Combating a nationwide crisis with effective models, management and drive


There’s a crisis in all our communities, one that tears apart families and falls disproportionately on women and children. Much has been accomplished in New York State to combat this crisis, but as the experts say, there’s still a cycle to break.

The crisis is domestic violence, which is a neat neutral phrase for a horrible scourge affecting one in four women — in all income, education, ethnic, religious and neighborhood categories. If one in eight women contracts breast cancer in her lifetime, you can see the extent of this problem.

Managing this crisis are a dedicated array of agencies nationally that, starting with one in San Diego, brought all the services victims need under one roof. In Buffalo it’s the Family Justice Center, which draws on the expertise and services of 13 support agencies to help victims. This means that counsellors, legal, financial, law enforcement, child care, job-training and other experts are available to women who seek and find FJC’s services.

EMA has done some pro bono work for FJC, which receives major support from the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. There are a flock of volunteers and it’s truly a community endeavor. But every effective crisis-management process needs a point person and in Buffalo that’s Mary Travers Murphy, whose vision for the agency is only matched by her energy in achieving its goals.

A former television reporter, Murphy also served four years as the Town of Orchard Park supervisor. To say she’s patched in and understands the system only scratches the surface. She also knows everyone in the room wherever she goes and she is tireless in her advocacy, but always in a sober, respectful way.

More than 400 people, mostly women, attended a fundraising breakfast this morning and heard the heard-rending stories survivors told.

Murphy got into helping manage this crisis after the murder of her Orchard Park friend, Aasiya Zubair Hassan by her husband Muzzammil Syed Hassan, who was convicted in 2011. He was the CEO of Bridges TV the first American Muslim television network broadcast in English.

Any crisis manager would see the work Murphy does as existing on an entirely different level than reputation management. She’s already made a major difference, opening a satellite office in Orchard Park, with another planned for Buffalo’s northern suburbs. She needs to raise $10,000 for a video link between the FJC’s suburban location and Family Court in Buffalo so victims can maintain their privacy within the legal system and, as they sometimes must, avoid their tormentors. She also wants to create a $2 million agency endowment.

This is real crisis management.

The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.

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About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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