Kean University continued its dedication to community involvement and collaboration on April 20th, hosting the 2nd Annual Union County C.A.R.E.S. Domestic Violence Symposium, bringing together Union County’s leading government and non-profit organizations to address the community’s continued response to domestic violence.
The Union County Prosecutor’s Office, YWCA of Union County, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Family & Children’s Services, and Kean University provided a five hour program focusing on Youth, Family, and Community Interventions. Each year the symposium focuses on a general theme and brings in professionals from around the country and throughout Union County to engage social workers, law enforcement, community leaders, elected officials, and educators in how to respond to the detrimental effects of domestic violence on individuals.
“Addressing the too-often overlooked issue of domestic violence has been one of my top priorities from the day I took office nearly two years ago – it’s why we revamped our Domestic Violence Unit last year, infusing it with additional resources, streamlining the fashion in which it handles cases, and ensuring that our municipal police departments were properly positioned to approach every such incident with the care and attention needed,” Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park stated. “We are hopeful that this annual Symposium will continue to create strong partnerships and shine a spotlight on this important issue.”
Over 250 professionals and students attended the event in Kean University’s STEM Center.
According to statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
“Community based partnership is the only action that can eliminate domestic violence. This conference is important because it brings the whole community together and focuses everybody’s attention on an issue that cuts across socio-economic lines and allows them to discuss ways to make their collaborative efforts even better,” said Jan Lilien, executive director of the YWCA of Union County. “Regardless of your race, religion, socioeconomic status, or age – domestic violence occurs in every community. We need to continue this conversation and we are lucky to have dedicated organizations in this county that understand the fundamental need to continually address this issue.”
Shane Derris is the Assistant Director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics and Policy.