FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2003
Office of Justice Programs
THE PRESIDENTíS FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER INITIATIVE
Understanding the Issue: In many communities, victims of domestic violence seek help in a fragmented, disjointed system of separate agencies offering related but uncoordinated services. Victims often must travel to several different places to get help, telling their stories many times to different people. In the end, victims get frustrated exacerbating the trauma and may never actually receive the critical services they need.
The Presidentís Family Justice Center Initiative will address this problem by providing comprehensive services for domestic violence victims at one location, including medical care, counseling, law enforcement assistance, social services, employment assistance, and housing assistance. Through an interagency effort led by the Justice Department, the Administration will partner with local communities to help them create the centers. Above all, the backbone of the centers will be the local community through the dedicated efforts of community leaders, nonprofit agencies, corporate partners, government agencies, and caring individuals.
Issue: Domestic Violence services are often provided in a fragmented, uncoordinated way.
Solution: The Justice Department, in coordination with other agencies, will help communities create Family Justice Centers so that comprehensive services can be provided to victims and their dependents.
- The Family Justice Centers will provide medical care, counseling, law enforcement, social services, employment assistance, and housing assistance together in one location.
- The premise is simple: If all services are located in one place, victims will only have to come to one place to get the necessary help. Geographically co-located services will create efficiencies for service providers, empower victims, and help law enforcement professionals hold the abusers accountable for their criminal conduct.
- The Presidentís Family Justice Initiative will provide the resources to help a wide variety of communities create 12 Family Justice Centers nationwide.
- The Justice Department, in close cooperation with the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor will coordinate services and provide training to help communities create the Centers.
- Coordinate the participation of local non-profits, faith-based programs, and volunteers.
- The Justice Department will award $20 million in grants in Fiscal Year 2004 to help 12 communities plan and develop the Centers.
- Services that the Centers may provide include:
- medical care, including on-site or off-site primary physical care, mental health counseling for victims and dependents, and sexual assault forensic evidence collection;
- law enforcement and legal assistance services, including on-site help to get protective orders signed and enforced, to investigate and prosecute offenders, and provide witness assistance and court-based victim advocates;
- state-of-the-art information sharing and case management systems;
- social services, including federal and state welfare assistance for parents and children;
- employment assistance, including employment and career counseling and training through local One Stop Employment Centers or other local services;
- substance abuse treatment;
- child-related needs such as parenting classes, teen pregnancy services, supervised visitation and safe exchange programs, services for child witnesses of domestic violence, assistance for relocating children into new schools, truancy programs, and youth mentoring programs;
- housing and transportation assistance to cover immediate needs and help with long-term housing solutions; and
- chaplaincy or faith-based counseling programs providing victims and their families with non-sectarian spiritual guidance.
- The Presidentís Family Justice Center Initiative will be available on October 15, 2003 on the Office of Justice Programs Website, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/.