google-plus2 rss2 facebook < /path> twitter blogger tumblr2 reddit linkedin delicious myspace stumbleupon mail Digg

By Providing Resources for Victims of Crime All in One Place Cuyahoga County Is Able to Effectively Assist Those in Need

by Jill Smialek , Manager at the Witness/Victim Service Center and Family Justice Center
A woman looking at a booklet at the Family Justice CenterCuyahoga County’s commitment to assisting those in crisis is made clear by its investment in services for victims of crime. The Department of Public Safety & Justice Services oversees these services through both the Witness Victim Service Center (WVSC) and the Family Justice Center (FJC).

WVSC provides court-based advocacy for any victim of violent crime whose case is in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas or Cleveland Municipal Court. Nearly 70 percent of the cases are related to domestic violence. Victim advocates work tirelessly to ensure victim safety is prioritized, and that victim rights are upheld.

Witness Victim is widely regarded as a leader in innovative domestic violence programming. Since 2016, we have led a local site for the U.S. Department of Justice’s A Family Justice Center employee and a client sitting at a table.Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative. Through this important work, victims are asked a series of questions that allow police officers to ascertain the level of risk posed to the victim. If a case is deemed to have a high chance of escalating to more dangerous levels of violence, it is reviewed by a team of professionals from throughout the criminal justice system. The Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative is operating now in specific neighborhoods of Cleveland. Since the program’s inception, there have been 1,842 cases. Next year, it will operate throughout the City, and suburban expansion is on the horizon after that.

While most people helped by Witness Victim have active criminal cases, there are options for people who do not want to seek charges. The Family Justice Center operates a walk-in service for victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault or other family Four people sitting in a couch area at the Family Justice Center.or intimate partner violence. No appointment is needed, and all services are free. Nearly 1,000 people have already accessed services at the Family Justice Center this year alone.

We see the impact of domestic violence on a daily basis, and we know that children in particular can experience high levels of trauma and stress as a result of witnessing violence. This year, the Family Justice Center hosted Ohio’s very first Camp Hope program. Camp Hope is a national program that brings together children who have witnessed domestic violence for a one-week, residential camp. The camp provides children with the chance to enjoy a classic childhood experience, while doing so in a supportive environment. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves to accomplish new goals, and their activities are related back to messages of hope, healing, and resiliency.
Children's play room at the Family Justice Center
We will continue our work to support individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by violence, and we invite you to join us. Spread the word. If you or someone you know has been touched by violence, please reach out to Cuyahoga County’s advocates at 216-443-7345.