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JERSEY STATE POLICE
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NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE ESTABLISH RURAL COMMUNITY "CRISIS RESPONSE TEAMS" PILOT PROGRAM
County Prosecutor & Local State Police Seek Volunteers To Assist & Counsel Victims Of Domestic Violence
W. Trenton - Colonel Carson J. Dunbar, Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced the establishment of State Police-sponsored domestic violence-related "Crisis Response Teams" in eight New Jersey counties and called on area residents to volunteer to help staff the 24-hour a day programs.
According to the New Jersey State Police Victim Services Unit, the "Crisis Response Teams" are designed to enhance the efforts of local State Police and county prosecutor's offices to assist and protect victims of crime and, in particular, to aid women who have suffered from domestic violence, rape and other criminal acts.
The State Police obtained $66,500 in federal grant monies from the Division of Criminal Justice's Office of Victim Witness Advocacy as part of available funding through the federal Violence Against Women Act. The funds are earmarked as "seed" or start-up monies to establish, equip and staff special "Crisis Response Teams" throughout the rural State Police-patrolled areas of the state, including targeted areas in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Salem, Sussex and Warren counties. Within each of the selected counties, three townships/municipalities have been selected for the "Crisis Response Teams" pilot program and, as the program expands, additional townships/municipalities will be incorporated to eventually cover the entire county.
Troopers assigned to the State Police Victim Services and Community Policing Units and specialized staff from the Victim Services Unit within the county prosecutor's office will spearhead the program. The crisis response team, along with the volunteers, will provide counseling and information about the varying county, local and community-based support services directly to the domestic violence victim immediately upon reporting the incident. Through the cadre of trained volunteers staffing the crisis response teams, a victim of domestic violence will be better informed about all available options and, as a result, be better equipped to take advantage of the local, county and state domestic violence-related programs and services.
The State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy serves to coordinate the crisis response teams with local domestic violence service providers, the county prosecutor's office and the State Police Victim Services Unit. Upon completion of training, the crisis response team volunteer will be available to coordinate services with local service providers such as battered women's shelters, financial aid services and medical and counseling providers as they work to assist victims of domestic violence.
The immediate goal is to attract local residents from the selected counties and municipalities to volunteer and participate in the program. The most important tool for a crisis response team volunteer is the desire and ability to help others. All volunteers will be required to attend a 40-hour certified course which will focus on domestic violence and related issues such as identifying the dynamics of domestic violence, basic criminal law definitions and provisions, temporary restraining orders, criminal justice system process and emergency services. Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age with no prior criminal arrest record, possess a valid New Jersey drivers license and be able to provide their own transportation. The training will be provided at no cost.
For further information or to volunteer for one of the eight county Crisis Response Team programs, contact the New Jersey State Police Victim Services Unit at (609) 882-2000 x2586 or the county prosecutor's office. The Crisis Intervention Teams will be established in the following counties and municipalities:
CAPE MAY COUNTY