thank you so much for your kindness in my time of need. i nowhave some HOPE.
Thank you for a wonderful life. Keep up the fantastic work on behalf of those of us who cannot fight for ourselves.
Thank you again for all your help. It is a comfort to know that there are caring people like you in this world.
My thank you seems so small compared to all you’ve done, but it comes from my heart.
We Stand for Humanity and Dignity
I am writing on behalf of Partners for Women and Justice (Partners) to acknowledge the recent senseless murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and locally, Maurice Gordon. These deaths are a horrifying reminder of the unjust, systemic oppression that exists in our country and something that should unify us in outrage and heartbreak. Unfortunately, these examples of racist brutality are neither new nor uncommon: Black people live daily under the threat of violence from officers sworn to uphold the law.
Every day, Partners’ work is focused on furthering the humanity and dignity of low-income victims of domestic violence. We are trying to build a world where all people are free from terror and brutality, including in the streets, but also in their homes and intimate relationships. It is the ultimate betrayal when those sworn to care for or protect us turn on us instead, and that is true whether the aggressor is a spouse or a police officer. Our core values of safety and justice apply with equal force to protecting victims of domestic violence and victims of racially motivated violence. We witness every day the devastating effects that institutional and intrinsic racism have on our clients, colleagues, family, and friends.
James Baldwin said, “To change absolutely anything we must first have the courage to face it.” As a country, we are in the process of facing our reality. Our country’s origin story is rooted in racism and slavery, and that legacy is embedded in our systems and our culture. My hope is that much-needed change will be the result of this nationwide reflection. I believe that every one of us has an obligation to face the role that we play in either making the world a better place or being complicit in systems of injustice. I hope we all have the courage to face our reality honestly and act to improve it.
As a new leader of Partners, I am committed to creating a sense of belonging for all staff and a safe environment for honest conversation about race. I commit to support learning during this difficult time and in the future. I commit to bring greater diversity to our board, volunteer cohort, and staff. Our staff is committed to lifting up the voices and experiences of our clients. We commit to bringing a deeper understanding of the challenges our clients experience due to racism with the police and in the courts to our Board of Trustees to explore options for action. We also commit to raising much-needed awareness through education, advocacy, and policy work. We will not be mere bystanders. We take to heart Elie Weisel’s words, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” We commit to taking the side of those facing violence, racism, and other injustices. This work is ongoing, and we will not turn from it when the headlines move on to other issues.
Our work here at Partners promotes justice. The work of our country at this critical moment is about justice. We stand in solidarity with those who, like us, work to honor the humanity and the dignity of all and create meaningful change.
If you have thoughts about this topic, please reach out to me with suggestions, concerns, or just to start a conversation. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie A. Murphy
Victims and Survivors We Are Still Here For You
There is no greater priority for Partners for Women and Justice (Partners) than the safety and wellness of our clients and those seeking assistance for legal matters in domestic violence.
Victims of domestic violence seeking legal assistance for restraining orders and related family court matters in Essex, Union, Middlesex, Passaic, and Hudson Counties can text (732-535-6318), email (email@example.com), or call 973-233-0111 and leave a message with a safe call-back number. Partners advocates monitor voicemail throughout each day and will return calls as soon as possible to determine if we can assist you.
If you are in danger, please call 911 or go to your local police department for assistance.
Partners for Women and Justice is committed to ensuring that survivors, who may be under increased pressure and potentially increased danger during this time, continue to have access to support and safety. These are exceptional times and we will continue to serve you to the best of our ability.
Fighting for Domestic Violence Victims During COVID-19
At Partners, we are working to close gaps in the justice system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our focus is on concrete actions that can help victims of domestic violence right now.
- The Superior Court needs to reopen for virtual issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs). Currently, victims are only able to obtain TROs by going in-person to the police station, but those seeking help are understandably confused by public messaging that station houses are generally closed to the public due to the pandemic. In addition, victims from marginalized communities who fear law enforcement involvement are less likely to seek assistance. Although police stations are technically open, victims may fear exposure to the virus by leaving home. Once at the police station, confidentiality and communication are both limited as a result of police measures to prevent infection. The courts are in the process of developing a system to use electronic applications for victims to access restraining orders.
- The courts need to permit litigants to adjourn Final Restraining Order (FRO) trials, rather than forcing them to present their cases via remote "Zoom" hearings. Not all litigants can access the necessary technology to allow them to participate in a remote hearing. Others may be at home with children, making it difficult to participate in a hearing or they may be hesitant to participate for fear of exposing a child to such a hearing. In addition, remote FRO hearings present many logistical challenges in presenting evidence and make an already intimidating process even more difficult for victims.
