Union, N.J. – More than 250 public officials, religious leaders, advocates and students gathered in the STEM Building at Kean University on April 10 to discuss ways to combat domestic violence.
The six-hour long conference brought together Union County’s most-effective voices against domestic violence, including the event’s co-hosting organizations, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, the YWCA of Union County, and Kean University.
In addition to these organizations, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Verizon, a bi-partisan group of state legislators, a representative of US Senator Robert Menendez’s office, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, religious leaders representing Jewish, Muslim, and Christian congregations, Union County Sheriff Department, local and Kean University police departments, human resource specialists from major multi-national corporations, and a cadre of health specialists, including the Kean University Department of Health Services, all took an equal part in the day’s four panels.
Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park addressed the attendees, including many Kean University students and former social work students who earned continuing education credits through their attendance and participation. She discussed her drive to focus more of her office’s resources on the problem of domestic violence throughout the county.
The YWCA of Union County, the primary non-profit organization that focuses on the needs and problems facing domestic violence victims throughout Union County, moderated three of the panel discussions focusing on domestic violence in the workplace, the faith response to domestic violence, and healthcare and domestic violence. Anne Marie Bramnick, Supervisor of the Domestic Violence Unit in the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, moderated the fourth panel focusing on the law and the judicial response.
The symposium's keynote speaker was Deirdri Fishel, a detective in the Borough of State College Police Department in Pennsylvania. She is a is a court-recognized expert on domestic violence, and she is certified to train law enforcement on domestic violence issues. She has been featured as a presenter and trainer across the nation, having trained judges, prosecutors, municipal police officers, state police, medical doctors, nurses, advocates, and other system professionals on issues surrounding domestic violence and intimate partner stalking. She has also been a featured speaker/trainer at conferences for The National Center for Victims of Crime, the Stalking Resource Center, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Video of yesterday’s complete event will be shared with New Jersey’s other 20 counties in to be used as an example of the cooperation and conversations that all communities should be having. The same video will be available to all members of the general public in the coming days.
Shane Derris is the Assistant Director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics and Policy.