October has been designated Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. For many, home is anything but a sanctuary during COVID-19; we have seen a spike in the incidence of abuse and violence. Lockdowns may have ended with Florida’s Phase 3 Reopening, but the abuse will not stop, and our education and prevention work must continue.

At Alpert JFS, we provide domestic abuse services, an online support group and community education, plus offer a teen dating abuse and bullying prevention program to help educate the youth in our community about healthy relationships.

Our Domestic abuse Program helps victims identify abuse, create a personalized safety plan, and provides direction to local and out-of-state domestic abuse resources. Alpert JFS mental health professionals conduct workshops for synagogues, organizations and teen groups designed to teach warning signs and end the cycle of abuse. Additionally, consultations with employers are offered, related to the effects of domestic abuse in the workplace, workplace safety, and how to assist an employee who may be experiencing abuse.

The “Women in High Conflict Relationships,” support groups, held via Zoom on Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. or Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m., enable participants to learn about abuse, power/control, how to identify red flags and unhealthy relationships, and the characteristics of an abuser, as well as how to set boundaries, increase self-esteem, and practice self-care. A 10-week commitment is required of participants. To register for the group or for questions about the program people need to call the Alpert JFS Chai Line at 561-684-1991.

The “Relationships and Decisions Teen Trainer Program” develops Jewish teen leaders to teach other Jewish adolescents about healthy relationships, stereotypes, and self-esteem, in the hopes of preventing bullying and abusive dating relationships.

We invite you to be a part of KOLOT (Hebrew for “voices”), a coalition of representatives from Jewish and other community organizations, professionals, and volunteers. The group is on a mission to end abuse and encourage help seeking, through awareness and education, including accessible informational materials for victims, community education, and events. See the coalition’s powerful video against domestic abuse at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRoLWjPq3m4&list=PLi4BZg8kHxPGxC_9gESg329K3bHRe39VW&index=1

“I want to send a thank you to Alpert JFS staff and volunteers, who have been with us to end the cycle of abuse,” said Program Director of Domestic Abuse Sara Walsh, who facilities “Women in High Conflict Relationships”. “Together we can continue to raise awareness about domestic abuse in the Jewish community, and nationwide. I hope you’ll join us on February 16, 2021 for the 17th Annual ‘No Excuse for Abuse’ event, which is going virtual this year!”

To learn more about the domestic abuse support  services of Alpert JFS, visit https://www.alpertjfs.org/for-adults/domestic-abuse-support/ or phone 561-684-1991.

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