In this issue:
Welcome from Interim Executive 1
Director Mary K. Comtois
Partner Spotlight: Baker Victory 2
Strength of a Survivor 2
The Volunteer Corner 3 May 2007 Volume II, Issue V
Volunteer Spotlight: CaTyra 3
FJC Program & Partner Updates 4
ECCAFV: A Brief History 5
Community Calendar 5 On May 2nd, 2007 the Family Justice Center of Erie County, Inc. will be celebrating its first year
FJC in the Community 6 in operation. In the first year we have already served over 800 persons who were the victims of
domestic and intimate partner violence. In the effort to end family and intimate partner
violence it is important to recognize all of the people who have played such an integral role here
at the FJC. It would be difficult to name each and every person who serves here at the FJC and
at each of our offsite partner agencies, but know that your work does not go unnoticed or
8th Judicial District Courts unappreciated. The work to end family and intimate partner violence is long and hard; and
Buffalo Police Department - SOS
through your efforts we are making a change for the better, thank you.
Child & Family Services - Haven House
Episcopal Diocese of WNY You must be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Gandhi
EC District Attorney
EC Sheriff’s Office
International Institute of Buffalo Welcome from Interim Executive Director
Neighborhood Legal Services
UB Family Medicine, Inc.
Mary K. Comtois
OFFSITE PARTNERS This month, we said farewell to Nathan E. Cook. He left our area to pursue a wonderful new
Baker Victory Services opportunity and I know he cherishes his experiences with the Family Justice Center. Nathan
Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network brought the FJC to life, working closely with the board and partner agencies and we are grateful
Buffalo VA Hospital - Women’s Center for his dedication to the center. With Nathan leaving, I am fortunate to be returning. Like
Catholic Charities returning home after an extended leave, I’m happy to be back to the work of the Family Justice
Child & Adolescent Treatment Services
Center, and especially, to be working with everyone contributing to its success. For those of you
Child & Family Help of America, Inc.
who don’t know me, my name is Mary K. Comtois and I am serving as the interim Executive
Community Services for the
Director for the Family Justice Center.
Deaf Adult Services
I became involved with the FJC because of my position as Vice President of Community Impact at
EC Central Police Services
EC Coalition Against Family Violence
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, the organization loaning me temporarily to the FJC. For
EC Department of Health many years, I worked with the steering committee to plan and
EC Department of Senior Services implement a one-stop center for victims of family violence. It was a
EC Department of Social Services concept for most of time I was involved, so returning to see it
ECC One Stop Training & Employment in action is exciting and rewarding.
Every Person Influences Children
Gateway Longview The Family Justice Center is experiencing its first transition in
Gay & Lesbian Youth Services staff leadership. We all know that transitions can be exciting
Horizon Health Services and scary. Thankfully, there is a strong board, staff and
Jewish Family Services partner agencies to steer the FJC through this period of time.
Lakeshore Behavioral Health, Inc.
In the end, the center will be a stronger organization, able to
Mid-Erie Counseling & Treatment
meet new challenges, and will remain a beacon of hope for
Native American Community Services
victims of intimate partner violence.
Pride Center of Buffalo, Inc.
I’m delighted to be a part of this transition period and
SUNY at Buffalo Law School
welcome your input. If you have any questions, concerns or
SUNY at Buffalo School of Social Work
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County ideas, please feel free to contact me at 558-5270 or
Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc. email@example.com. I look forward to working with you
West Seneca Youth Bureau AmeriCorps over the next few months.
Pa r t n e r S p o t l i g h t : B a k e r V i c t o r y O u t p a t i e n t C l i n i c
By: Alicia Laible
May is National Mental Health Awareness Currently at the center they have three particularly interesting because it helps
Month and as such the FJC would like to full time therapists, eight per diem see the world through the eyes of the
spotlight one of our off-site partner therapists, two part time therapists and child. How they play and relate with the
agencies, Baker Victory Outpatient Clinic. two enhancement case planners. toys provides the therapist and thus the
Brian Labella, Director of the Clinic, sat parents with a better understanding of
down with me to explore what a typical The Clinic serves adolescents 5 to 19 what their child is thinking and feeling.
