HISTORY AND MISSION
HISTORY: Following two years of strategic planning and partnership building, Essex County Family Justice Center (ECFJC) opened its doors for service on May 24th, 2010. The first Family Justice Center in New Jersey, ECFJC was founded to provide a single location where victims of domestic violence could access comprehensive services to protect themselves and their children from abuse. Since Essex County records some of the highest rates of domestic violence related assaults and homicides in the State of New Jersey, it was deemed an important location to launch the first Family Justice Center (FJC) in New Jersey.
First implemented in San Diego in 2002, the FJC Model is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women as a best practice in the field of domestic violence intervention and prevention. The documented and published outcomes of the model have included: reduced homicides; increased victim safety; increased autonomy and empowerment for victims; reduced fear and anxiety for victims and their children; increased prosecution of offenders; and increased community support for services to victims and their children.
Today there are over 100 operating FJCs across the country and there is increasing progress and momentum to expand the FJC Model around New Jersey. ECFJC will continue to leverage its experience and influence to assist other communites in implementing the FJC Model in order to better coordinate services to victims of domestic violence.
MISSION: The mission of Essex County Family Justice Center is to enhance the safety and autonomy of domestic violence victims and their children by providing accessible and coordinated service in one location.
METHOD: ECFJC reduces barriers faced by victims of domestic violence (such as having to go to multiple sites to secure needed services) by co-locating coordinated wrap-around services in one facility. Currently, 18 government and community-based agencies partner with ECFJC to provide domestic violence victims access to law enforcement professionals and the civil protective process, civil legal and immigration assistance, crisis intervention, safety planning and supportive counseling, emergency food and transportation assistance, and linkages to medical and behavioral health providers. One of the goals of ECFJC is to support and assist domestic violence victims as they navigate their way through the criminal justice, civil protective process, and social service systems.