ATLANTA – The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) is pleased to announce the approval of $300,000 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding for three new projects under the Family Justice Center Initiative. After a rigorous review process, CJCC has selected the following communities to receive funding: Crisis Line & Safe house in Macon, Georgia, Cobb County District Attorney’s Office in Marietta, Georgia, and Waycross Shelter for Abused Persons in Waycross, Georgia.
Each agency will receive $100,000 annually for up to four years to hire a Family Justice Center Site Coordinator to guide their respective communities through a two-year planning process, which will result in the opening of a fully functioning family justice center by the beginning of 2023. Communities will be eligible for a fourth year of funding to sustain their center. CJCC’s Statewide Family Justice Center Coordinator will provide dedicated support and ongoing assistance to funded communities throughout their planning and implementation process. The grants will begin on November 1, 2020.
A family justice center provides one place for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse to receive the life-saving services currently available in their community from both non-profit 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. The family justice center model requires an integration of services through a centralized intake and information sharing process. This level of collaboration requires significant community buy-in, strategic planning, and partnership to successfully develop a cohesive governance structure, comprehensive policies and procedures, thorough confidentiality agreements, and victim-centered intake processes.
Each awarded agency secured support from the following partners who will work together to plan and implement the center: Certified Domestic Violence Program, Certified Sexual Assault Center, Certified Child Advocacy Center, Sheriff’s Office, Police Department, District Attorney, Solicitor General, Victim Witness Program, Civil-Legal Service Providers, and County/City Government.
CJCC launched the Family Justice Center Initiative to prioritize community collaboration and coordination of services to better serve victims in our state. 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, and reduced recantation and minimization by victims when they receive this level of support.
Kristy Carter, Victim Assistance Division Director, emphasized CJCC’s goal of supporting family justice centers in Georgia: “Our goal is to provide a richer, multi-faceted and more robust emphasis on responding to the impact of violence on the innocent victims, survivors, and their families. When a survivor is going through the worst moment in their life, getting the help they need should be straightforward and simple. The holistic, wrap-around services provided from one place at a family justice center will allow victims easier access to the resources they need to heal from the abuse they’ve endured.”
Executive Director Jay Neal is excited to see the increased interest and support for this model across the state: “The family justice center model upholds so many promising and best practices for serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. I want to thank the communities who were awarded this funding for taking on such a highly collaborative and labor-intensive project. Your work will greatly enhance your community by streamlining your services and providing one safe place for victims and survivors to go.”
For more information about the Family Justice Center Initiative or the projects awarded, please contact Jenny Aszman, Statewide Family Justice Center Coordinator, at [email protected] or visit https://cjcc.georgia.gov/grants/family-justice-center-initiative.
About the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC)
Created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1981 as an Executive Branch agency, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) represents the culmination of many efforts to establish a statewide body that would build consensus and unity among the State's diverse and interdependent, criminal justice system components. For more information visit the CJCC website: https://cjcc.georgia.gov/.
Dannielle Lewis – Communications, External Affairs and Training & Content Manager