day at the center consists of and to give a through family, individual and group
little insight into what a client might counseling. An especially important part Brian finds the partnership between the
expect. of their work is how they relate not only FJC and the Outpatient Clinic beneficial
to the children but also to the because both agencies focus on the whole
Brian has been with the Outpatient Clinic parents. Although the focus is on family and improved quality of life. We
now for 11 years, and prior to that he children they also teach parents how to are able to provide more extensive
worked in adult mental health for 10 better cope and interact with their child. mental health counseling for the parents
years. He says the most rewarding part The therapists help with parenting skills and act as a referral source for the
of his job is seeing the improvement in and provide wrap-around services for a children of our clients. We look forward
families and getting the chance to work therapeutic alliance. They use a variety to our continued partnership in working
with such talented people like his staff of therapy techniques including talk, to end Family Violence.
and other professionals in the field. play, art and BSFT. The Play therapy is
S t r e n g t h o f a S u r v i v o r : Yo u C a n H e a l To o … ( T h e I n t r o d u c t i o n )
FULL STORY AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST - E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you really want to know what I have agency that I used to work for; and he a victim over and over again to the point
been through? I will tell you, literally… actually propositioned me when I asked where I almost lost my sanity.
Hell. him about finding an apartment for me.
How could there be no services available A little over 3 years after the divorce I
I have experienced unimaginable abuse for me and my family? Is this what began to date again; luckily this time I
and heartache throughout my life. After victims and their children must face? noticed the signs and was able to get out
reading this I hope you will learn from my before things got worse. I once again fell
experiences as I tell of the horror, These events, being homeless and into dating men who used me for
disgust, and recovery that I lived searching for help, were proceeded by an everything they could without ever once
through. This is simply an introduction to abusive marriage to my now ex-husband. asking me what I needed in return. One
my whole story, You Can Heal Too..., He had controlled me from the time we of the men I dated stalked me and even
which you can request a copy of through were dating until he finally pressured me had a GPS secretly installed on my car to
the Family Justice Center by e-mailing into marriage; and his grip on me only track my every move. Through this mess
email@example.com . became firmer once we were married. I learned that just because someone has
During this time I had two children with a prominent title does not mean they are
I went through life with parents that him and one from a previous relationship. a good person, and that warnings signs
were not supportive, telling me that I I used to pray he would hit me because it are always there.
was incapable of achieving a college was better than the emotional and
education; which I did. I started a psychological torture I endured. While I My main reason in writing my story is for
business that initially was making $250 a was planning to leave, he tried to drown everyone to see and understand why we
week and grew to making over 1 million a me, chased and ran me off the road, and need the Family Justice Center (FJC).
year in profits. I was a business woman, put a gun to my head - I took out an When I was going through my ordeal
dedicated mother to my children and had Order of Protection (OP) against him. I there was no FJC; there was no central
a large home built in Clarence as well as thought the torture would end once I left location for victims to go to get the help
other investments. I went from having the relationship but it did not stop there. they needed and deserved. The people
everything to living in my car with my at the FJC are needed for their courage,
children for 3 months with no support The legal process I then went through for help, knowledge, understanding, and
from family or friends. When I sought the divorce and custody proceedings was most importantly their compassion. I
services I was told there was a 6 month just as abusive and damaging as my pray that when you read my full story you
waiting period for a shelter, a testament former relationship. I could not hold a will learn something from my personal
to the need for domestic violence job because of the court dates, experiences of being the eternal victim
services in this community. I then went scheduled court psychologist visits and turned survivor who now sees the future
to an official at a prominent real estate taking care of my disabled son. I became and all the beauty it possesses.
T h e Vo l u n t e e r C o r n e r & C h a p l a i n c y U p d a t e s
By: Rev. Janet Hubbard
I want to express my deep gratitude and The position as the Chaplaincy Program position at the FJC. The Center currently
appreciation to each of the wonderful Manager & Volunteer Training Specialist has three on-call chaplains: Rev. Alicia
volunteers who give of their time and will be restructured into the position of a Blake, Dolores Bernadoni and Rev. Leann
talent each week to help the clients and Volunteer Coordinator. What does this McConchie who are available for clients
staff of the Family Justice Center. The mean for the Chaplaincy/Spiritual Care as needed. The Center also has 3 on-site
Center currently has 26 trained Component of the Family Justice Center? chaplains: Deacon Vivian Waltz, Rev.
