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NJ Safe & Sound - NJ Safe and Sound

 



For Every Person, for Every Family —
Protection Under the Law from the
Psychological Abuse of Undue Influence and Predatory Alienation


News


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Signs Measure Designed to Study and
Safeguard Against Predatory Alienation

Law represents milestone victory for NJ Safe & Sound, which encouraged
lawmakers to enact legal protection for society’s vulnerable,
notably teenagers and seniors

TEANECK, NJ – May 12, 2017 – Since 2012, NJ Safe & Sound volunteers have been educating the public about predatory alienation stemming from coercive control and other forms of extreme undue influence, encouraging New Jersey lawmakers to offer legal recourse against such psychological abuse. On May 8,Governor Chris Christie signed S2562/A4244 into law, marking an important first step in addressing this issue. The bill had robust bipartisan support, attracting nine sponsors from both sides of the aisle in the Senate and seven in the Assembly. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously.

Co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) and Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-District 39) last fall, the bill was initially referred to the Senate’s Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, chaired by Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-District 19).  

Said Senator Weinberg this week: “I am glad we were able to get this bill passed into law. Predatory alienation is not very well understood in our society or in our courts today. This bill provides a path for study and understanding, and hopefully better outcomes for the young adults and senior citizens who are often the subject of this alienation.”

"Predatory alienation is a type of coercive control that is often seen in domestic violence, human trafficking, and financial scams involving vulnerable populations," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-District 37), who took the lead on moving the bill through the Assembly. "It is heartbreaking and devastating for the victims and needs to be understood better so we can more effectively combat it."

The measure that Governor Christie signed into law requires the departments of Children and Families and Human Services to study the tactics used by predators to manipulate individuals, creating a wall between them and their family and friends. Study findings and recommendations are due to the Governor and Legislature within six months.

“Perpetrators using predatory alienation can destroy relationships, devastate families, and make off with the victim’s money and assets,” said Assemblyman Robert Auth (R-District 39), another of the bill’s primary sponsors. “Victims of this diabolical exploitation fall prey to emotional and psychological coercion. The psychological attacks leave them disoriented, disconnected from family members and loved ones, and easily manipulated.”

Predatory alienation is the purposeful disruption of an existing relationship, often through deception, that isolates an individual from the people he or she trusts, to exploit, control, or take advantage of that individual.

NJ Safe & Sound notes that families that have been affected by predatory alienation know that it can take many forms and can affect people of any age, regardless of upbringing, education, and mental capacity. Teenagers making the transition to adulthood and senior citizens are among the most vulnerable.

Extremists, human traffickers, abusive partners, gangs, cults, swindlers, and other corrupt individuals and groups exert undue influence to exploit the trust, dependency, and fear of their victims to gain control over their decision-making. They use coercive control to isolate their targets so they can more easily manipulate and take advantage of them. In most instances, the law offers little help in protecting victims or prosecuting perpetrators.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Center for Victims of Crime, 16- to 24-year-olds experience the highest rate of relationship violence. According to the FBI, the variety of schemes inflicted on seniors is limited only by the imagination of the con artists who offer them. Yet, under current law family members have limited rights to intervene, even if they have evidence of predatory alienation.

Educational and resource materials can be found at www.njsafeandsound.org. More information is available at www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound.

Contact:
Mary Gendron, Eric Mower + Associates
mgendron@mower.com; 212.980.9065

 


NJ Safe & Sound Lauds
Senate and Assembly Bills
Addressing Predatory Alienation

TEANECK, NJ – October 13, 2016 – S2562, a breakthrough bipartisan bill calling for a study of the impact of predatory alienation on young people and senior citizens, has been introduced into the New Jersey Senate and a companion bill, A4244, is being introduced in the Assembly. Co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) and Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-District 39), the Senate bill was referred to the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, chaired by Senator Joseph F. Vitale (Dem-District 19).

Predatory alienation is the purposeful disruption of an existing relationship, often through the use of deception, in order to isolate an individual — who is not being abused or otherwise in danger — from the people that he or she trusts, for the purpose of exploiting, controlling, or taking advantage of that individual. The bills would require the state’s Department of Children and Families and Department of Human Services to jointly study the issue and submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature within six months of the effective date of the bill. “The issue is complex. We remain committed to finding a solution,” noted Senator Weinberg.