- The courts need to consider the financial needs of victims and their children to determine if emergent support should be ordered. Partners' client base was struggling financially well before the COVID-19 crisis, but now they are contending with the harm caused by job losses, cancellation of school and child-care, and restrictions on leaving home. For many, an already dire financial situation is now worse.
To better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have convened a domestic violence COVID-19 Emergency Legal Response Team with the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence and are serving on the New Jersey Disaster Legal Response Team. These teams, along with other legal service providers and stakeholdes, are addressing the legal challenges faced by low-income residents, which the pandemic has compounded.
Isolation and fear accompany all of us as we shelter in place and grapple with concerns for the safety of ourselves and loved ones. With or without a pandemic, these concerns are prevalent for domestic violence victims, but this crisis is accentuating victims' physical and psychological isolation and vulnerability. The longer victims are forced to remain home with an abuser and the more difficult resources are to access the greater the peril to victims of domestic violence. Click here to learn more. Now more than ever, victims need acess to caring and reliable attorneys who can help protect them from their abusers.
Technology is a powerful and easily accessible tool for people to connect with each other. When abusers use technology to intimidate, control, shame, and monitor their victims, it becomes a tool of abuse.
- Use Find My Phone apps
- Hide GPS on a victim's car
- Monitor phone activity
- Install hidden video/voice on phone
- Access hidden video/voice recording machines
- Hack into email and social media accounts
- Block or fake a number to call or text
- Use a trusted ally's number to call or text
- Create a fake socila media account to impersonate a victim
- Text, call or email constantly
- Send threatening messages
- Demand victim check-in and prove location
- Post threats on social media
- Post or threaten to post intimate pictures and/or videos on social media
- Solicit sex on Craigslist or social media using a victim's photo, name and contact information
Meet the Trustees
Catherine Weiss, Esq.; Lowenstein Sandler LLP; Chair
Committees: All, ex officio
Catherine runs her firm's pro bono practice and has built a lifelong career as a public interest and civil rights lawyer.
Julie A. Murphy, Esq.; Partners for Women and Justice; President/Executive Director
Committees: All, ex officio
Julie is the Executive Director of Partners and also serves as President.
Tina A. Jordan, Esq.; Vice President
Committees: Fundraising, Executive
Tina previously represented Partners' clients as a volunteer attorney and has served on Partners' Board since 2005.
Rebecca Fitzhugh, CPA; SobelCo; Treasurer
Committees: Finance, Executive
Rebecca serves in the Forensic Accounting/Litigation Services Group at her firm and has over 18 years of experience in forensic accounting, litigation services, and public accounting.
Sheri Hecht Leonard, Esq.; Suburban Propane, L.P.; Secretary
Committees: Governance, Executive
Sheri serves as Deputy General Counsel of her company. She is a member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Jennifer Borek, Esq.; Genova Burns
Committees: Finance, Fundraising
Jennifer is a partner at her firm where she chairs the Procurement Law, Government Contracts and Bid Protest Litigation Practice Group. She is also a board member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association.
Eric G. Kahn, Esq.; Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C.
Eric is an active trial lawyer with several multimillion dollar jury verdicts, a past President of the New Jersey Association for Justice, and the current President of the North Jersey Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is also the Managing Shareholder of his law firm, supervising over 60 lawyers.
Randi W. Kochman, Esq.; Cole Schotz P.C.
Randi chairs her firm's Employment Law Department and sits on the firm's Executive Committee. She is also co-chair of the firm's Community Outreach Committee.
Michael T.G. Long, Esq.; Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Michael is a partner at his law firm and focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense. He has represented Partners' clients as a volunteer attorney.
Anne Mohan, Esq.; Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti, LLP
Committees: Governance, Operations
Anne focuses her practice on civil litigation defense. She previously represented Partners' clients as a volunteer attorney and recognizes the need for attorneys to advocate for victims of domestic violence.
Karen Murphy, Esq.; Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C.
Karen is a partner at her firm and practices in her firm's Environmental Law practice group. She previously represented Partners' clients as a volunteer attorney.
Grettel Muscato; Mountainside Medical Center
Grettel is the Director of Community Services and Volunteers for the medical center and has spent her 30 year career working in public health and hospital administration. She is passionate about working with underserved communities who have access to few resources.
Adam N. Saravay, Esq.; McCarter & English, LLP
Adam is a partner at his firm and focuses his practice on employment law as well as class action and multidistrict litigation. His pro bono work includes representing Partners' clients, advising charitable organizations on employment issues, and submitting friend-of-the-court briefs to the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of various non-profit groups.
Shoshana Schiff, Esq.; McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC
Committees: Governance, Fundraising
Shoshana is a partner at her firm and focuses her practice on insolvency matters, litigation and redevelopment law. She is also active in a number of professional organizations and serves as an officer of the Essex County Bar Association.
