To make sure Sandy-impacted families have access to adequate social services, New Jersey will use nearly $4.8 million in federal funds to boost the state's domestic violence prevention and treatment programs.

Flickr User Samantha Celera

"As we know from previous natural disasters, a family's ability to cope is often stretched to it limit as they try to recover," said Allison Blake, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.  "These funds will ensure that domestic violence victims made increasingly vulnerable after Sandy have expanded programs and services throughout New Jersey."

Disasters can bring about negative psychological and social impacts to children and families, according to research which finds that effects can include an increase in domestic violence as a result of the stress associated with disaster recovery.

"The stress from a disaster can have a long lasting impact on affected families," said Mary O'Dowd, State Health Commissioner.  "The Department of Health and DCF are working collaboratively to ensure that women and children have comprehensive services to support them during recovery."

The grants will provide alternative housing assistance for victims and children along with counseling and supportive services.  Services include safety planning, referrals, case management, financial education, child care and transportation.

Nearly $4 million in funds comes from a federal Social Service Block Grant awarded to New Jersey after Sandy.  The additional money is from a Family Violence Prevention Service Act grant.

The New Jersey Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The toll-free number is 1-800-572-SAFE (7233).