San Diego helps victims of domestic violence

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Much attention has been focused on domestic violence, but most of the news coverage and conferences have focused on the abusers and their punishments. One group that has been overshadowed are the victims of domestic violence.

While most talk about the problem, it’s also a good time to reach out to those who have suffered from abuse.

Here in San Diego, there is help waiting for the victims of domestic violence. Lieutenant Misty Cedrun works for the San Diego Family Justice Center.

Inside the building, doors are locked and fully alarmed to protect the victims.

The first step is to create a safe place to have a face to face conversation in a private room with a counselor.

Rooms are designed to be cozy to help a nervous individual relax.

A victim in imminent danger may be referred to a shelter, but in many cases, the victim needs other services. Time with a mental health counselor or filing for a restraining order, for example.

Someone who isn’t fluent in English can still tell their story, a special phone line connects the victim to a translator.

The center also has an exam room to treat those with injuries, a place to meet with attorneys, and police detectives. County prosecutors also have offices in the same building.

The center provides a playroom to keep children safe and busy while the mom gets the help she needs.

Some non-profit groups collaborate with the center, giving women looking for a fresh start some job counseling and boost in self-esteem.

In 2013, more than 8,000 adults and children came through the center doors seeking help.

The center is a place where no one is shammed or turned away.

While on many days, the rooms can be filled up with those who come in desperation and fear, Lieutenant Cedrun says, it’s also a sign of hope.

There are now more than 80 family justice centers or with similar models in 80 cities across the country.

San Diego’s center was the first in 2002, and it provided the model for others.

October is domestic violence awareness month, and the people at the Family Justice Center in San Diego invite any member of the public to take a tour.

The Center for Hope and Strength is one of the center’s partners, and will be sponsoring a fundraiser on October 3, on Shelter Island.

It’s a fashion show that features ten survivors of domestic violence.

A local philanthropic group is also announcing a $100,000 grant to provide therapy for victims of domestic violence.

Categories: KUSI