volunteers who have completed the 11 Jerome Livingstone and April Arman who
hours of training required by the FJC. First and foremost, the Spiritual Care rotate days at the Center. I wish to
Several volunteers are also close to Provider program will continue. With the thank each of these individuals for the
completing their additional 39 hours of input of the Interfaith Partnership against gift of their time and talents and I look
training that are required by the end of Family Violence, a newly formed group of forward to future work with the
their first year of service. As a group of clergy and lay representatives from Interfaith Partnership in addressing the
individuals they stand out for their diverse Faith communities, a Chaplain spiritual needs of people struggling with
dedication and willingness to serve at the Supervisor will soon be in place at the family violence.
Family Justice Center in any way needed. Center as the FJC continues
They are a gifted group of artists, bakers, to recruit and train
gardeners, and care givers who also take chaplains / spiritual
time out to let clients at the FJC know care providers who
that there is life after crisis. can address the
spiritual distress and
As I go on to other opportunities which questions which arise
God will provide, I invite you to stay in in victims of family
touch and if I can be of any service to any violence. With the
of you in my capacity as a United dedicated efforts of
Methodist Minister or as a social worker, the Episcopal
please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I Diocese of WNY and
look with optimism towards the changes other Faith Partners
in my personal life as I do the changes grants are being
occurring within the Volunteer applied for that
Department of the Family Justice Center. would fund this
Vo l u n t e e r S p o t l i g h t : C a Ty ra Po l l a n d
Hi. My name is CaTyra Polland and I am a the Northeastern University in Boston,
junior at the University at Buffalo, MA. I am looking forward to continuing
pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in my education at the graduate level, and
Sociology and Spanish. As an intern at ultimately plan on becoming an employee
the Family Justice Center I have been of the federal government upon receiving
trained as a Safe-Line Worker, Intake my Master’s degree.
Specialist, and Hospitality Escort/
Receptionist. Being cross-trained in My internship concludes this month and
several capacities has helped broaden my before leaving I wanted all of you to
understanding of the Family Justice know how much I have learned and
Center, its operations, and the enjoyed my experience at the FJC. My
responsibilities of its staff and partners. interactions with the staff who have been
helpful, supportive and encouraging; and
When I graduate in 2008 from the the clients, who come to the agency in a
University of Buffalo I intend on time of crisis have provided me with an
continuing my education at the graduate inspirational internship experience. My
level. At the present time I am thanks to one and all for making this
interested in the Criminology program at possible.
F J C P r o g ra m U p d a t e s : T h e A t h e n a P r o j e c t
By: Jackie Gugino, Nurse Practitioner, UB Family Medicine Inc.
The UB Family Medicine Forensic Medical Unit, the Family Justice Center, and the UB School of Psychology are thrilled to present
the Athena Project. The Athena project is collaboration with the UB School of Psychology’s Dr. Gail Beck, a local and national ex-
pert on post traumatic stress disorder. The Athena Project was brought about as another resource option for our clients as we strive
to provide them with the services they need while remaining committed to learning more about Intimate Partner Violence and the
underlying experiences lived by those victimized by it. Post traumatic stress can be experienced by victims of IPV, however re-
search is lacking in this particular area.
The Athena Project takes willing clients through a specific, yet broad and intense assessment that covers an array of subjects includ-
ing childhood experiences, current and past relationships, anxiety, depression, trauma, and drug abuse. The assessment provides
the client with a “blue print” for areas they may want to concentrate on in counseling, and helps them identify the roots of their
current distress. The Athena Project is an exciting new resource for all of us who care for victims of IPV as we appreciate the
unique and individual story that each person tells. This project will better our understanding of our clients so that we may advo-
cate, care for, and provide resources effectively for them and their loved ones. For more information about the Athena Project
please contact Jackie Gugino at the Family Justice Center, 716-558-5290.
