About JBWS


Learn more about our mission and why we are called JBWS


Discover how JBWS was founded and how our programs were developed


Learn how many people have benefited from JBWS' services

Who We Are: 

JBWS is a private, nonprofit agency that provides safety, support, and solutions for abuse for anyone who lives or works in primarily Morris County, NJ and faces the issues of intimate partner abuse. More than 75 paid staff and nearly 200 volunteers work together with the help of the community to fulfill the agency mission.


Our Mission is the prevention of domestic violence through the protection and empowerment of the victim, the rehabilitation of family members, the advocacy for social reform to prevent partner violence, and the education of the public about domestic violence and its consequences.


JBWS Diversity Values Statement

Quilt made by JBWS' survivors of domestic abuse
Quilt made by JBWS' survivors of domestic abuse

Why Did We Change Our Name?

In 2019, we changed our name from Jersey Battered Women’s Service to JBWS to accurately reflect our mission to serve all people impacted by abuse. We recognized that the term “battered women” not only excluded other gender identities who experience domestic violence but also didn’t acknowledge the numerous forms of abuse that are not physical.


Domestic violence is not exclusive to any single population. Women, men, and members of the transgender, non-binary, or gender nonconforming community may all experience abuse. Changing our name was done to ensure ALL people feel welcome seeking services from JBWS.


Get the Facts: 

Learn more about domestic abuse by visiting our Get the Facts page. 


Learn How Domestic Violence Intersects With..

Did you know that people with disabilities are 3x more likely to experience violence than someone without a disability? Or that 76% of all domestic violence homicide victims had also been stalked in the year before their murder?


If not, visit our "How Domestic Violence Intersects With..." page to learn more about how abuse is perceived in numerous different populations and how that may impact how readily someone experiencing abuse may reach out for assistance.

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"Inside JBWS' shelter, my life was saved; my wounds were healed. I survived the war. “


JBWS' History: 

Two years before the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence was formed, a group of courageous women decided that enough was enough. They were going to take the matter of preventing domestic violence into their own hands and created a grassroots organization called Jersey Battered Women’s Service (now known as JBWS) in March of 1976. 


With little to no resources available to victims of domestic violence in Morris County, these women formed a helpline and turned their own homes into makeshift safe houses. It was in these informal, communal spaces that the earliest JBWS clients were able to find shelter. As the organization grew, the demand for housing increased while access to it decreased. In a tragic oversight, the press revealed the location of JBWS’s largest makeshift safe house in 1977, forcing its doors to close. After its shutdown, two women who utilized these services were murdered by their husbands. 


These tragedies underscored the importance of having a designated, discrete, and secure shelter for victims of domestic violence so, on December 26, 1978, JBWS opened the organization’s emergency shelter, now known as Arbour House. While we have since transitioned from housing victims in personal homes to a 33-bed safe house and an 11-unit apartment building, the core tenet of JBWS remains unchanged: we do everything in our power to help those in need.

Legal Advocacy:

Once the immediate need for safety, shelter, and housing was met, JBWS began to realize the necessity of assisting clients with a plethora of legal issues and established the legal advocacy services in the spring of 1987. For many victims, the journey of receiving services proves to be too difficult as they become burdened with going from place to place. In the process, many lose hope and return to their abusive situations.


To ensure each victim has access to comprehensive assistance in one place, JBWS opened the Morris Family Justice Center (MFJC) in 2016. In addition to legal assistance, culturally specific services, and children’s services, the MFJC provides counseling, advocacy, and safety planning for dating and domestic abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking.


Addressing the Source: 

Recognizing that domestic violence cannot be prevented unless abuse is addressed at its source, JBWS launched the Abuse Ceases Today (ACT) program in 1983. Designed to help men examine their use of control, force, and /or abuse within intimate relationships, this pioneering program led to the implementation of a female equivalent, known as VISTA, in 2003, and later the CHOICES program for boys, aged 12-17, who have used abuse toward their partners or family members.

An ACT client receives counseling in the 80s
An ACT client receives counseling in the 80s

Our Impact: 

calls were made to JBWS' 24-Hour Helpline

people received critical legal advocacy services

interventions were conducted by the Crisis Response Team

adults and children found protection at JBWS' Emergency Safe House

"My children couldn’t have made it without you. You helped me to believe in myself so I could live free, safe, and happy. Thank you." - Survivor, Safe House

“Before JBWS' Dating Abuse Prevention Program (DAPP), I never knew that abuse could be that bad or how to help someone experiencing abuse." - DAPP workshop attendee 

"I knew the group was working when my son ran to me when I came through the door rather than away from me." - Group Member, Jersey Center for Non-Violence 

"When I first came [to JBWS] I was in a fog, totally frustrated, totally afraid. I felt I was unique, the only one with this problem. Then I realized everyone here has been called the same names, everyone has been hit. There are people here who understand what you’ve been through and don’t look down at you because you’re a battered woman." -Survivor, Safe House

"I was able to celebrate my first holiday with my kids in my own, safe place thanks to JBWS’ Rapid Rehousing Program" - Survivor, Rapid Rehousing Program

"I found one place for protection from abuse, support, legal advice, and children's counseling. I found ONE place to heal." - Survivor, JBWS' Morris Family Justice Center 

"My happy ending is now, moving on and moving forward, domestic violence-free." - Survivor, Adult Counseling Services 

"I remember the staff at JBWS teaching me how to become a kid again. I no longer had to play the role of caretaker for my siblings, that was the staff’s job. I could focus on my artwork, run around outside until I dropped with exhaustion, and play table games in the kitchen.” - Former Child Survivor,  Safe House

"I am alive today because of JBWS." - Survivor, Transitional Living Program

Survivor Stories