“Predatory alienation is an issue with which I am deeply concerned,” said Senator Cardinale. “Deceptive and malicious individuals do whatever they can to scam people out of their hard-earned money, inflict physical pain and destroy whatever relationships the victims have.

“This study will help us understand how perpetrators of this heinous practice are able to isolate young people and senior citizens and turn them against their families and friends,” Senator Cardinale continued. “If we can obtain a better understanding of how they work, we can formulate a plan to fight against it.”

Since 2012 NJ Safe & Sound volunteers have been educating the public about predatory alienation stemming from coercive control and other forms of extreme undue influence, and encouraging New Jersey lawmakers to offer legal recourse against such psychological abuse.

“I’m grateful for the work of NJ Safe & Sound and for their tireless efforts in support of this bill,” said Senator Cardinale.

A Need for Legal Recourse

Families that have been affected by predatory alienation know that it can take many forms and can affect people of any age, regardless of upbringing, education, and mental capacity. Teenagers making the transition to adulthood and senior citizens are among the most vulnerable.

Extremists, human traffickers, abusive partners, gangs, swindlers, and other corrupt individuals and groups exert undue influence to exploit the trust, dependency, and fear of their victims to gain control over their decision-making. They use coercive control to isolate their targets so they can more easily manipulate and take advantage of them. In most instances, the law offers little help in protecting victims or prosecuting perpetrators.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Center for Victims of Crime, 16- to 24-year-olds experience the highest rate of relationship violence. Yet, under current law their families have limited rights to intervene, even if they have evidence of predatory alienation.

According to the FBI, the variety of schemes inflicted on seniors "is limited only by the imagination of the con artists who offer them."

The complete text of bill S2562, as well as a host of information and resources on how to avoid predatory alienation, can be found at www.njsafeandsound.org. More information is available at www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound.

Contact:
Mary Gendron, Eric Mower + Associates
mgendron@mower.com; 212.980.9065


“Spectrum of Influence” Bookmark from
NJ Safe & Sound Reminds
School-Bound
How to Avoid Coercive Control

TEANECK, NJ – August 30, 2016 – As part of its continuing “Mind-Hacking Alert” educational outreach, NJ Safe & Sound has produced a handy bookmark to remind high school and college-bound students about the various degrees of social influence and how to protect themselves from the coercive control exerted by gangs, sexual predators, swindlers, destructive cults, and other dangerous individuals and groups that target school campuses and other places where teenagers and young adults gather. 

C:\Users\paugustyn\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\FLLFRF61\Bookmark_x2.jpgFeaturing “The Spectrum of Influence,” the bookmark concisely identifies the difference between ethical influence, which leaves students in charge of their own choices, and undue influence, which fuels their fears and keeps them isolated from others.

The chart is also featured in the NJ Safe & Sound pamphlet, “Mind-Hacking Alert: A Young Adult’s Guide to Recognizing Undue Influence and Resisting Abusive Relationships.” Also available free of charge, the pamphlet explains:

• why 16- to 24-year-olds are vulnerable to the manipulation inherent in coercive control;
• the warning signs of undue influence; and
• how to avoid exploitative traps and associated predatory behaviors.

Just as a hacker can gain unauthorized access to a computer and the information it holds, an unscrupulous person can hack into another person’s mind through undue influence, according to NJ Safe & Sound. Like a computer virus, mind-hacking can corrupt memories and create false ones to isolate victims from their trusted family and friends. Young adults making the transition from high school to college are particularly vulnerable.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Center for Victims of Crime, 16- to 24-year-olds experience the highest rate of relationship violence. Yet, under current law their families have limited rights to intervene. One of the best ways adolescents and young adults can protect themselves is to sharpen the critical thinking skills detailed in “Mind-Hacking Alert.”

Since its initial offering in 2014, the NJ Safe & Sound "Mind-Hacking Alert" initiative has been embraced by a broad spectrum of colleges, high schools, health agencies, clergy, legislators, and law enforcement departments. Earlier this month, it was featured on WOBM, NJ101.5.

Requests for free copies of "The Spectrum of Influence" bookmark and the "Mind-Hacking Alert" pamphlet can be made by emailing info@njsafeandsound.org. The pamphlet also can be downloaded and printed directly from the NJ Safe & Sound website at www.njsafeandsound.org. The materials will also be made available at the Child Safety Fest sponsored by the Joan Angela D'Alessandro Memorial Foundation in Hillsdale on September 17.