F J C P r o g ra m U p d a t e s : C h i l d & Fa m i l y H e l p o f A m e r i c a
By: Lisa Binsley, FJC Program Development
The Family Justice Center of Erie County, development of both children and their Child & Family is located at 3385 Bailey
Inc. is happy to announce that it recently families. Child & Family Help currently Ave in Buffalo, NY. For more information
signed a new memorandum of provides 23 wrap around services please contact CFHA at 716-348-3760.
understanding (MOU) with Child & Family including mentoring, job training,
Help of America, Inc. As of April 26, 2007 psychiatric review, family therapy, coed
Child & Family Help of America, Inc day camp, and supervised visitation for
became the newest offsite partner for children and families. The agency strives
the FJC. Jacqueline Mines (see picture to enhance, rebuild and restore family
right), President/CEO/Founder of Child & relationships through life training skills
Family Help offered the services at Child for individuals and families of all ages
& Family Help of America to any clients and backgrounds.
referred from the FJC.
The partnership of Child & Family Help of
Child & Family Help of America provides America with the Family Justice Center is
quality comprehensive services to its essential in giving clients hope, hope for
clients working towards positive moral the future and in rebuilding their lives.
To p i c o f I n t e r e s t : Wa r ra n t C a r d s
By: LT. David Mann, Buffalo Police Department, Sex Offense Squad
Warrant cards are forms used by the Buffalo Police Department to expedite the process of issuing an arrest warrant based on the
complaint of a victim and the crime report completed by a patrol officer, when an arrest cannot be made at the time of the initial
report. The victim brings the warrant card to the Warrant Clerk’s Office in City Court, and a Judge then issues an arrest warrant for
the suspect. The warrant card is very useful for many kinds of criminal cases, such as petty thefts. However, for domestic violence
cases, the principles of victim safety and offender accountability are best served by referring victims to the Family Justice Center,
where the full array of services, investigation, and enhanced prosecution are available to victims of violence.
Commissioner McCarthy Gipson has directed all patrol officers who issue warrant cards to victims of domestic violence in the City of
Buffalo to provide information about the Family Justice Center, and to direct those victims to bring the warrant cards to the FJC.
This new procedure has already resulted in improved service for a number of victims, and increased the number of clients accessing
the services provided by the partners at the Family Justice Center.
E C C A F V - A B r i e f H i s t o r y o f t h e C o a l i t i o n ’s E a r l y Ye a r s
By: Kristen Luppino, MSW, Domestic Violence Community Coordinator
In planning the direction we all move as a group decided that the Coalition and the decision was made to fold Haven
community, it is critically important that Haven House would be designated as the House under Child & Family Services,
we know where we all came from. It was entities planning and providing services thereby making the Coalition its own
not until 1978 that the New York State for victims of domestic violence. Haven stand-alone body.
Legislature passed laws that made it House had its grand opening on May 14th,
possible to open shelters in the state. In 1979. The shelter was full within one Nationally, the structural development of
January of that year, Child and Family week! By June 1st, Haven House had the Domestic Violence Movement
Services, the Salvation Army, Junior served 47 women and children, with 5 happened quickly, enabling shelter staff
League, and Catholic Charities met to women and two children on a waiting list. and Coalition leadership around the
discuss the need to develop a shelter for Around that same time, it was country to learn from each other and
victims of domestic violence in Erie determined that the Coalition would share successes. The multidisciplinary
County. Within months, this group regularly meet on the second Friday of nature of domestic violence work posed a
formalized their work and called each month, a practice that continues to challenge for many locations throughout
themselves the Erie County Coalition for this day! the U.S. however, within Erie County,
Victims of Domestic Violence. From the professionals and grassroots activists had
start, the number one priority of the Haven House and the Coalition worked been working together in harmony and
Coalition was always the safety of victims during the early parts of the battered unity from the beginning. Indeed, even
and their children. To that end, they women’s movement to ensure today, different groups continue to
quickly found a safe and confidential comprehensive services were being participate in the Coalition and bring
location for the shelter, later named developed to serve victims of domestic their different perspectives with them,
Haven House, which became its home for violence and their children in all but the membership has worked hard to
the next 25 years. segments of the community. In the stay true to the core purpose of the
beginning, the Coalition was almost Coalition: victim safety and self-
The early coalition was essentially a exclusively comprised of human service determination.
