Annual Sunset Walk in Millville held for domestic violence victims

Don E. Woods/South Jersey Times
Monday, October 21, 2013

MILLEVILLE - Friday evening, the Center for Family Services and the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office teamed up to sponsor the Third Annual Domestic Violence Sunset Walk.

Held during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Sunset Walk lasts a mile from Glasstown Plaza down through High Street.

"If the victim needs safe housing, counseling or crisis intervention; we are the people that provide that service," said Gina Ridge, program director for the center's Services Empowering Rights of Victims (SERV) program.

SERV acts as the designated service provider for domestic violence victims in Cumberland and Gloucester counties.

Ridge chose Millville's monthly Third Friday event to have the Sunset Walk, in order to get their message out to the most people.

"We want everybody to come and want to crate awareness with people who would never come in contact with us," Ridge said. "If, perchance, one day they know somebody or ever cross paths with someone they can say,‘I know there is a program for that.'"

The Vineland Police Department, Millville Police Department and New Jersey State Police participated in Friday night's walk.

During the event, state troopers collected donated cell phones for the Verizon Hopeline program, which distributes phones to victims of domestic violence to be sure they have the ability to call for help if needed.

Domestic violence is a prevalent issue in Cumberland County, according to Vineland Police Capt. Tom Ulrich.

"There's probably a good number of unreported incidents because of the cycle of violence repeating," Ulrich said.

The Vineland Police Department works closely with the Center for Family Services and the victims they encounter.

"We're just basically in a support mode where we ask our officers and direct them to give information about SERV on all domestic violence calls," the captain said.

SERV is non-profit program that depends mostly on volunteers. The volunteers in the Domestic Violence Response Team serve as advocates for woman who are victims of domestic violence and assist them in getting out of their abusive relationship.

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