NJ Safe & Sound is a volunteer organization founded in 2012 to educate the public about predatory alienation stemming from destructive manipulation (also known as extreme undue influence), and to encourage New Jersey lawmakers to offer legal recourse against such psychological abuse. Its initiatives have drawn interest from 33 states, the District of Columbia, and several foreign countries.

For more information, go to www.njsafeandsound.org or www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound.

Contact: Mary Gendron, Middleton & Gendron/Eric Mower + Associates, mgendron@mg-pr.com; 212.980.9065

“Mind-Hacking Alert” from NJ Safe & Sound
Teaches  School-Bound How to Avoid
Negative Social Influences

TEANECK, NJ – August 24, 2015 – Back-to-school preparedness is getting a boost from NJ Safe & Sound: As part of its educational outreach, the nonprofit organization is offering a free publication to teach adolescents and young adults (and those who care about them) about the various degrees of social influence and how to protect themselves from con artists, gangs, sexual predators, destructive cults, and other dangerous individuals and groups that target college campuses and other places where teenagers and young adults gather.

“Mind-Hacking Alert: A Young Adult’s Guide to Recognizing Undue Influence and Resisting Abusive Relationships”:

Just as a hacker can gain unauthorized access to a computer and the information it holds, an unscrupulous person can hack into another person’s mind through undue influence, according to NJ Safe & Sound. Like a computer virus, mind-hacking can corrupt memories and create false ones to isolate victims from their trusted family and friends. Young adults making the transition from high school to college are particularly vulnerable.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Center for Victims of Crime, 16- to 24-year-olds experience the highest rate of relationship violence. Yet, under current law their families have limited rights to protect them past a certain age. One of the best ways young adults can protect themselves is to sharpen the critical thinking skills detailed in “Mind-Hacking Alert.”

To assist New Jersey educators in preparing young people to make smart choices in their personal and professional affiliations, NJ Safe & Sound has distributed “Mind-Hacking Alert” to college and high school campuses throughout the state. A presentation geared to high-school seniors is also available to guidance departments.

Since its initial offering in 2014, the NJ Safe & Sound “Mind-Hacking Alert” initiative has been embraced by a broad spectrum of colleges, high schools, health agencies, clergy, legislators, and law enforcement departments.

Requests for free copies of “Mind-Hacking Alert” can be made by emailing info@njsafeandsound.org. The pamphlet also can be downloaded and printed directly from the NJ Safe & Sound website at www.njsafeandsound.org.

NJ Safe & Sound is a volunteer organization founded in 2012 to educate the public about predatory alienation stemming from destructive manipulation (also known as extreme undue influence), and to encourage New Jersey lawmakers to offer legal recourse against such psychological abuse. Its initiatives have drawn interest from 33 states, the District of Columbia, and several foreign countries.

For more information, go to www.njsafeandsound.org or www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound.

Contact: Mary Gendron, Middleton & Gendron/Eric Mower + Associates, mgendron@mg-pr.com; 212.980.9065

 


NJ Safe & Sound Moves to Counter
Elder Abuse With Awareness-Raising Pamphlet:
“Mind-Hacking Alert for Seniors”

Helpful, free resource offers adults age 50+ tips on protecting their assets,
relationships, and health from con artists and unscrupulous groups

TEANECK, NJ – July 13, 2015 –Continuing its mission to educate the public about extreme undue influence and predatory alienation, NJ Safe & Sound has produced “Mind-Hacking Alert for Seniors: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Undue Influence and Elder Abuse.”

Available free of charge, the useful pamphlet explains how indivi duals age 50 and over can protect themselves from the mind-hacking techniques that underlie scams, exploitative relationships and other methods that take advantage of people in their senior years.

Just as a hacker can gain unauthorized access to a computer and the information it holds, an unscrupulous person can hack into another person’s mind through undue influence, according to NJ Safe & Sound. Like a computer virus, mind-hacking can corrupt memories and create false ones. In the process, family bonds and friendships can be broken and the victims’ health ruined as well.

According to the FBI, the variety of schemes "is limited only by the imagination of the con artists who offer them."

The pamphlet’s publication follows the release of a similar resource for teenagers and young adults that has been embraced by a broad spectrum of organizations, including colleges, high schools, and health and law enforcement agencies.

