I have the honor of fighting for victims every day.
To create a safe space for these victims, we created the San Joaquin County Family Justice Center (SJCFJC) in 2016 as a one-stop location to receive trauma-informed services from multiple communities and support agencies that assist victims. This includes a place for victims to tell their stories and receive assistance with shelter, clothing, food, financial support, and education. In addition, onsite counselors work with human trafficking, domestic violence, and child abuse victims while providing onsite daycare services.
While the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is the lead SJCFJC agency, it would not exist without the many community-based partnerships with the Stockton Police Department, The San Joaquin County Office of Education, El Concilio, Women’s Center, Child Abuse Prevention Council and other local non-profits.
Upon arrival, the victim meets with a Navigator, who interviews the victims and then refers them to a representative in the appropriate agencies to assist with the healing from the trauma of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, homicides, sexual assault, including the interview with law enforcement. They will also be briefed on what may happen to their perpetrator in the criminal justice system. The under-one-roof-experience keeps victims from having to tell their story multiple times or having to visit several locations around the county, saving valuable time and resources.
In 2020, the number of criminal cases referred by law enforcement dropped by 13%, in part due to Covid. However, of those cases filed, felonies made up a greater percentage of the total than in years past. This includes domestic violence incidents. This includes domestic violence incidents. The SJCFJC serves thousands of victims. Additionally, the Victim-Witness Program provided services to 14,000 individuals impacted by crime and facilitated the return of approximately $1,600,000 to compensate victims. Data shows most victims knew the defendant, with 34% of victims in an intimate relationship.
Victims need a place to feel safe while not being burdened by red tape and bureaucracy. We need to ensure speedy response and justice to those living in dangerous circumstances, especially women, children, and our elderly. I will always prioritize the most vulnerable in our society and give them the opportunity to seek justice from their perpetrators.
If you, or anyone you know, is a victim of violence, domestic or otherwise, please call 911. If you want to learn more about the San Joaquin County Family Justice Center, go to https://www.sjcfamilyjusticecenter.com.