October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the month, Queens Defenders posted a series of resources on social media for survivors of domestic violence, as well as family members of survivors. To conclude the month, Queens Defenders hosted a live webinar that featured a panel discussion about domestic violence, how to recognize the signs, and how to support survivors.

On Wednesday, October 27th, members of the community came together for the panel discussion. Panelists included:

  • Marissa Bernowitz, Executive Administrator, Domestic Violence Advocate & Survivor, Queens Defenders
  • Saheli Kothari, Social Work Intern & Domestic Violence Advocate, Queens Defenders
  • Zena Sawaged, Community Coordinator, Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence
  • Angelina Rosado, Survivor, Advocate, Activist, Educator, and Founder & Executive Director, Returning Hope, Inc.

Panelists engaged in conversations to raise awareness about domestic violence. They shared resources in the community for survivors and their family members.

The event was held in memory of Destini Smothers, a 26-year-old mother of two children from Far Rockaway. Destini’s aunt, Shareen King, joined the panel to share her experiences.

Watch a recording of the webinar here.


If you or anyone you know need support for domestic violence, you can call the Queens Defenders hotline: (718) 261-3047 ext. 608.


Queens Defenders supports survivors through our Domestic Violence & Empowerment (DoVE) Program. Supported by the New York City Council’s DoVE Initiative and in partnership with Safe Horizon and the NYPD 101st precinct, this program provides intensive, personalized support for survivors of domestic violence and their children and facilitates connections with shelters and support services.

For more information on how Queens Defenders can support survivors of domestic violence, visit here.