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Relationship Abuse Event

Relationship Abuse: The Pandemic Within COVID | February 23 at 7 pm.

While the pandemic has not caused abuse, it has exacerbated abusive situations. Measures to keep the community safe, including shut downs and stay-at-home orders, have worsened vulnerabilities of individuals and families in violent and abusive situations.

In partnership with the Family Justice Center, Buffalo Toronto Public Media will host a virtual community conversation on February 23 at 7 pm.  Discussion topics will include ways in which the pandemic and related economic and social factors have heightened situations of relationship abuse as it relates to mental health, as well as exploring regional and national resources available.

Growing evidence shows that intimate partner violence has increased during the pandemic. It is important to note that intimate partner violence does not only impact women in heterosexual relationships. Intimate partner violence occurs in same-sex couples at rates equal to or higher than the rates in opposite sex partners. Communities of color are affected more severely as well, with systemic inequities often meaning lower income and less access to necessary services.


Mary Travers Murphy, Chief Executive Officer Family Justice Center

The Family Justice Center (FJC) is a nonprofit agency serving domestic violence victims and their children.  The FJC is a collaboration of numerous service providers and advocates offering clients everything they need to escape the violence, hold their abuser accountable, secure orders of protections, document injuries, access civil and legal services, obtain a safety plan and anything else they require on their journey to a safe haven, hope and healing. Prior to joining the FJC, Murphy served as Orchard Park Town Supervisor from January 2006 to December 2009.  In the final year of her term, Murphy dealt with two domestic violence homicides in the town. The deaths prompted her to pursue a career in victim advocacy.  As the FJC’s CEO she not only oversees the collaboration, but also maintains an aggressive public outreach and prevention campaign. Murphy also spent 25 years as a TV and Radio broadcast news journalist including nearly two decades as the Action 7 reporter at WKBW Eyewitness News and WKBW Radio as an anchor and reporter. She is a multiple winner of the New York State Broadcasters Award for Outstanding News Coverage and won the 1989 Regional Investigative Reporting Award from the Radio Television News Directors Association.



Vanessa Tirone, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist and owner of Good Neighbor Psychology

Prior to starting Good Neighbor Psychology, a telehealth practice serving Illinois and New York state,  Dr. Tirone received a master's and doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and completed her doctoral internship at the VA Healthcare System of Western New York. She was a post-doctoral fellow, specializing in trauma and women’s behavioral health, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Tirone's clinical specialty is the cognitive behavioral treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, which she has experience treating in a variety of populations including veterans, peripartum women, and interpersonal violence survivors. Her research examines the impact of interpersonal violence on mental health, treatment outcomes, and relationship functioning. 


Ava Thomas, Operations Manager for the Family Justice Center of Erie County (FJC)

Ava is responsible for oversight of the agency’s advocates, forensic medical unit nurse, intake coordinator, volunteers and interns. Prior to her role as Operations Manager, Ava served as a FJC advocate helping clients navigate legal processes and overcome physical, temporal and emotional challenges of domestic violence. Additionally, she served as a FJC community outreach volunteer for 5 years, presenting to more than 250 schools, businesses, community, and professional organizations. Since 2015, Ava has been featured in print, radio and television pieces as a topic expert and survivor.

WBFO’s Mental Health Initiative is funded by the Patrick P. Lee Foundation.

Virtual Experiences

Relationship Abuse: The Pandemic Within COVID 
February 23rd

7-8 pm.