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Posted on: October 29, 2019

Norfolk Opens Commonwealth's Only Family Justice Center

Virginia's first Family Justice Center will formally open in Norfolk this November.

NORFOLK OPENS COMMONWEALTH’S ONLY FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER

NORFOLK, VA – Virginia’s first Family Justice Center will formally open in Norfolk this November. The on-site partners of the newly formed Norfolk Family Justice Center are Chesapeake Forensic Specialists, Norfolk Department of Human Services, Norfolk Police Department, Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney, and YWCA South Hampton Roads.

With grant funding from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the multi-agency center will co-locate law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim witness advocates, social services specialists, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) clinic where Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (PERKs) can be completed, and victim services including a crisis hotline and intervention, victim advocacy, counseling, support groups, wellness classes, and childcare.

The Norfolk Family Justice Center is intended to improve two concerns in Norfolk that can impede a victim’s ability to receive needed services and support and can reduce the likelihood of offenders being held accountable. The first concern is lack of co-located services to address the immediate and long-term needs of victims of crime, particularly victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The second concern is lack of a recognized location to refer or transport victims to where knowledgeable, trauma-informed care professionals are available 24 hours a day to provide appropriate help as soon as it is needed.

The Norfolk Family Justice Center is following the evidence-based, best practices model of the Family Justice Center Alliance (FJCA), a program of Alliance for HOPE International. FJCA finds outcomes of Family Justice Centers include a reduction in domestic violence-related homicides, increased victim safety, reduced fear and anxiety for victims and their children, increased prosecution of offenders, and increased efficiency in collaborative services to victims among service providers. The Norfolk Family Justice Center anticipates providing services to at least 3,500 victims through each fiscal year going forward.

The Norfolk Family Justice Center will celebrate its grand opening on Thursday, November 14, 2019 with a ceremony outside beginning at 2pm and a reception and tour following inside at Plume Street Plaza (500 E. Plume Street, Downtown Norfolk). For more information, please call Jewel Hale, (757) 625-4248, or send her an email, jewel.hale@ywca-shr.org.

Reference Links:
Alliance for HOPE International – https://www.allianceforhope.com
Family Justice Center Alliance – https://www.familyjusticecenter.org/

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