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Abused Women Get Help from Partners

April 9, 2009 ELIZABETH OGUSS of The Montclair Times

            It would be hard to find a victim of domestic violence willing to speak with a reporter about her experience. (Sometimes it’s a he, but usually it’s a she.)

            A composite portrait could describe a victim’s experience and challenges, but composites don’t have the power that real names have.

            Names like Monica Paul.

            Monica Paul was murdered last June by her ex-partner in full view of her two children. She had obtained a full restraining order on him.

            How do we help women in crisis before it’s too late?

            Jane Hanson, executive director of Partners for Women and Justice, and Cindy Sagoff, a consultant attorney, spoke about the help their organization offers in an interview with The Montclair Times.

            Partners for Women and Justice will hold its annual Spring Benefit on April 28.

HARD TO LEAVE

            Abusive relationships don’t start that way. “Like all human relationships, it’s complicated,” Said Hanson. People marry or move in together and have children.  Tied together financially, it’s hard for couples to split even when abuse is not n issue. When a husband or partner becomes abusive, the woman hopes the man she fell in love with will become his old self again.

            Abused women in all walks of life find it hard to leave. For abused women with no money, leaving seems impossible.

            According to a 2004 study by the National Institute of Justice- the research agency of the U.S. Department of Justice- “intimate violence occurs more in households facing economic distress.”

            With the recent financial downturn, Hanson said, the number of women seeking divorce has decreased. That’s not a good sign.

            “Financially, it’s much riskier for the victim to leave and try to set up a separate household,” she said, So they’re staying.

But many of the obstacles they fear can be surmounted. And Partners for Women and Justice helps allay their fears, with information and assistance.

            “They’re afraid that if they leave they won’t be able to get financial support, and that’s not true,” Hansin said. “They’re afraid that they’ll be taking the children away from the father, and that’s not true, although there may be times when it’s appropriate. But visitation and custody arrangements can be worked out.”

            Undocumented victims fear that if they get involved with law enforcement, they’ll be turned over to immigration officials, but that isn’t so, said Hanson. 

            “Yet another one, a threat the abuser uses, is to say they’ll take the children away if the victim goes to the police, but that can be addressed through the courts.”

HELP FOR WOMEN

            The mission of Partners for Women and Justice is to help low-income women navigate their way through legal matters of child support, visitation, custody, divorce, and domestic violence.

             With the help of attorneys who volunteer their time, Partners offers:

  • legal clinics on Saturday mornings in Essex and Morris counties at which             women can get personal advice;
  • representation in court in simple family law cases and at final restraining order hearings in Essex and Union counties;
  • -information, legal advice, and counsel through Partner’s phone help line, available throughout New Jersey;
  • -financial skills workshops to help women become self-sufficient.

In the economic downturn, the governmental safety net is weakening, even as the need for help grows. Affordable housing is harder to find, Hanson said,

            “Many of our clients work as household help,” Hanson said, “and some of them are losing their jobs” because their employers cant afford to keep them on.

            All the more need for Partner’s services.  But some of Partner’s major funders have had to reduce their support drastically.

            “More than ever, we’d ask the community to support Partners for Women and Justice,” Stagoff said. “We need more paid staff, we need to hire an attorney.”

            Citing a Montclair High School student group, and a Montclair student at Mt. Holyoke College who raised money for Partners, Stagoff and Hanson say they hope young people also will respond to the call for action to help women struggling with domestic violence.

Partners for Women and Justice

The Partners for Women and Justice Spring Benefit takes place on Tuesday, April 28, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Valley Regency , 1129 Valley Road, Clifton.

The event includes dinner and an auction and raffle. Tickets are $200, with Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Partner tickets available at higher levels. Whole Foods Markets is co-sponsor.

RSVP by April 17 by mailing checks to Partners for Women and Justice at 60 South Fullerton Ave., #211, Montclair, NJ 07042. Tickets may also be bought and donations made at www.pfwj.org

Tina A. Jordan and Lawrence S. Lustberg, both attorneys, will be honored. Jordan, a Montclair resident, is chair of Partner’s board. She is being honored for her “incredible support,” said Cindy Stagoff, a Partners attorney consultant.

Lustberg, who chairs the criminal defense department at Gibbons, has done “significant and groundbreaking” legal support on behalf of victims of domestic violence, according to Stagoff.

Also being honored is the Rachel Coalition, based in Florham Park. A division of Jewish Family Service, the Rachel Coalition comprises several nonprofits that provide safety and support to victims of domestic violence. The Rachel Coalition serves people of all religions and ethnic groups.

Benefit committee members are Eva S. Goldfarb of Montclair State University; Kevin B. Kelly of Seton Hall University School of Law and a founding trustee of Partners; Kelly A. McDonald, Flat World Knowledge; Lauren Podesta of Latham & Watkins, LLP; Sheryl Seiden of Ceconi & Cheifetz, LLC; and Vicki S. Zeigler of Walden, Hayden & Borgan, PA.

Auction items include signed sports memorabilia, jewelry, gift certificates to restaurants, and one hour in a full-motion jet flight simulator.