“Mind-Hacking Alert for Seniors: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Undue Influence and Elder Abuse Relationships” explains:

Life experience and formal education do not guarantee immunity from the mind-hacking that can lead to elder abuse, according to NJ Safe & Sound. The best defense for those 50 and up—and those who care about them—is to familiarize themselves with the deceptive, high-pressure tactics that mind-hackers use, and learn to recognize the circumstances when they or their loved ones are most likely to be at risk.

Requests for free copies of both “Mind-Hacking Alert for Seniors: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Undue Influence and Elder Abuse” and “Mind Hacking Alert: A Young Adult’s Guide to Recognizing Undue Influence and Resisting Abusive Relationships” can be made by emailing info@njsafeandsound.org.

About NJ Safe & Sound
NJ Safe & Sound is a volunteer nonprofit organization founded in 2012 to educate the public about predatory alienation stemming from destructive manipulation (also known as extreme undue influence), and to encourage New Jersey lawmakers to offer legal recourse against such psychological abuse. Its initiatives have drawn interest from 33 states, the District of Columbia, and several foreign countries.

For more information, go to www.njsafeandsound.org or www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound.

Contact: Mary Gendron, Middleton & Gendron/Eric Mower + Associates, mgendron@mg-pr.com; 212.980.9065

 


NJ Safe & Sound Issues “Mind-Hacking Alert”

Geared to Young Adults and Adolescents,
Brochure Offers Education on Negative Social Influences

TEANECK, NJ – November 19, 2014 – As part of its educational outreach, NJ Safe & Sound has produced a brochure to teach adolescents and young adults (and those who care about them) about the various degrees of social influence and how to protect themselves from exploitative relationships and associated predatory behaviors. In its initial offering, it has been embraced by a broad spectrum of organizations and agencies including colleges, high schools, health agencies, psychologists, ministries, legislators and law enforcement professionals.

Entitled “Mind-Hacking Alert: A Young Adult’s Guide to Recognizing Undue Influence and Resisting Abusive Relationships,” the concise trifold brochure:

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and National Center for Victims of Crime, 16- to 24-year-olds experience the highest rate of relationship violence. Yet, under current law their families have limited rights to protect them past a certain age.

To assist New Jersey colleges in preparing young people to make smart choices in their personal and professional affiliations, NJ Safe & Sound has sent a copy of “Mind-Hacking Alert” to more than 80 administrators on 27 campuses around the state. Administrators have been urged to share this essential information in freshman orientation and student counseling programs, during resident assistant training, and with campus ministry and psychology department staff. Response to the brochure has been positive, with college campuses requesting hundreds of copies and mental health experts and clergy attesting to its value. The brochure is also being made available to high-school guidance departments and law enforcement and social service agencies. 

Copies of the brochure currently are available free of charge. Requests can be made by emailing info@njsafeandsound.org. The brochure also can be downloaded and printed directly from the NJ Safe & Sound website: www.njsafeandsound.org.

NJ Safe & Sound is a volunteer organization founded in 2012 to educate the public about predatory alienation stemming from destructive manipulation (also known as extreme undue influence), and to encourage New Jersey lawmakers to offer legal recourse against such psychological abuse.

Visitors to www.njsafeandsound.org can review a draft bill to protect individuals from the psychological abuse of predatory alienation, sign a petition for its passing, and fill out a questionnaire about personal experience with extreme undue influence. The site offers answers to FAQs, expert interviews, and sample letters that can be used to encourage legislators to address extreme undue influence. Given the widespread nature of this issue, the site’s resources have been repurposed well beyond the state of New Jersey. Since its launch, the site has received visitors from 32 other states, the District of Columbia, and countries around the world.

For more information, go to www.njsafeandsound.org or www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound.

Contact: Mary Gendron, Middleton & Gendron/Eric Mower + Associates, mgendron@mg-pr.com; 212.980.9065

 

 


NJ Safe & Sound Coordinates Panel Presentation at International Cultic Studies Association Annual International Conference

“Undue Influence 101: A Framework for Understanding Thought Control” will be offered at Sheraton Silver Spring on July 4th at 4:00 p.m.

TEANECK, NJ – June 10, 2014 – Suburban Washington, D.C., is the location of this year’s International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Annual International Conference and for the first time, NJ Safe & Sound will have a prominent voice at the event. A panel of experts on topics relating to thought control will be moderated by Leonia resident Mary Ann Fusco, who co-founded NJ Safe & Sound, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting legislation to protect families from undue influence.

