What We Do

The Piscataway Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Team (Piscataway (DVCIT)) is a model for social change that establishes a cooperative effort between abused women’s services, local municipal police departments, and community volunteers in an effort to provide services to victims of domestic violence and their children at the time of crisis. CITs also provide immediate response to issues of dating violence. Team members offer resources and referrals to victims while also helping to establish relationships with surrounding communities.

The goals of the CITs are to train community volunteers, provide assistance in the form of supportive counseling to battered women and their children or people in dating relationships, at the local police departments immediately following a domestic violence incident, when the victims are most upset, confused and vulnerable.

Our Mission

1) to provide comfort and support, referrals and resources, and emergency shelter for all victims of abuse in time of need; 2) to provide prevention and intervention of domestic violence through immediate response to victims and education of the community members. Working as immediate response counselors with the police, we see first hand the impact domestic violence plays on victims and their families. We believe that together we can make a difference in our community.

We also furnish information on the legal process, so that battered women may understand the various options available to them under the law, (restraining orders, criminal charges, mandatory arrest policies). It is expected that persons making informed choices within the legal system will be less likely to drop orders of protection and more likely to follow through with subsequent proceedings since they will have positively opted to take action, rather than remain in an abusive relationship. Our goal is that all victims are provided with current information concerning their legal rights as victims of abuse, including the special needs of immigrant women.

We act as advocates with the police for abused women, so that they may get the protection they are entitled to under the law. We provide an extensive list of community resource referrals; so that they may get the help they need to eliminate violence from their lives. It is hoped that women will be more likely to pursue the services available if someone who has already been of assistance to them refers them.

Other Goals

1) establish cooperative efforts between abused women’s services, local police departments and community volunteers, all of whom work to protect victims of domestic violence; 2) increase sensitivity of police, law enforcement officials, the judiciary, the court personnel to the needs of battered women and children; 3) strive to educate the community, including children and teenagers, that domestic violence is not all right and that we MUST speak out against it; 4) encourage Boards of Education to incorporate in their school systems curriculum designed for all school-aged children on the danger of violence in the home; 5) send a message to abusers that the community will not tolerate domestic violence; 6) promote awareness of the violence against women and to work towards diminishing its occurrence through education, research and advocacy; 7) and to continue to train community volunteers to meet the challenge of eradicating the cycle of family abuse, which is such a serious and destructive force in our communities.

Our Role Within The Educational Community

To establish some of our goals, team members have provided presentations to the counseling department of the board of education to inform them of the expertise of the CIT in matters related to domestic violence, including teaching materials for all age groups and teacher guidelines to help them identify children at risk.

In 2005, the Piscataway DVCIT brought a powerful and dramatic one-woman play depicting the devastating effects of relationship violence to their high school’s 10th grade class. The “Yellow Dress” has inspired discussion among the students on the early warning signs of abuse, understand the unique aspects of teen dating violence, learn how to help friends and family members, and know when to get adults involved. This program has now become an annual event and is vital to the mission of Piscataway’s DVCIT.

In 2009, the DVCIT introduced “Remote Control” a highly interactive production focused to the middle school audience. This production was presented to the 8th grade student body at each of the three middle schools. This program explores issues, attitudes, beliefs, and incorporates skill-building exercises designed to encourage healthy decision-making about relationships. This program emphasizes that the majority of males are not abusive, and these males can prove to be valuable allies in the work to prevent relationship violence. “Remote Control” gives adolescents an opportunity to learn the necessary language to talk with friends and peers about dating violence. The supportive material provided students and parents were from the “Choose Respect” theme on developing healthy relationships. This year the DVCIT anticipates offering an additional public presentation to parents, private and parochial school students, and scout troops. Without the continued support and generosity of our donors, we would not be able to offer these vital programs to our schools.

In 2009, the Piscataway DVCIT initiated the Lipstick Tube project. With a donation of 1,000 empty lipstick tubes from L’Oreal, an additional safety planning technique was implemented. Inserted into each empty tube is an insert imprinted with safety planning information including various hotline and helpline telephone numbers, a list of emergency services, and referrals. This inserts are printed in both English and Spanish.

The Piscataway DVCIT initiated a scholarship fund financed in part through their cell phone recycling program and proceeds generated through their annual Comedy Night Gift Basket Raffle. Each year the Piscataway DVCIT awards $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors who have “Against All Odds” overcome unusual and extenuating circumstances, have remained in school, maintained passing grades, and who have been accepted into an institution of higher education. Over $20,000 in scholarships have been awarded to date.