Further information is at the Web address above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MONTCLAIR TIMES  www.montclairtimes.com    COMMUNITY    

 

Abused Women Get Help From Partners

 

By Elizabeth Oguss

Of the Montclair Times

 

            It would be hard to find a victim of domestic violence willing to speak with a reporter about her experience. (Sometimes it’s a he, but usually it’s a she.)

            A composite portrait could describe a victim’s experience and challenges, but composites don’t have the power that real names have.

            Names like Monica Paul.

            Monica Paul was murdered last June by her ex-partner in full view of her two children. She had obtained a full restraining order on him.

            How do we help women in crisis before it’s too late?

            Jane Hanson, executive director of Partners for Women and Justice, and Cindy Sagoff, a consultant attorney, spoke about the help their organization offers in an interview with The Montclair Times.

            Partners for Women and Justice will hold its annual Spring Benefit on April 28.

 

HARD TO LEAVE

 

            Abusive relationships don’t start that way. “Like all human relationships, it’s complicated,” Said Hanson. People marry or move in together and have children. Once Tied together financially, it’s hard for couples to split even when abuse is not n issue. When a husband or partner becomes abusive, the woman hopes the man she fell in love with will become his old self again.

            Abused women in all walks of life find it hard to leave. For abused women with no money, leaving seems impossible.

            According to a 2004 study by the National Institute of Justice- the research agency of the U.S. Department of Justice- “intimate violence occurs more in households facing economic distress.”

            With the recent financial downturn, Hanson said, the number of women seeking divorce has decreased. That’s not a good sign.

            “Financially, it’s much riskier for the victim to leave and try to set up a separate household,” she said, So they’re staying.

But many of the obstacles they fear can be surmounted. And Partners for Women and Justice helps allay their fears, with information and assistance.

            “They’re afraid that if they leave they won’t be able to get financial support, and that’s not true,” Hansin said. “They’re afraid that they’ll be taking the children away from the father, and that’s not true, although there may be times when it’s appropriate. But visitation and custody arrangements can be worked out.”

            Undocumented victims fear that if they get involved with law enforcement, they’ll be turned over to immigration officials, but that isn’t so, said Hanson. 

            “Yet another one, a threat the abuser uses, is to say they’ll take the children away if the victim goes to the police, but that can be addressed through the courts.”

 

HELP FOR WOMEN

            The mission of Partners for Women and Justice is to help low-income women navigate their way through legal matters of child support, visitation, custody, divorce, and domestic violence.

 

 

            With the help of attorneys who volunteer their time, Partners offers:

 

  • · legal clinics on Saturday mornings in Essex and Morris counties at which women can get personal advice;
  • · representation in court in simple family law cases and at final restraining order hearings in Essex and Union counties;
  • · information, legal advice, and counsel through Partner’s phone help line, available throughout New Jersey;
  • · financial skills workshops to help women become self-sufficient. In the economic downturn, the governmental safety net is weakening, even as the need for help grows. Affordable housing is harder to find, Hanson said,

            “Many of our clients work as household help,” Hanson said, “and some of them are losing their jobs” because their employers cant afford to keep them on.

            All the more need for Partner’s services.  But some of Partner’s major funders have had to reduce their support drastically.

            “More than ever, we’d ask the community to support Partners for Women and Justice,” Stagoff said. “We need more paid staff, we need to hire an attorney.”

            Citing a Montclair High School student group, and a Montclair student at Mt. Holyoke College who raised money for Partners, Stagoff and Hanson say they hope young people also will respond to the call for action to help women struggling with domestic violence.

 

Partners for Women and Justice

 

The Partners for Women and Justice Spring Benefit takes place on Tuesday, April 28, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Valley Regency , 1129 Valley Road, Clifton.

 

The event includes dinner and an auction and raffle. Tickets are $200, with Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Partner tickets available at higher levels. Whole Foods Markets is co-sponsor.

 

RSVP by April 17 by mailing checks to Partners for Women and Justice at 60 South Fullerton Ave., #211, Montclair, NJ 07042. Tickets may also be bought and donations made at www.pfwj.org

 

Tina A. Jordan and Lawrence S. Lustberg, both attorneys, will be honored. Jordan, a Montclair resident, is chair of Partner’s board. She is being honored for her “incredible support,” said Cindy Stagoff, a Partners attorney consultant.

 

Lustberg, who chairs the criminal defense department at Gibbons, has done “significant and groundbreaking” legal support on behalf of victims of domestic violence, according to Stagoff.

 

Also being honored is the Rachel Coalition, based in Florham Park. A division of Jewish Family Service, the Rachel Coalition comprises several nonprofits that provide safety and support to victims of domestic violence. The Rachel Coalition serves people of all religions and ethnic groups.

 

Benefit committee members are Eva S. Goldfarb of Montclair State University; Kevin B. Kelly of Seton Hall University School of Law and a founding trustee of Partners; Kelly A. McDonald, Flat World Knowledge; Lauren Podesta of Latham & Watkins, LLP; Sheryl Seiden of Ceconi & Cheifetz, LLC; and Vicki S. Zeigler of Walden, Hayden & Borgan, PA.

 

Auction items include signed sports memorabilia, jewelry, gift certificates to restaurants, and one hour in a full-motion jet flight simulator.

 

Further information is at the Web address above.