Why Pinellas County needs a Family Justice Center
Why Pinellas County needs a Family Justice Center
*Based on the first 45 days following a domestic violence incident with children.
Receiving 10 pamphlets is really overwhelming. You are so mentally drained and dreading going in front of a judge and telling your story. At that time, I wasn’t comfortable telling my story so I didn’t want to tell my story 10 times at 10 different places. If I had one place to go and could tell my story once, that would be much less overwhelming.
-Pinellas County Survivor
Family Justice Center by CASA
When Michelle’s husband left in the back of a police car after trying to kill her at gunpoint in front of their son, she was injured, terrified, and alone. Little did Michelle know, this horrific, life-defining event was just the beginning of the pain and suffering she would experience.
Between navigating the criminal justice system, civil legal services, medical care, forensic exams, housing assistance, crisis counseling, and child services, Michelle felt defeated.
She found herself making dozens of trips throughout Pinellas County, missing days of work at a time, and retelling her story over and over to well-meaning personnel who lacked the sensitivity she so desperately needed. Michelle thought, there has to be a better way.
There is a better way. CASA is taking decades of experience in community collaboration and survivor support to bring a successful nationwide model of service delivery to Pinellas County.
The Family Justice Center by CASA will provide streamlined services for survivors and their children that dramatically increase access to help and safety in one place.
Endorsed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Family Justice Center model reduces the likelihood of a client being exposed to repetitive incidents, experiencing homelessness, and being murdered.
Children have a safe, calm environment to play while a parent or caregiver receives support services on-site.
Police take reports, gather evidence, and help enforce court orders.
Provide trauma-informed healthcare
Health care services are available to domestic violence victims and their children, with or without insurance.
Trauma-informed counselors provide free individual and group therapy for survivors and their children at all stages of healing.
The Family Justice Center by CASA will provide free & confidential services to adults, and children affected by domestic violence, human trafficking, elder abuse, and child abuse.
Advocacy services include but are not limited to:
*Only certified Domestic Violence Center Advocates can assist with a Domestic Violence Relocation & Address Confidentiality
The CASA Family Justice Center will meet the immediate needs of survivors and their children. Advocates will provide a warm connection to additional resources unique to the survivor or child’s needs.
We invite you to join CASA and our partners on this journey to become the community in Florida that embraces survivors in the Family Justice Center concept so that they and their children can truly escape the bonds of violence and move into happier, healthier lives.
For Naming opportunities contact Lariana Forsythe, CEO, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 895-4912
“The St. Petersburg Police Department sees first-hand the fear and hardships victims face when experiencing domestic violence. Our department already has a strong partnership with CASA to help survivors of domestic violence access the support they need. However, we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Family Justice Center initiative.”Anthony Holloway, Chief of Police, St. Petersburg Police Department
“During my 40 years at the State Attorney’s office, I have experienced difficulties prosecuting domestic violence cases largely because survivors lack of access to supportive services. That is why I whole heartedly look forward to being involved in CASA’s Family Justice Center. This initiative will not only give survivors the support they need but create a collaborative system to hold perpetrators accountable.”Bruce Bartlett, State Attorney, Sixth Judicial Circuit
“I see the tremendous wisdom in having one place for them [survivors] to go where they can address so many different issues... The court system looks forward to being involved with this, we’ll certainly lend our support.”Hon. Jack Helinger, Judge, Sixth Judicial Court
“In the city of Saint Petersburg, we’re working hard to build a city of opportunity that positively serves all of the citizens in our community. We know that this initiative will help us toward that goal.”Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Deputy Mayor, St. Petersburg
“It's important that we look at the view from the victim's perspective and how we can create a process that makes it easier for them to walk through the bureaucracy of getting their voice heard in the system.”Jeff Brandes, Florida Senator, Pinellas County
“Whenever we remove barriers, parents can heal, and children can thrive. With the comprehensive services that will be available at the CASA Family Justice Center, there will be reduced fear and anxiety from both children and parents.”Amy Foster, St. Petersburg City Council Member, Executive Director, HLA
“At United Way Suncoast, our strategic plan is focused severing the constraints that prevent families from thriving. With financial abuse occurring in 99% of domestic violence relationships, victims find themselves choosing between freedom from abuse or financial stability. That is why we are proud to support CASA’s efforts to bring Florida’s first Family Justice Center to Pinellas. The comprehensive services offered at the FJC will help survivors break free from abuse and give them a path to a more promising future.”Jessica Muroff, CEO, United Way Suncoast
“The trauma that occurs after family violence lingers long after the incident, or incidents, have occurred. CASA’s One Place, provides access to services and supports for families to begin their healing journey.”Dr. Ladonna Butler, Founder, Well For Life
“As a survivor of domestic violence, I understand how important it is to have all the services that one needs in one place, and what a huge step forward this is for domestic violence in our county.Pat Gerard, Pinellas County Commissioner
“CASA is an organization who finds creative solutions to better serve not only the survivors of domestic violence, but their families as well.”Matthew Silverman, President, Tampa Bay Rays
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