One Safe Place, the North County Family Justice Center, opened in July in San Marcos to provide free support services to people in our community who have been victimized by violence, abuse, sexual assault, trafficking, or other crimes. As a multi-service center, children and adults are welcomed into a judgement-free space, where they can more easily access the services they need.
Family Justice Centers Started in San Diego
The Family Justice Center model was initially proposed in 1989 by a deputy city attorney in San Diego. However, it wasn’t until 2001 the idea was brought to fruition, and San Diego opened the very first Center in 2002. It is now recognized as a best practice model in domestic violence intervention services and there are Centers throughout the country. San Diego can be too far to travel for someone who needs help here in North County, so we are grateful that One Safe Place is now open.
Our Partnership with One Safe Place
Community Resource Center (CRC) welcomes the partnership with One Safe Place and is providing services to our North County residents, along with 79 other partner organizations.
CRC provides staffing, supplies the Center’s food pantry, and accepts referrals from the Center. Two of our case managers dedicate two full days twice a week to work with the many survivors who come for assistance. According to Jani Sepanik, CRC’s Domestic Violence Program Director, the center has been busy since it opened. Many of those who come need emergency food, thus the presence of the food pantry, plus there are also healthy snacks for those waiting to be helped.
Making An Impact
One Safe Place is already having an impact: it provides much-needed services in our community, and it also has created a single-entry point in North County for these services, allowing the County and service providers to measure the number of people who need assistance and assess the capacity to provide the assistance.
Existing emergency and transitional housing, counseling, advocacy, and mental health services are already strained well beyond capacity. For example, there are just six emergency shelters for domestic violence survivors in our County. If an opening becomes available, it will be filled within 45 minutes. This makes it very difficult for case managers to provide all the services for someone who desperately needs it. Imagine how hard it is to explain to someone who is fleeing abuse that they must go on a waitlist.
The hope now is that One Safe Place will highlight the need to community leaders and government officials to better support existing organizations like CRC, who are already providing services, so they can grow, and to expand support for additional service providers so they can create more services for the community.
To learn more about One Safe Place, please visit their website at OneSafePlace.org