“Undue Influence 101: A Framework for Understanding Thought Control” will be presented at the conference, which takes place July 3-5 at the Sheraton Silver Spring, Maryland. The panel is scheduled for Friday, July 4th, at 4:00 p.m.

The panel topic fits ICSA’s 2014 conference theme, which is government, human rights and the cult phenomenon, and is designed to shed light on the role of undue influence in various abusive relationships beyond destructive cults. A hallmark of these situations is the complete cut off from once-trusted family and friends. A compelling and heartfelt video posted on YouTube, currently closing in on 10,000 views, highlights this issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKx8nmKVyyI

“Parents, educators, counselors, clergy members, law enforcement professionals, and doctors are often the first people to encounter a situation in which someone is being subjected to undue influence. But they usually don’t know how such mind control works, and the psychological damage it can inflict,” says Fusco. “The panel is designed to help people outside the mental health field recognize and help in those instances.

“The panel will detail the many ways in which undue influence can hurt people of all ages and backgrounds, explain the process of thought control, explore ways to cope with its effects, and discuss what we can and should be doing as individuals and as a society to protect ourselves and our loved ones from malicious manipulation.”

The panelists are:

Bill Goldberg, a certified psychoanalyst and clinical social worker in private practice in Englewood, NJ, who specializes in treating people who have been manipulated by destructive groups. For 36 years he served as a clinical social worker and administrator with the Rockland County (NY) Department of Mental Health. For 35 years, he and his wife have led a support group for former cult members.

Steve Hassan, a licensed mental health counselor, former cult member, and director of Freedom of Mind Resource Center in Newton, MA. The author of Combatting Cult Mind Control (1988), Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves (2000), and Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs (2012), he has been interviewed by 60 Minutes, Dateline, Nightline, and CNN’s Erin Burnett, among others.

Dana Wehle, a certified psychoanalyst and licensed clinical social worker in private practice, who specializes in counseling individuals, couples, and families on loss and bereavement, as well as trauma related to undue influence. As the former administrative supervisor of the Cult Counseling Center of the Jewish Board for Family and Children's Services in New York City, she provided clinical treatment and ran a family support group for those with loved ones in cults. She guest edited ICSA’s special issue of Cultic Studies Review on the suppression of creativity in cults and has published several articles on clinical approaches to cult recovery. She currently runs a weekly therapy group on creativity and trauma and continues to offer the family support group within her private practice in New York.

Paul S. Grosswald, an attorney admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York and known for his work in fighting cultic groups. Over the past 20 years, he has presented more than 200 seminars on how people can protect themselves from undue influence and has been interviewed as an expert resource by local and national media, including Dateline NBC, Fox News Channel, WNBC-TV and Redbook.  He is on the Board of Directors of Cult Information Service, and is legal counsel to Intellectual Freedom Foundation, Inc. Currently he is the lead attorney in a case that has received national attention involving alleged predatory indoctrination of teenagers by their high school teachers.

About NJ Safe & Sound

Through its website and volunteer outreach, NJ Safe & Sound educates the public about predatory alienation and undue influence, and gathers research from families that have been traumatized by such acts. The website has drawn visitors from 32 states and the District of Columbia, Canada, Europe, and Australasia.

The website includes the text of a bill being drafted by New Jersey Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) to provide recourse against those who would attempt to destroy healthy family connections through malicious manipulation. Since being posted on the website, the draft bill has attracted interest from additional state representatives. 

Visitors to www.njsafeandsound.org can review the proposed legislation, sign a petition for its passing, and fill out a questionnaire about their own experience with a ruptured relationship. They also will find answers to FAQs, and sample letters they can use to encourage state lawmakers to support the proposed bill. Interested parties may also follow NJ Safe & Sound on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound and on Twitter @njsafeandsound.

 


On YouTube:
"I Will Always Be Your Brother"

A young adult's plea to reunite with his sole sibling, who was manipulated as a teen and alienated from all family and friends

Related NJ.com Article:
“I Miss Him Every Day”

— published at NJ.com, the online portal for The Star-Ledger and other New Jersey newspapers.

 


Harsh Reality of Predatory Alienation

Grieving Brother’s Poignant Video Illustrates How Anyone Can Fall Victim

TEANECK, NJ – January 28, 2014 – For some families, the beginning of a new year heightens the anguish over an empty chair at the table where once sat a beloved son, daughter, sister, or brother victimized by predatory alienation. In these households, previously loving teenagers and young adults were turned against their own relatives by an outside influence—incited to leave home, give up their favorite activities, sever all relationships, and even declare themselves destitute. A video recently posted on YouTube about a Seton Hall University student highlights this issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKx8nmKVyyI

How can young adults prevent themselves from falling victim? One way is to educate them—and their families—about the techniques used to lure them.

Predatory alienation—the manipulative isolation of teenagers and young adults from their once trusted relatives and friends—can be a precursor to criminal and other harmful acts. Its symptoms often go unrecognized. Those living away from home for the first time, such as college students, are particularly vulnerable. Perpetrators can include narcissistic individuals, Internet predators, con artists, gangs, and leaders of other destructive groups.

“Teens and young adults who are convinced by someone else to reject and abandon their loved ones come from regular families,” says Arnold Markowitz, LCSW, of Tenafly, who has specialized in the treatment of adolescents, young adults, and family alienation and disruption in New Jersey and New York for more than 30 years.

“They have fallen victim to the use of sophisticated psychological techniques, manipulation, and control mechanisms that seize on normal adolescent issues and turn these kids against their own parents, who they come to fear and distrust. Convincing and charismatic, the perpetrators are driven by their own psychological disturbances and a need to control others to confirm their distorted view of the world. Their typical motivations are money, sex, and a zealous belief that their values are the only truths. As a result of their actions, families are shattered.” In some instances, perpetrators have manipulated their victims into defrauding the state of costly tuition assistance and other social services.

A volunteer organization formed to educate the public about predatory alienation, NJ Safe & Sound provides information to help inoculate young adults against malicious undue influence. The NJ Safe & Sound website provides resources and gathers information from families that have been traumatized by such acts. It has drawn visitors from 27 states, Washington, DC, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

The website includes the text of a bill currently being drafted by Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) to defend the integrity of the family and provide recourse against those who would attempt to destroy healthy family connections. Since being posted on the website, the draft bill has received additional support from a growing number of state representatives. 

Visitors to www.njsafeandsound.org can review the proposed legislation, sign a petition for its passing, and fill out a questionnaire about their own experience with a ruptured relationship. They also will find answers to FAQs, and sample letters they can use to encourage state legislators and the governor to support the proposed bill. Interested parties may also follow New Jersey Safe & Sound on Facebook.

To interview Arnold Markowitz, other mental health specialists in this area, or family members suffering the effects of an alienation, contact Mary Gendron, mgendron@mg-pr.com, 212.980.9065.

 


 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October 2013

NJ Safe & Sound Urges Lawmakers: Prevent Domestic Violence by Addressing the Insidious Practice of Predatory Alienation

Inspired by Italian Law, Supporters Will March in Columbus Day Weekend Parades in Jersey City and East Hanover

CONTACT:  Mary Gendron, mgendron@mg-pr.com, 212.980.9065

October 4, 2013—Imagine allowing yourself to be verbally humiliated and even physically assaulted by someone who has convinced you that no one else loves you—someone who has manipulated you into isolating yourself from anyone who ever truly cared for you. Imagine feeling so alone that you think you have nowhere to turn for help.

This is the world of the domestic abuse victim, where isolation from relatives and friends is a powerful weapon in the abuser’s arsenal of psychological intimidation. Such perverse mistreatment can affect old and young alike.  According to the Bergen County Alternatives to Domestic Violence website on dating abuse, “Adolescents, ages 16-24 years, experience the highest rate of relationship violence” (http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/index.aspx?NID=432). In New Jersey, however, child endangerment criminal statutes protect only those 16 and under. So if a 17-year-old comes under the influence of someone who convinces her to break all ties with her loving family, in many cases the parents have no legal right or recourse to help their daughter break away from her abuser.

In a move to defend the integrity of the family and provide recourse against those who would attempt to destroy healthy family connections, Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) has drafted legislation that would create liability for “any person who significantly disrupts a parent-child relationship.” Draft legislation can be found at www.jnjsafeandsound.org.
The US Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior, including manipulation and isolation, which is used by one partner in an intimate relationship to gain or maintain power and control over another partner.

“Usually the abuser focuses on how bad or misguided, often by parents or friends, the victim is and, therefore, in need of the abuser’s guidance and control,” explains Arnold Markowitz, LCSW, of Tenafly, who has specialized in the treatment of adolescents, young adults, and family alienation and disruption in New Jersey and New York for more than 30 years.

Abusers use manipulation, lies, isolation, humiliation, and shame to undermine the target’s sense of self and confidence in order to make that person dependent and fearful of separation, he explains. “These negative attacks surface only after the victim has fallen for the manipulation and attributes of attraction that initially motivated her or him to become involved with the abuser.

“Only after the ‘honeymoon’ period that promises ‘personal growth’ or ‘everlasting love’ does the undermining begin,” adds Markowitz. “Once committed, it is extremely difficult for the person to break away emotionally. And the emotional damage that is done can last long after the victim is safely away from the threat.” By giving families recourse in cases of predatory alienation, the drafted bill would help prevent the spread of domestic violence.

Columbus Day Focus
In May 2012, the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in northern Italy passed a law that supports projects to protect citizens against manipulation and psychological abuse by individuals or groups (Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia – Italia - Law 11 – 31.05.2012).

Inspired by this development and in commemoration of Columbus Day, NJ Safe & Sound supporters will be marching in the Columbus Day parades in Jersey City on Saturday, October 12, and in East Hanover on Sunday, October 13. They will be sporting buttons bearing the words of another native son of Genoa, Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini: “The family is the homeland of the heart.” Their banner will read: NJ Safe & Sound—Supporting Laws To Protect Parents & Children.

For more information on NJ Safe & Sound, log onto www.njsafeandsound.org or visit www.facebook/njsafeandsound.

 

 


 

It’s National Campus Safety Awareness Month
— and Time to Teach Students
About Predatory Alienation

CONTACT:  Mary Gendron, mgendron@mg-pr.com, 212.980.9065

TEANECK, NJ – Sept. 16, 2013 –Each year, college students throughout the country become victims of stalking, sexual assault, robbery, homicide, and relationship abuse, according to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service of the U.S. Department of Justice. And 16- to 24-year olds experience the highest rate of relationship violence, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, & National Center for Victims of Crime. College and university authorities tout facts like these each September as they mark National Campus Safety Awareness Month.

How to prevent young adults from falling victim? One way is to educate them—and their families—about the techniques used to lure them.

Predatory alienation—the manipulative isolation of teenagers and young adults from their once trusted relatives and friends—is frequently a precursor to criminal and other harmful acts. Its symptoms often go unrecognized. Those living away from home for the first time are particularly vulnerable. Perpetrators can include narcissistic individuals, Internet predators, con artists, gangs, and leaders of other destructive groups.

A volunteer organization formed to educate the public about the predatory alienation of teens, NJ Safe & Sound provides information to help inoculate those young adults against malicious undue influence. NJ Safe & Sound also is urging support of legislation drafted by Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) that would create a civil cause of action for the malicious disruption of the parent-child relationship. Visitors to www.njsafeandsound.org can review the proposed legislation and sign a petition for its passing.

“Teens and young adults who are convinced by someone else to reject and abandon their loved ones come from regular families,” says Arnold Markowitz, LCSW, of Tenafly, who has specialized in the treatment of adolescents, young adults, and family alienation and disruption in New Jersey and New York for more than 30 years. “They have fallen victim to the use of sophisticated psychological techniques, manipulation, and control mechanisms that seize on normal adolescent issues and turn these kids against their own parents, who they come to fear and distrust. Convincing and charismatic, the perpetrators are driven by their own psychological disturbance and a need to control others to confirm their distorted view of the world. Their typical motivations are money, sex, and a zealous belief that their values are the only truths.”

To interview Arnold Markowitz, other mental health specialists in this area, or family members suffering the effects of predatory alienation, contact Mary Gendron, mgendron@mg-pr.com, 212.980.9065.
More information is available at www.njsafeandsound.org and www.facebook/njsafeandsound.

Media Contact:
Mary Gendron
Middleton & Gendron / Eric Mower + Associates
845 Third Ave
New York, NY 10022
www.mg-pr.com
   212-980-9060 — 917-340-1006
  mgendron@mg-pr.com
 Facebook @MiddletonGendronPR
 Twitter @MandGPR

 


 

August 7, 2013 – At an outdoor summer festival, many people added their signatures to the NJ Safe & Sound Petition.

