Story by: Megan Diskin

A former neurology clinic is set to become the long-planned Ventura County Family Justice Center, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the California Legislature.

With paintbrushes in hand, 60 people started to transform about 15,000 square feet of space into a one-stop site for victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, human trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse to get all the services they need at no cost to them.

“I think it’s gonna be huge for us and for the community,” said Regina Rutherford, a survivor of domestic violence. “We’re lucky. It’s a blessing that this came.”

She serves as chair of the VOICES of Ventura County committee, a group of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors who offer input on what the center should look like.

Over the past few years, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office has spearheaded the effort to open a local facility based on a national model for victims to receive law enforcement, legal, medical and mental health assistance in one place.

Mike Jump, chief deputy district attorney and director of the DA’s victim and community services, said the legislative grant funding and availability of the site near Ventura County Medical Center were “providential.”

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced the recognition of Family Justice Center Legislation Day on June 11 and with it the allocation of $400,000 in grant funding that meant a local center would be opening in September or October 2019.