Willow Domestic Violence Center partners to open family justice center

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Willow Domestic Violence Center held a forum to discuss the need for a family justice center. The center would provide services for families impacted by domestic violence.

Domestic violence impacts thousands of people worldwide, including in Rochester. One in three women and one in four men are impacted.

“It is an issue that unfortunately keeps growing in our community,” said Willow Domestic Violence Center CEO Meaghan De Chateauvieux. “Our hotline is receiving 6,000 calls a year, we get over 20 calls a day and those calls are escalating in severity and the need for survivors is dire.”

De Chateauvieux said having a justice center will help create a faster, stronger and more efficient system to restore hope for domestic violence victims.

“As we think about ways that our community can better respond to that need, something like a family justice center model could work really well here in Rochester and Monroe County,” she said.

For a domestic violence victim, time is of the essence. Family Justice Center Alliance for Hope national director Ken Shetter said this movement is led and driven by survivors.

“For survivors it’s critical that you co-locate services in one location,” he said. “In communities where there are not family justice centers, a survivor and their family may have to go five, ten or more places to get the help they need, which is not only inconvenient, it’s a risk to life safety.”

Shetter said the hope is to reduce domestic violence cases and create a community free of violence.

“Serving survivors in a time, place and manner that meets their needs, that empowers them to make choices about how they’re served. That’s a part of the family justice center model is survivors get to choose which agency they want their information to be shared with and how they want to proceed,” Shetter said.

Some of the services the family justice center will offer have already started, but they hope to be fully up and running by October.