Expanded Services For Victims of Family Violence

Contra Costa Times and KCBS, Released 11/05/2013

A new home is in the works for the West Contra Costa Family Justice Center, a one-stop location where victims of family violence can access essential resources. On Friday, November 1, construction began on the expanded 7,200-square-foot location at 256 24th Street in Richmond. The center has been operating one day a week at an interim location within the Richmond Police Department’s Hilltop Mall substation, and it has served more than 500 families since 2011. Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse, and human trafficking can continue to get crisis response, case management, legal and health resources, job placement assistance, and access to safe housing.

For nearly 10 years, STAND! For Families Free of Violence partnered with organizations such as Bay Area Legal Aid, Community Violence Solutions, and the Richmond Police Department to pave the way for this remarkable project. At the November 1st groundbreaking, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and Y&H Soda Foundation’s Executive Director, Bob Uyeki, acknowledged that this project was a result of initiative and dedication taken on by this dedicated group of community organizers. STAND!’s CEO Gloria Sandoval says that the Family Justice Center located in Richmond makes it easier on those seeking assistance, “Victims have to go to many different locations to receive services and not always are those services well-coordinated.”

Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus and Captain Bisa French played important roles in establishing the center and for this reason they were recipients of STAND!’s Rollie Mullen Award at the 21st Annual Rebuilding Lives Luncheon on October 24. The award commended Magnus and French for their tireless work with the center and for their leadership in ending family violence. Captain French and Sandoval, along with nine other community leaders, continue to serve on the Family Justice Center’s Advisory Board.

Friday’s groundbreaking was a milestone that was celebrated by community partners and center staff as well as numerous city, county, and state leaders, including Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisors. Newsom applauded the effort, “We celebrate today a rebirth, a renewal of community spirit that’s always defined the best of Richmond.” Contra Costa County District Supervisor John Gioia anticipates that communities across the nation will look to the model of West Contra Costa Family Justice Center as a way to successfully stop violence and one of the center’s pioneer funders, Bob Uyeki of the Y&H Soda Foundation explained that the foundation is proud to be part of a truly community-based effort.

The expanded center is expected to open in fall 2014 and will be able to serve even more families with the goal of breaking the cycle of violence at home and creating a healthier and safer community. However, the work is not yet complete. Plans are already underway for a Family Justice Center in Concord and East Contra Costa County.

See photos from the event on Supervisor John Gioia’s Flickr page.

Media coverage on the November 1 groundbreaking: