In the News

Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable Board Member Jacquelin Apsler Presented with Paul R. McLaughlin Community Activist Award

In honor of her exemplary service to the people of Middlesex County and for her dedication to combating domestic violence, Jacquelin Apsler, Executive Director of Domestic Violence Services Network, Inc., was presented with the Paul R. McLaughlin Community Activist Award at a ceremony held in Woburn, by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.

The Paul R. McLaughlin Community Activist award is presented to an assistant district attorney, a victim witness advocate, a support staff or a community advocate for working in a selfless manner to collaborate with communities as a partner in creating a safer environment to live in. Jacquelin Apsler, a community advocate, is the Executive Director of Domestic Violence Services Network, Inc. and a board member of the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable. DVSN is a community collaboration among central Middlesex police departments and non-profit agencies who train volunteers to proactively advocate for victims of domestic violence and to offer immediate and follow-up crisis intervention services, including risk assessment, safety planning, and connection with supportive community resources. DVSN services Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Maynard, Stow, Wayland, and Hanscom Air Force Base.

"Jackie is a true partner in the fight to combat domestic violence and assist victims in breaking down barriers against disclosure which all too often prevent victims from extricating themselves from an abusive relationship," District Attorney Leone said. "Jackie works tirelessly, training over 200 police officers a year. Jackie understands the importance of not only working together, but of learning together and learning from one another. She is an unsung hero in the fight against domestic violence and why she was awarded the Paul R. McLaughlin Community Activist Award."


Vigil is Call to Action

October 13, 2009 by Jacquelin Apsler, Reprinted Courtesy of the Lincoln Journal

Lincoln - Lincoln Police Chief Kevin Mooney, speaking at a vigil for victims of domestic violence homicide, highlighted the staggering numbers of domestic violence incidents across the nation, within Massachusetts, and in the bucolic environs of suburban towns like Lincoln.

(Pictured above, Nalini Goyal lights the candles during a vigil co-sponsored by Domestic Violence Services Network and the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable.)

One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. In the United States, a woman is battered every nine seconds. Domestic violence kills 10 women every day in the United States. Thirty percent of teens report that they or someone they know has experienced dating violence. The brutality and oppression is astounding, even in Lincoln,” Mooney said.

The vigil, held at the First Parish in Lincoln on Oct. 6, was organized and co-sponsored by Domestic Violence Services Network (DVSN) and the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable. It commemorated the lives of 23 women, children and men lost to domestic violence in Massachusetts in the past year.

Mooney said he was stunned by the brutality of abuse in cases from the early 1990s and those of today as he researched past and current cases for his presentation. Physical abuse, emotional cruelty, fear, and intimidation are prevalent in all communities and cross all economic and educational levels. But, in the 1990s, “all we knew to do was to tell the primary abuser to just take a walk around the block,” he said.

Today, we can arrest abusive partners or family members, and restraining orders can be issued to help protect victims,” he said.

According to Mooney, in 2008, Lincoln police answered 44 domestic calls (33 in town and 11 at Hanscom), made 14 arrests, and helped issue 14 restraining orders. In 2009 to date, the police have had 30 domestic calls with 12 arrests and 12 restraining orders.

(Pictured on the left, Police Chief Kevin Mooney at the candlelight vigil.)

Mooney emphasized the great benefit, to his officers and to domestic violence victims, of the police department’s close working relationship since 2002 with DVSN.

Dedicated, excellent volunteer advocates from DVSN reach out to victims to provide resources and guidance,” he said. “Officers appreciate the advocates helping them provide compassionate service to victims.”

DVSN helps officers understand the overwhelming barriers against disclosure of abuse and the reasons it is difficult for victims to leave abusive relationships. DVSN advocates help victims and their families obtain services that can prevent situations from escalating to even more dangerous levels.

DVSN trains our officers in the many complex aspects of domestic violence. Last week, DVSN presented a major training on domestic violence, and every one of my officers found it to be very useful,” Mooney said. “The most training we get is about domestic violence, and that is the way it should be.”

DVSN works closely with the police in nine other towns similar to Lincoln: Acton, Boxborough, Bedford, Concord, Carlisle, Lexington, Maynard, Stow and Wayland. During the past year, DVSN advocates contacted victims in more than 500 police incidents from these 10 partner towns. In addition, DVSN operates a confidential Help Line — 888-399-6111.

While pleased with the collaborative community effort that is being made on behalf of victims of domestic violence, Mooney emphasized that “so much more needs to be done.”

Brenda Asis, a member of DVSN’s Education and Outreach Council and the primary organizer of this vigil, told the more than 55 members of the audience, “Just by being here tonight you are taking action to learn about domestic violence. You are helping to increase awareness in our community. Let’s have zero tolerance for domestic violence in our communities.”

In her opening prayer, the Rev. Claire Feingold Thoryn of First Parish in Lincoln highlighted the struggle faced by individuals and families living with abuse, the painful journey they endure, and the hope that lights the way. Carolyn Waters-Obin sang an original composition, “You Gotta Break Away,” which she wrote to honor the struggle victims wage.

In his closing prayer, the Rev. Joseph Hennessey of St. Julia Parish in Lincoln and Weston acclaimed the commendable work done on behalf of victims and families living with domestic violence by the coordinated community response of law enforcement and volunteer community advocates.

Jacquelin Apsler is executive director of Domestic Violence Services Network.