Family Justice Center's 1st Anniversary on April 7
Apr 04, 2016 01:19PM
● By Elena Hutslar
Maria called the Family Justice Center the night after Jorge, the father of her children, beat her and knocked out the windows and doors of their apartment. Maria told us she was scared, but after 15 years of this, she was ready to make a change. Olivia, a woman in her late 70s, came to us after her grandson assaulted her, sending her to the hospital with a broken pelvis and injured shoulder. Our senior peer counselor, with the help of a police detective, was successful in arresting Olivia’s grandson.
These stories are real and, unfortunately, incidents of abuse like this happen every day. Not all abused individuals get help, but 796 Central Contra Costa County victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking and stalking did get help at the Central Family Justice Center in downtown Concord in its first year of operation, and because of that, we’re celebrating.
On Thursday, April 7, at the Pleasant Hill Community Center at 320 Civic Drive in Pleasant Hill, 5 - 7:30pm, the Central Family Justice Center will hold its one year anniversary celebration, with the program beginning at 6pm. Victims and clients will speak personally about what brought them to the Family Justice Center and the support they received that significantly changed their lives for the better.
“Addressing a victim and his/her family’s safety is our first concern. Have they been injured? Do they need medical attention? Where are the children? How can we get the victim immediately away from the abuser? These are the first questions we ask when a person comes to the Family Justice Center,” said Susun Kim, the center’s executive director.
The Central Family Justice Center houses 17 on-site partners, including local police, who provide victim services under one roof, as a one-stop hub for services and education for survivors and their families.
The statistics on the individuals served by the Family Justice Center in its first year speak for themselves. 81% of individuals served are victims of domestic violence; 7% are seniors who have been abused, often by their own family members; 6% are victims of sexual assault; and 5% are children who have been abused. 50% of those served are Latino; 6% are African American; 23% are Caucasian; and 18% are Asian.
“After making sure our clients are safe, we offer services and programs to help them obtain long-term safety through health and education training,” Kim said. “Our Women Inspired to Grow and Succeed (WINGS) Program is designed to increase self-sufficiency and leadership skills for survivors of abuse.”
The Family Justice Center brings hope and healing to people like Maria and Olivia who have experienced violence and abuse in their lives.