Community Members,

 

We are reaching out to notify you of an exciting opportunity that may be coming to Charlotte-Mecklenburg! Our goal is to encourage the involvement of all who are interested so please forward this correspondence to your local networks!

 

With careful thought and planning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg is considering our first ever Family Justice Center, a centralized victim-centered and trauma informed facility which would address multiple types of abuse such as domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and child and elder abuse. Specialized organizations will work in collaboration with one another at this location so victims and their children may safely and more easily access an array of services. Service providers might include advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, counselors, representatives of the faith community, healthcare providers, and many others, and all would provide services under one roof.

 

The first Family Justice Center was founded in San Diego, CA in 2002. Due to its success, the model has been replicated over 120 times internationally! Documented outcomes of Family Justice Centers include significant reductions in domestic violence-related homicides, strengthened victim safety models, cycles of domestic violence being broken for children, improved efforts in collaborative services for victims from service providers, and increased prosecution of offenders. Currently, several Family Justice Centers exist in surrounding counties throughout North Carolina (including Buncombe, Forsythe, and Guilford), which is why now is an opportune time to introduce Charlotte-Mecklenburg to the Family Justice Center concept.

 

As we begin to explore the process of bringing a Family Justice Center to our community, several key events will take place in May, and everyone is invited to participate. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Family Justice Center efforts are being spearheaded by a steering committee, which includes survivor representation as well as representatives from Pat’s Place, Safe Alliance, CMPD, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, the 26th Judicial District, and the District Attorney’s Office.

 

During the first weeks of May, plan to join us at one of our community forums that will be hosted throughout Mecklenburg County. At these forums you will learn more about Family Justice Centers, and you will be able give us your feedback to help identify gaps in our current system and as we set priorities. We’re especially interested in hearing from survivors to help us understand their journey as they sought assistance to end the cycle of abuse in their lives. On May 23 the community is invited to a Town Hall meeting at the Camino Center which is tentatively scheduled for 8:30-11:00. Here national experts who have helped create family justice centers across the country will share what they have learned over the years, and provide guidance to us as we develop a vision of what a justice center could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

 

Finally, we have launched a website where you can learn more about family justice centers and get information about the events described above. Survivors of abuse, family members who have supported survivors, and service providers working in the fields of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and family violence are all invited to participate in surveys and leave feedback for the steering committee. Survey opportunities are available in English, Spanish, and other preferred languages upon request. Visit us at www.charmeckfamilyjusticecenter.org to be a part of something big!

 

Thank you so much for sharing this message with your network, and for participating in this important initiative. We encourage you to visit the FJC website at any time or join our contact list there to receive regular updates.

 

Warm Regards,

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Family Justice Center Steering Committee