A ceremony marking National Crime Victims’ Rights Week took place Tuesday at the New Jersey Justice Complex in Trenton.
Several speakers offered stories about their victimization — and how they overcame those situations.
Monmouth County resident Colleen Duffy says she suffered a brain injury and multiple bruises when her husband attacked her on the beach at a state park.
“That night, as the adrenalin subsided and all the pain started, I knew I had been seriously injured, but my first thought was to get to the courthouse and get a restraining order,” Duffy said. “The fear of my husband was stronger than taking care of my bodily injuries.”
Duffy says she was anxious and didn’t want to leave home for months after the attack. After getting counseling from a victims support group, she’s reclaimed her life and has a lifelong restraining order against her attacker.
Nancy of Ocean County said she was a victim of an unscrupulous financial adviser.
After Nancy, who declined to use her last name, turned over her savings and pension, the investment adviser took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity loans on Nancy’s home.
“There was no way to get the money from her because they could not find it. So I moved out of that house. The township wants to put me in jail if I don’t do anything with the house because Sandy had some problems with it,” she said.
Authorities say Nancy might be able to get her money back from the adviser, who is now in prison. And thanks to the help she’s getting from a victims’ assistance group, Nancy said she no longer feels like a victim.
While authorities can’t undo what happens to victims, getting them justice can help them recover, said New Jersey Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig.