By Claire Berstein, LGSW
Over the course of their 20 year marriage, Caroline's* husband became increasingly emotionally abusive and began to stalk her. She decided to leave the relationship, but soon after their divorce was finalized, he repeatedly broke into her home, stole personal items, and left threatening messages. Not knowing where to turn for support, Caroline went to the Montgomery County Family Justice Center (FJC) in 2015. After exploring her options with the FJC, Caroline was connected with JCADA for individual counseling and other support services.
Through her work with JCADA over the past two years, Caroline has addressed her physical and emotional safety concerns and has moved forward from her trauma. In addition to her one-on-one therapy with her JCADA clinician, Caroline also worked with JCADA's Legal Access Program Director who provided her with information about Criminal Injuries Compensation, stalking, and victim's privacy rights. Recently, Caroline shared that she is no longer preoccupied with fear and despair. Instead, she feels strong, joyful, and resilient. Caroline's story is just one of the many individuals who have benefited from the collaboration between JCADA and the FJC.
Since 2014, JCADA has been an onsite partner at the FJC. One day a week, a JCADA clinician provides free individual counseling to help survivors, like Caroline, heal from their trauma. The advocates at the FJC are also able to refer clients to access JCADA’s counseling, legal and case management services at JCADA’s confidential office. Many victims of domestic abuse feel overwhelmed when trying to access all the services available to them. Through its partnership with the FJC, JCADA envisions a future in survivors of domestic abuse who seek support will be able to lead safer and healthier lives and move forward on their roads to recovery.
In addition to providing support services, JCADA also works collaboratively with the FJC and the Montgomery County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) on its prevention efforts through the annual Choose Respect Conference. JCADA helps to promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating abuse at the conference, through its signature AWARE® workshops, It's Not Love® and #healthyfriendships.
For more than 17 years, JCADA has been a crucial member of the domestic violence services community in the Greater Washington area. Through its free lifesaving counseling services, JCADA has empowered hundreds of survivors, like Caroline and so many others who seek support at the FJC, to obtain safer living environments for themselves and their children. JCADA tailors its services to address the cultural and religious barriers that are common to Jewish and other religious and ethnic minorities. JCADA has become a pillar in the community for survivors of domestic violence of all races, national origins, abilities, backgrounds, faiths, genders or sexual orientation. JCADA is proud to be one of the many agencies working collaboratively in the community to alleviate some of the burdens that victims face.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the client.