 


 

New Jersey Safe & Sound Website
Attracts Worldwide Attention to
Underreported Issue of Predatory Alienation

Draft Legislation To Protect Families Is Available
For Review at www.njsafeandsound.org

 

TEANECK, NJ – May 6, 2013 – For some families, Mother’s Day heightens the anguish over an empty chair at the table where once sat a beloved son, daughter, sister, or brother victimized by predatory alienation. In these households, previously loving teenagers and young adults were turned against their own relatives by an outside influence—incited to leave home, give up their favorite activities, and sever all relationships. If the person being manipulated is over 16, there is nothing that his or her parents can legally do about it.

“Teens and young adults who are convinced by someone else to reject and abandon their loved ones come from regular families,” says Arnold Markowitz, LCSW, of Tenafly, who has specialized in the treatment of adolescents, young adults, and family alienation and disruption in New Jersey and New York for more than 30 years. “They have fallen victim to the use of sophisticated psychological techniques, manipulation, and control mechanisms that seize on normal adolescent issues and turn these kids against their own parents, who they come to fear and distrust. Convincing and charismatic, the perpetrators are driven by their own psychological disturbance and a need to control others to confirm their distorted view of the world. Their typical motivations are money, sex, and a zealous belief that their values are the only truths. As a result of their actions, families are shattered, parents devastated by rejection and self doubt, and siblings often cannot move on in life with normal development.”

In its initial weeks of operation, NJ Safe & Sound, a new website that provides resources and gathers information from families that have been traumatized by such malicious undue influence, has drawn visitors from 23 states, Washington, DC, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

The website includes the text of a bill currently being drafted by Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) to defend the integrity of the family and provide recourse against those who would attempt to destroy healthy family connections. Since being posted on the website, the draft bill has received additional support from a growing number of state representatives. 

Visitors to www.njsafeandsound.org can review the proposed legislation, sign a petition for its passing, and fill out a questionnaire about their own experience with a ruptured relationship. They also will find answers to FAQs, and sample letters they can use to encourage state legislators and the governor to support the proposed bill.

To interview Arnold Markowitz, other mental health specialists in this area, or family members suffering the effects of an alienation, contact Mary Gendron, mgendron@mg-pr.com, 212.980.9065.

Download this press release: news_5-6-13-njsafeandsound.pdf

Media Contact:
Mary Gendron
Middleton & Gendron / Eric Mower + Associates
845 Third Ave
New York, NY 10022
www.mg-pr.com
   212-980-9060 — 917-340-1006
  mgendron@mg-pr.com
 Facebook @MiddletonGendronPR
 Twitter @MandGPR

 

 


 

Draft Legislation Designed to Protect Families
From Predatory Alienation of Their Children
Is Available for Review at www.njsafeandsound.org

NJ Safe & Sound website to provide resources and gather information
from families that have been traumatized by manipulative external influence

 

TEANECK, NJ – March 4, 2013 – Despite the many laws that apply to children under the age of 21, in New Jersey, child endangerment statutes only cover children 16 and under. So if a 17-year-old comes under the influence of someone seeking to alienate her from her loving family, the parents have no legal right or recourse to bring their daughter back home.

In a move to defend the integrity of the family and provide recourse against those who would attempt to destroy healthy family connections, Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) is in the process of drafting legislation that would create liability for “any person who significantly disrupts a parent-child relationship.” Draft legislation can be found at www.jnjsafeandsound.org.

In addition to providing the draft bill, NJ Safe & Sound outlines the issues that prompted Senator Weinberg to draft it and seeks case studies via questionnaire from families who have suffered or are currently suffering the trauma of an alienation. It also provides sample letters encouraging state legislators and the governor to address this issue, and offers a petition that can be signed and circulated to others in support of the bill.

For more information, log onto www.njsafeandsound.org.

Download this press release: news_3-4-13-njsafeandsound.pdf

Media Contact:
Mary Gendron
Middleton & Gendron / Eric Mower + Associates
845 Third Ave
New York, NY 10022
www.mg-pr.com
   212-980-9060 — 917-340-1006
  mgendron@mg-pr.com
 Facebook @MiddletonGendronPR
 Twitter @MandGPR

 

 


 

"The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society
and is entitled to protection by society and the State."

— Article 16.3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations

 

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