A family justice center is multiagency, multidisciplinary center for domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, animal abuse, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking resources, services, and support. Family justice centers co-locate different government agencies and nonprofit organizations under one roof through staff members from those different agencies and organizations being assigned to work at the family justice center on a full-time or part-time basis.
This “one stop shop,” centralized, comprehensive service delivery model reduces the number of places victims must go to get help and the number of times they must tell their story. Victims who once had to go to up to 20 different locations to get all the services they needed—often using public transportation and with young children in tow—now only have to go to one place to access those same services in just 2-3 hours. This allows victims to get the help they need in the easiest, fastest, safest way possible.
The family justice center model also increases communication, coordination, and collaboration among the different government and nonprofit service providers—both those onsite, co-located at the family justice center, and those offsite though still a part of the partnership. A family justice center is its partnership, and staff members from each onsite and offsite partnering agency and organization are a part of a Coordinated Community Response team dedicated to working together, rather than separately, to marshal all available resources in the community and implement a concerted effort of domestic violence intervention and prevention.
The family justice center model also creates the opportunity for help-seeking victims to be apprised of all their options for assistance and then choose the assistance they need and want and the agency or organization they prefer to work with.
When a victim comes to Knoxville Family Justice Center (KFJC), they first meet with a KFJC staff member—one of our Navigators—who helps them feel comfortable, summarily explains the family justice center model, lists the resources and services—both legal services and social services—they can access, and informs them of which onsite partners are available to meet and work with them. The victim then chooses which agency or organization they prefer to seek help with—whether government or nonprofit. Because of the collaborative nature of the family justice center model, sometimes multiple agencies and organizations work together to meet the needs of one victim.
Because victims have characteristically been controlled by their abuser and lacked autonomy, agency, and the freedom to make their own choices, being in control of their own decisions and experiences again during their help-seeking process is critical in their recovery and healing.
The family justice center model has been identified as a best practice in the field of domestic violence intervention and prevention with documented and published outcomes including increased prosecution of offenders, reduced homicides, and increased victim safety.
The Board of Directors and staff of the Knoxville Family Justice Center are committed to the best practices outlined in the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative, the Family Justice Center Alliance, and the Tennessee Family Justice Center Statewide Alliance