaults against women are by people who claim to love them, and it goes unreported, the mayor said.

  “Empowerment, education, assistance, support and empathy are critical. We need more victims seeking help before it is too late,” Ducey said.

  Representatives from Providence House and Dottie’s House, local nonprofit organizations that help victims of domestic violence, and Monmouth University Professor and former NJ Superior Court Judge Lawrence R. Jones, who teaches a course on domestic violence law and social policy, spoke about how domestic violence impacts the community and how to educate and empower people to get help.