Donna L. Schwartz, Esq.
Committees: Program, Finance, Operations, Governance
Donna became involved with Partners nearly 17 years ago as a volunteer attorney while in private practice. In 2006, she joined the Board of Trustees, serving in numerous positions. From 2012-2017, she served as Board Chair. Donna continues to be an active trustee while pursuing her interests in real estate.
Jennifer Marino Thibodaux, Esq.; Thomson Reuters Practical Law
Jennifer is a Senior Legal Editor at her company and responsible for New Jersey litigation. She represented Partners' clients as a volunteer attorney and previously co-chaired the Spring Benefit Committee.
Christine Turgeon, CPA; PricewaterhouseCoopers
Cristy is a Washington National Tax Services partner who leads the firm's Accounting Method Services practice. She also serves as the Chair of the Metro Women in Tax Committee, tasked with the development and advancement of PwC's female professional tax partners and staff.
Anu Upadhyay, M.D.
Anu is a board certified adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist and presently serves as the President of the New Jersey Psychiatric Association (Central Chapter). She is an Associate Professor at Rutgers - RWJ Medical School where she has taught for over a decade.
2020 Virtual Spring Benefit: What a Celebration!
Hundreds of you joined us to celebrate hope for domestic violence victims!
Together we heard the inspiring story of a client, celebrated the honorees, and rasied money to provide attorneys to victims and survivors.
If you didn't have a chance to donate, there is still time.
Click here to make a donation.
Thank You to Our Sponsors!
White House "Designs for Life"
The Gloria Foundation
McCarter & English, LLP
Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C.
Lauren Handler, Esq. and David Kott, Esq.
Kate Logan and Edmund Rung
Lowenstein Sandler LLP
American Board of Trial Advocates
Cole Schotz P.C.
Catherine J. Douglass and Bruce P. Dohrenwend
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C.
Cristy and Mike Turgeon
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC
New Jersey Natural Gas
Brach Eichler LLC
Fox Rothschild LLP
Genova Burns LLC
Tina A. Jordan and Kevin M. Rendino
Randi and Tedd Kochman
Littler Mendelson P.C.
Peak Environmental LLC
Quick Cooper Communications
Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP
Donna and Joseph Schwartz
Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A.
Berkowitz, Lichtstein, Kuritsky, Giasullo & Gross, LLC
Bevan, Mosca & Giuditta, P.C.
Jennifer Borek and Michael Hicks
Britcher Leone, LLC
Connell Foley LLP
Mary and Joel Jeffrey
Sheri Hecht Leonard and Jeffrey Leonard
Therese O'Brian and Hank Lutz
Red Maple Economics
Seiden Family Law, LLC
Schulman, Wiegmann & Associates, Certified Court Reporters
Thomson Reuters Practical Law
Nancy A. Washington
Wiss & Company, LLP
Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center
Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)
New York Football Giants
Pretrial Safety Project
On July 20, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that defendants who violate pretrial release conditions cannot be charged with criminal contempt. State v. Antoine McCray; State v. Sahaile Gabourel (2020). However, the Court accepted the argument advanced by Partners, as a friend of the court, that no-contact orders must be fully enforceable in order to protect victims of domestic violence. This means that the Court carved out an exception to the holding allowing prosecutors to charge defendants with contempt if they violate no-contact orders. This decision will help deter violations of no-contact orders and protect victims of domestic violence.
Special thanks to Partners’ pro bono counsel, Larry Lustberg and Michael Noveck, of Gibbons for their outstanding work as well as to our fellow amici, the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Rachel Coalition, the Essex County Family Justice Center, and the New Jersey Crime Victims Law Center.
From Left to Right: Trish Perlmutter, Policy Counsel for Partners; Michele Lefkowitz, Director of Legal Programs for Partners; Larry Lustberg, Director of the John J. Gibbons Fellowship for Public Interest & Constitutional Law; Jane M. Hanson, Executive Director of Partners; and Michael Noveck, Associate at Gibbons P.C.
The Support Squad
On a Mission to Help Victims of Domestic Violence get Restraining Orders
Our vision is to have a passionate and determined group of monthly givers on a mission to help victims of domestic violence get restraining orders. Your support will provide consistent and dependable revenue to help victims of domestic violence.
We want you to be a part of it!
Click here to join The Support Squad and become a monthly donor.
Here is what you can expect when you join:
*You will become part of a compassionate community of supporters
* The opportunity to mingle with Partners' attorneys and court advocates (details to follow in the spring)
*Regular updates on the impact of your donation
*The thanks of all the victims who you are helping to become survivors
Annual Report 2019
Partners for Women and Justice empowers low-income victims and survivors of domestic violence to build safe and secure futures for themselves and their children by providing equal access to justice. We offer quality legal assistance in domestic violence and family law matters.