Board of Directors for Haven House. The organizations. Finally, in April of 1983,
Community Calendar MAY 2007
S M T W T F S
MAY IS NATIONAL MENTAL
1 2 3 4 5
HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2 Volunteer Luncheon / Pizza Party @ FJC 12-1pm
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
4 A Day of Conversation: Interpersonal Violence Among
Young Adults @ Buffalo State College 8:30am-4:30pm 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
TO REGISTER CONTACT KIM JABLONSKI
firstname.lastname@example.org 27 28 29 30 31
8 Erie County Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
Luncheon @ Buffalo Convention Center 11am-1pm CALL
UPCOMING EVENTS IN JUNE
DEBORAH PORTER FOR INFORMATION 716-898-6134
6 ECCAFV Annual Meeting: Sharing the Real Story @
10 LGBT Intimate Partner Violence: Community Education Shanghai Red’s 11:30am REGISTRATION/LUNCH $25
& Awareness @ FJC 1-4pm FREE - OPEN TO PUBLIC
8 It Happened To Alexa Foundation Dinner @ Niagara
CONTACT ALICIA LAIBLE 716-558-5295 OR
Falls County Club 6pm CALL 716-754-9105
11 ECCAFV meeting @ United Way 9-11am 15 Ageism in our Culture & Community: World Elder
Abuse Awareness Day @ Amherst Senior Center
21 Human Trafficking Training Seminars CONTACT MOLLY 9:15am-12pm CONTACT JENNIFER MANTIONE AT
SHULTES FOR INFORMATION 518-485-5304 858-2117 OR email@example.com
* Any questions about events please contact Lisa Binsley 716-558-5291, or e-mail Kristen Luppino firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Justice Center of FJC in the Community
Erie County, Inc.
On April 25th the Family Justice Center of
Erie County, Inc. and the Pride Center of
237 Main Street, Suite 1400
Buffalo, NY 14203 Western NY hosted a training on Lesbian,
Phone: 716-558-SAFE Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Intimate
Employee Line: 716-558-5261 Partner Violence (IPV). The training lasted
Fax: 716-558-5260 from 9am-4pm with speakers covering
Email: email@example.com many topics including: basic IPV, gender
roles and sex identity in our society, the
transgender experience, legal issues LGBT
persons face in IPV situations, and how
Pride in the Pulpit is bringing awareness of
IPV to the faith communities. The
Where Families Come First &
presenters were Diane E. Elze, Camille
Professionals Come Together Hopkins, Remla Parthasarathy, and Rev.
Cameron Miller. Laura Grube also
presented, giving an update on behalf of the
LGBT Domestic Violence Task Force in the
We’re on the Web!
www.fjcsafe.org The training, organized by Lisa Binsley and
Alicia Laible of the FJC and Leigh Farmer of
MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE the Pride Center, had over 45 attendees
CONTRIBUTION PAYABLE TO: from many of the local community agencies.
The Family Justice Center of Erie To each of our presenters as well as to the
County, Inc. Mail contribution staff and volunteers of the FJC who gave so
c/o Jackie Mullen, or, simply visit much of themselves to put this event
the FJC website and use our se- together, thank you. We would also like to
cure online PayPal method. thank Quaker Bonnet Eatery, located at 175
Allen Street who so graciously donated the
wonderful pastries and snacks that were
available during the training.
SAFE On May 10th, the FJC & the Pride Center
will be hosting an open community event
From top to bottom: Paul Gevirtzman Program
Coordinator FJC, Diane Elze, Alicia Laible, and
Lisa Binsley; Camille Hopkins during her presenta-
on IPV. Please see the Community
ZONE Calendar for more information.
tion; Presenters Remla Parthasarathy, Rev. Cam-
eron Miller, and Camille Hopkins.
The demographics are from G E T I N V O LV E D !
If you have any information or news that you would like to add to the monthly
January 1, 2007 through April
newsletter, please send submissions to Lisa Binsley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Clients 296 Write “FJC Newsletter Article” in the subject line. Articles should be submitted
by the 15th of each month. All articles are subject to review and editing.
Return Clients 128
UB Forensic Medical 51
Children 71 S PREAD T HE W ORD!
If you or someone you know would like to subscribe directly tothe FJC Newslet-
ter please send an e-mail with “FJC Monthly Newsletter Subscription” in the
Tour Participants 36 subject line to email@example.com
This project was supported by Grant No. 2004-WE-AX-K010 awarded by the Office
on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings,
conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/ exhibi-
tion are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.