By Bill Parry – Times Ledger
The Queens Family Justice Center in Kew Gardens has been selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to be the first of six sites in the nation to launch a pilot program for victims of domestic violence who have suffered multiple forms of trauma, or polyvictimization. The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence received a $650,000 grant to develop the NYC Polyvictimization Collaborative Project to ensure victims of violence have full comprehensive support.
Polyvictimization specifically refers to an individual who has experienced different types of victimization within their lifetime—such as child abuse, sex abuse, stalking and bullying.
“For domestic violence victims, physical or emotional abuse is often just one of many traumas. To help survivors rebuild their lives, we must recognize the many ways they have suffered so that our remedies do not compound or complicate their struggle,” said Chirlane McCray, chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund and co-chair of the city’s new domestic violence taskforce.
Current research findings regarding polyvictims highlight the importance of early screening and intervention to prevent the development of severe health outcomes and future revictimization. The grant will enable service providers at the center to screen survivors of intimate partner violence for all forms of victimizations to ensure that they are connected with appropriate and comprehensive services to meet their needs.
“Queens has the highest domestic violence conviction rate and the lowest dismissal rate in the city of New York, thanks to the dedication of organizations and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “We have the most diverse support services for survivors in the city—including the Queens Family Justice Center—and have been committed to holding abusers accountable to the fullest extent of the law. I commend the mayor for launching the polyvictimization screenings first here in Queens at our Family Justice Center, which will significantly augment their important work.”
The project will convene working groups of a diverse cross-section of service providers and community stakeholders to learn more about the needs of polyvictims and discuss best practices around the design and implementation of the screening tool. Following the development of the pilot version of the screening tool, it will be integrated into the current screening practices at the justice center and will be utilized by city-contracted screening, case management and children’s services staff, as well as by other on-site partners.
If a client is identified as a polyvictim, providers will work with the client to consider what additional supportive services they might need.
“This new project is a life line for survivors of intimate partner violence living in our city,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “By offering holistic support to people who have repeatedly experienced this trauma, we will put an end to this cycle of abuse. I am heartened by this development and will continue to work alongside my colleagues in government to better serve this vulnerable population.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr
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