Violence Prevention
City Agency Offers One-Stop Shop for Victims of Domestic Violence

n most communities in California, victims of domestic violence and their children must navigate large, complex bureaucracies to access supportive services. In San Diego, a community safety audit found that victims visited as many as 20 different agencies to get the help they needed.

In an attempt to streamline services and improve access to resources, San Diego’s City Attorney’s Office and its Police Department joined forces with the Domestic Violence Council to create the Family Justice Center (FJC). Touted as a “one-stop shop,” FJC strives to be a truly comprehensive justice center for victims of domestic violence.

With 22 on-site and 15 off-site partner agencies, FJC ensures that an estimated 12,000 victims per year can come to one place for a myriad of services that include everything from forensic medical care and crisis counseling to prosecution, police and legal assistance, spiritual support services, economic aid, employment services, housing resources, transportation, food and child care.

In March 2003, TCWF awarded a three-year, $60,000 grant to the city of San Diego’s Office of the City Attorney to conduct strategic planning, convening and evaluation activities to improve implementation of the FJC. The grant objectives include developing a strategic plan, convening a community advisory committee of stakeholders, and evaluating and documenting project achievements.

“Bringing over 22 organizations and 120 domestic violence professionals under one roof is no easy task,” said Gael Strack, assistant city attorney and FJC project director. “Having funding for strategic planning helped us develop a shared vision, overcome barriers and accomplish our goals.”

FJC hired a part-time strategic planner to assist in short- and long-term planning for the agency. A diverse collection of community stakeholders was convened, which included representatives from law enforcement, community-based organizations, private enterprise, health and human services and consumer advocates. The group held a series of workshops and planning sessions to establish three- and five-year strategic plans, which serve as a road map for operationalizing FJC and its various services.

So far, the center has been successful in reaching out to its client base. Since it opened in 2002, the number of walk-in clients at FJC has gone from 87 in its first month of operation to 653 in July 2003.

“Supporting FJC’s strategic planning activities has been an effective vehicle for sustaining the center’s success and longevity,” said Nicole J. Jones, TCWF program director. “By bringing key stakeholders to the table, the organization is able to operate more effectively in serving the health needs of domestic violence victims and their families in this community.”

FJC also serves as a national model for other cities. In October 2003, President George W. Bush announced a National Family Justice Center Initiative using FJC as a demonstration site for the national effort. The federal government will assist in funding 12 new family justice centers across the nation. This winter, San Diego hosted an FJC orientation conference for all interested communities, which was planned by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

FJC is working on a regional planning process in San Diego County that will create four centers in the county. Each will focus primarily on domestic violence at first, and will later expand to include child abuse, elder abuse and sexual assault services.

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Winter 2004

Creative Strategies Help Overcome Barriers To Accessing Health Care Services

Local data improves
advocacy efforts

Mentors help young women achieve goals and delay parenthood

Help for victims of domestic violence

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