MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has scheduled a community forum on Thursday to discuss the planning process for creating a Monterey County Family Justice Center, South County Office in King City.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the Sept. 22 forum, which will take place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Compass Church, 830 Padre Drive, in Salinas.
A team from the Family Justice Center Alliance, a project of Alliance for HOPE International, has been invited to assist Monterey County with planning for the center, which would help survivors of family violence and their families get the resources and support they need at one location.
The South County Office would be located in King City, officials said.
“The Family Justice Center provides a more supportive experience for victims, it also increases efficiency in service provision, reduces victim recantation, increases prosecution of offenders, and ultimately reduces crime,” according to a North Carolina medical journal.
The mission of a Family Justice Center is to provide one place for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking to receive the services currently available in their community from both nonprofit and governmental agencies.
Family Justice Centers co-locate, coordinate and integrate services so that victims and their children travel to fewer places and tell their stories fewer times.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, “The Family Justice Center model’s documented and published outcomes include reduced homicides, increased victim safety, increased autonomy and empowerment for victims, reduced fear and anxiety for victims and their children, increased efficiency and coordination among service providers, increased prosecution of offenders, dramatically increased community support services to victims and their children, and reduced recantation and minimization by victims when they receive this level of support.”
“When I had to file charges, I was thinking ‘Do I want to tell this story again?’ That downtime in the middle of everything can be confusing as you’re wondering if you should even go through with it. If we could have a Family Justice Center here, that would make it easier for us,” said Jamie, a survivor whose last name was not provided.
Thursday’s community forum will generate momentum for the development of a Family Justice Center by bringing local elected officials, policy makers and government and community-based agencies together to start the planning process for a co-located service facility.
To RSVP, send an email to [email protected].