A new center in St. Pete is not only changing the lives of domestic violence victims throughout the county, but could serve as model to change how victims and their families are supported across the state and country. The Family Justice Center by CASA, located at 1011 1st Avenue North, officially opened in October, and its impact on the community has been immediate.
The Family Justice Center is an incredible helping hand for victims of domestic abuse and violence, helping them navigate a complicated justice system and providing them the safety, security, and tangible support that is so needed in the aftermath of incidents. The center’s mission is to provide a safe and empowering space where survivors can access a wide range of services, all under one roof. From crisis intervention and safety planning, to legal advocacy, counseling, and medical assistance, the center offers a holistic and coordinated response to address the diverse needs of survivors.
One of the key strengths of the center is its collaborative approach. The center brings together a dedicated team of professionals from various disciplines, including law enforcement, legal services, healthcare, and social services, all working together to provide comprehensive care. This collaborative model streamlines the process for survivors, reducing the need to navigate multiple agencies and systems, and ensuring that survivors receive the support they need in a compassionate and efficient manner.
The raw data underscores not just how meaningful the center’s services are, but also how overwhelmingly necessary they are. Just from 2019 to 2022, CASA’s hotline calls almost doubled, with nearly 6,000 calls in 2022 alone. As Pinellas County and St. Pete grow, so too does the need for support. In October of 2022, the center had 129 walk-ins. Increasing each month, that number rose to 204 in January of 2023, including 47 children.
The numbers alone demonstrate the need for the center’s support, though its full impact on the community goes much farther than statistics. Beyond providing immediate crisis intervention, the center also focuses on prevention, education, and long-term empowerment. Through community outreach, education, and awareness campaigns, the center strives to prevent domestic violence and child abuse, while promoting healthy relationships. The center also offers ongoing support and counseling to help survivors heal and rebuild their lives, fostering resilience and empowerment.
Domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse are pervasive issues that affect individuals of all backgrounds, ages, genders, and socio-economic statuses. The center’s services are accessible to all, regardless of income or background, making it a vital resource for vulnerable populations. Indeed, as the southern portion of Pinellas County has often received the least support, it’s the area that needs it the most. A full 59 percent of intakes at the center have been from South Pinellas.
Through the support of the city, county, volunteers, and donors, St. Pete has a guardian in the fight against domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The Family Justice Center by CASA provides comprehensive services, promotes prevention, and fosters empowerment for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Its collaborative approach, community outreach, and ongoing support make it a beacon of hope for individuals and families in need. The center’s impact on the community is immeasurable, contributing to the overall well-being and safety of our city and county.
Source: Bob Carskadon, Original Article Here