Advocates: System failed slain domestic violence victim

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Advocates for victims of domestic violence say the system failed a Newark mother who was allegedly shot and killed by her children’s father.

Tiffany Wilson, 28, was allegedly shot and killed by Kareem Dawson Tuesday morning on the 100 block of Scheerer Avenue where she lived.

Family members told News 12 New Jersey that Wilson had a restraining order out against Dawson. Dawson was already facing charges for allegedly assaulting Wilson and trying to take their children from a Maplewood day care center in December.

RELATED: Woman in deadly Newark shooting had restraining order, family says

“It was the system, in my opinion, that totally failed this young lady,” says domestic violence specialist Asia Smith.

Smith is herself a domestic violence survivor and currently works at the Shani Baraka Women’s Resource Center in Newark. She says that New Jersey lawmakers must reconsider state bail reform rules, which she says often downgrade domestic violence cases and allow alleged offenders back on the streets.

“We’re just never at the table when it comes to implementing these laws and policies,” Smith says. “I’m hoping that this will at least help to turn the tide and our voices will be amplified as a result.”

The Shani Baraka Women’s Resource Center is named for Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s sister, who was shot and killed in a domestic violence dispute in 2003.  The center provides domestic violence support, shelter, counseling and other social and health services.

The mayor says that he does support bail reform and that he thinks that this latest incident is another example why it needs to be improved.

“The judges and the prosecutors and the police department and the state Legislature needs to get together and figure out how to do something about these glitches,” Baraka says.

More information about the women’s center can be found on the city of Newark’s website.

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