News Department

Department of Justice awards funding for legal services, improved court responses to domestic and sexual violence

NEW JERSEY – The Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) awarded more than $1.3 million to two programs in the state to provide legal services and improve the effective coordination of justice systems impacting survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

The need for specialized legal services is both urgent and essential for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. These services provide interventions, such as securing restraining or protective orders, that are crucial for survivor safety. The awards to New Jersey are:

  • OVW awarded $750,000 under the Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) Program to 180 Turning Lives Around Inc. The LAV Program addresses the legal needs of survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
  • OVW awarded $599,512 under the Justice for Families (JFF) Program to the Essex County Family Justice Center Inc. The JFF Program aims to improve the capacity of communities and courts to respond to families impacted by violence.

“There is an urgent need to fund programs for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, so I am pleased to announce that two programs in the District of New Jersey have been awarded funding from the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women. These funds will help survivors who are struggling with the emotional and physical toll of violence to navigate the complex and often overwhelming legal system. The programs this money will help fund will provide needed legal support to ensure justice and safety for survivors,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger

“The Legal Assistance for Victims Grant, in conjunction with the Justice for Families Program and the Domestic Violence Mentor Court Technical Assistance Initiative, serve as a powerful multi-pronged strategy to transform the justice system’s approach to supporting families affected by violence,” OVW Director Rosemarie Hidalgo said. “These grants enhance court-related programs, trauma-informed training, and resources, while also providing victims with specialized legal support. This includes assistance with securing protective orders and navigating complex family law matters. Collectively, these grants advance a more comprehensive approach, aimed at ensuring that survivors and their families don’t merely navigate our legal system, but genuinely find a path to justice and safety.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has an unyielding commitment to combat sexual misconduct.  As part of the Justice Department’s initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office routinely conducts community outreach throughout New Jersey to help identify and encourage reporting of sexual misconduct. This outreach ultimately led to a landmark lawsuit and $4.5 million monetary settlement against a landlord who the United States alleged demanded sex acts from dozens of tenants under the threat of eviction or other negative consequences.

In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought an investigation that revealed that the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women failed to protection inmates from sexual abuse by staff. This lawsuit resulted in a consent decree that required the New Jersey Department of Corrections to implement reforms to ensure incarcerated women are protected from sexual abuse.

OVW provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence through implementing VAWA and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities nationwide that are developing programs, policies, and practices to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

In addition to overseeing federal grant programs, OVW undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges.

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Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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