Story by: JUDITH PRIEVE
ANTIOCH — Victims of violence and abuse can find hope, safety and healing through the newly opened Family Justice Center in Antioch, which will host a grand opening on Friday.
Promoted as a one-stop center for people affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse and human trafficking, the center helps people in crisis access a broad spectrum of 20 services at one location. Some of the services include therapy, legal and law enforcement help, ombudsmen, immigration services and more.
Having a single location allows agencies to serve and advocate for clients quickly and directly, reducing the trauma associated with multiple interviews or assessments, especially for children, according to Family Justice Center officials.
“This has been a long time coming. We received nearly $200,000 in grants to establish this badly needed support center,” Susun Kim, Family Justice Center executive director, said. “Finally, we can serve our clients in the East County who are affected by domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, elder abuse and human trafficking.”
In 2018, Contra Costa County had nearly 11,000 domestic violence calls to its crisis center; more than 4,000 reports of elder abuse; thirty-six thousand child abuse hotline calls led to 833 substantiated cases of child abuse, 1,500 sexual assault victims and 136 human trafficking victims, according to the Family Justice Center director.
Although Kim said her nonprofit does a lot of outreach, about 25 percent of the referrals come from local police, who will have officers available to meet with clients at the center as well. A recent count showed the nonprofit had served more than 11,000 clients, nearly 600 from East County, even though they had to travel to the nonprofits Concord or Richmond for services, she said.
The new center, which had a soft opening this summer, will serve residents in Oakley, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Antioch, Pittsburg, Discovery Bay and other East County locations.
The Contra Costa Family Justice Centers are the first in the country to have one county-wide network of support so victims get the same type and quality of services, regardless of where they live, according to Alex Madsen of the Contra Costa Alliance to End Abuse, and initiative with the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.
Contra Costa County District One Supervisor John Gioia, who serves as board chair, said in a news release that the county has worked with private and nonprofit partners to invest in systems to “break the cycles of violence and stop harm before it occurs.
“Communities across the nation look to us as leaders in preventing violence by addressing root causes while supporting victims and families,” Gioia said.
One of those pushing for an East County location early on was Contra Costa County District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, who is a board member of the Family Justice Center.
“The Family Justice Center in Antioch will be a refuge where East County residents experiencing domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and trafficking will get the support and resources that they need to get out of tough situations,” Burgis said. “Bringing these services to East County has long been a priority of mine, and I am excited to celebrate the opening.”
The grand opening festivities for the new 3,300-square-foot facility will be from noon to 2 p.m. at 3501 Lone Tree Way in Antioch.
For more on the Family Justice Center, go to cocofamilyjustice.org or call 925-521-6366.
Posted on September 27, 2019 at 12:02 pm