FJCWatch the full News Conference HERE.

October 3, 2019 – In recognition of October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” in Westchester, County Executive George Latimer was joined by the Honorable Kathie Davidson, Chief Administrative Judge of New York State’s Ninth Judicial District; Fredric Green, Second Deputy District Attorney and Chief of Special Prosecutions; Elizabeth Cronin, Director of NYS Office of Victim Services (OVS); several Westchester County Department heads, community partners and advocates, to announce the continued funding of the Westchester County Family Justice Center (FJC). The announcement coincides with the award of three-year OVS funding awarded to the Westchester County Office for Women (OFW), and Westchester County domestic violence service providers to continue serving victims and their families.

Latimer said: “The Westchester County Family Justice Center provides compassionate, comprehensive services to domestic violence victims and their families, providing them with the resources to ensure their safety, while working with partners to make sure offenders are held accountable. The FJC offers a network of hope, and is a safe place where victims can speak privately with an advocate to obtain essential services, information and referrals. Survivors often come into the FJC with just the clothes on their backs, in the height of crisis.  With the compassionate, skilled support of FJC bilingual advocates and attorneys, victims can find safety and support for themselves and their families. I am proud of Westchester’s coordinated community effort, an integral part of the County’s mission to address and reduce instances of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

The FJC, located at the Westchester County Courthouse, provides free, confidential, one-stop, bilingual services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and elder abuse. The FJC is a collaboration among the Westchester County Office for Women, Department of Probation, Hope’s Door, Inc., Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, My Sisters’ Place, Inc., Pace Women’s Justice Center, Victims Assistance Services of WestCOP, Inc. and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.

Executive Director of the Westchester County Office for Women Robi Schlaff said: “The family justice center embodies the commitment of Westchester County government and the many partners working together to prevent and protect families in Westchester from gender based and family violence.”

Judge Kathie Davidson said: “I know what happens in community, and this is a lifeline for that community. The services that are offered at the Family Justice Center will make all the difference in turning around the lives of the litigants that come before me, and all of the other judges in Westchester County. This is a good day, and I want to personally thank everyone for their sticktoitiveness in getting this done.”

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. said: “The Westchester County Family Justice Center is central to helping Westchester survivors of family violence through some of the most difficult times of their lives. Domestic violence counselors in the District Attorney's Office collaborate with our partners at the FJC to ensure victims have complete access to all courts. This continued funding from the Office of Victim Services allows us to focus on helping the most vulnerable among us. The support from New York State and Westchester County is integral in providing these priceless services.”

Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said: "As a former special victims prosecutor in Westchester County, I’ve worked directly with many victims of interpersonal crimes related to domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. These crimes often leave victims both physically and psychologically wounded. I am proud that OVS supports service providers like the Family Justice Center so they can continue to help even more victims on their road to healing."

Michelle Walker, Director of the Family Justice Center, oversees staff who provide safety planning, on-site advocacy, legal assistance, court accompaniment, immigration assistance and information and referrals for victims.

Walker said: “The Westchester Family Justice Center is a safe place for survivors to be heard and have hope.”

Executive Director of Hope’s Door CarlLa Horton said: “Imagine going to bed afraid of what would happen to you or your children during the night. Imagine waking up in the morning fearing what the day would bring. Imagine walking on eggshells never sure what would set him off. Always trying to do what he wants, when he wants, just the way he wants – never being able to choose for yourself.  Leaving him time after time, and returning because things got worse after you left. Now imagine a place to go for safety, a place where you’re understood, listened, believed and supported. That’s our Family Justice Center, where Hope’s Door and our many wonderful partners provide hope, safety and support every day. I thank the Westchester County Office for Women for spearheading this collaboration and the NYS Office of Victims Services for the three years of funding that will sustain this life-saving project.”

The FJC model has been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) as a best practice in the field of domestic violence intervention and prevention services. Evidence shows that early and meaningful support to victims increases their safety and improves the likelihood of successful prosecutions.

The FJC partners work in a united effort to achieve the following objectives:

  • Increase safety and support to victims and their families

  • Ensure more effective prosecution of intimate partner violence crimes

  • Offer legal assistance to victims of DV/SA

  • Hold offenders accountable to reduce future violence

FJC Collaborative Network partners include:

  • Westchester County Office for Women

  • Westchester County District Attorney’s Office

  • Westchester County Department of Probation

  • Westchester County Department of Social Services

  • Westchester County Department of Public Safety

  • Westchester County Office for People with Disabilities

  • Westchester County Veterans Service Agency

  • Westchester Department of Community Mental Health

  • Hope’s Door, Inc.

  • Legal Services of the Hudson Valley

  • My Sisters’ Place, Inc.

  • Pace Women’s Justice Center

  • Victims Assistance Services of WestCOP, Inc.

  • Make the Road New York

  • The Westchester Medical Center Health Network

  • YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester

  • Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association

  • Community Resource Center

  • Catholic Charities Community Services

  • Urban Resource Institute

  • The LOFT: The LGBT Community Center

The FJC is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary, and services are available in Spanish and multi-language interpretation. Free childcare is available for FJC clients.

For more information, call the FJC Helpline at (914) 995-1880.