Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Family Justice Centers?

By Cherri N. Allison, Esq.

Imagine that you are a domestic violence victim and the mother of two small children under the age of ten. You have been in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship for 12 years. You are a stay at home mom and your husband controls all of the family finances. You have just found out you are pregnant and are afraid to tell your spouse because the last time you did the violence escalated. You literally have nowhere to turn. The police have been to your home several times and you have been in the hospital emergency room more than once. Before the Alameda County Family Justice Center opened in 2005 you literally had to navigate dozens of agencies in a county that spans 821 square miles. You must maneuver a medical system; navigate criminal and civil legal systems, and a court system that is incomprehensible at best. At the same time you are experiencing extreme emotional and financial stress and the possibility of homelessness. There must be a better way!

Simply locating different organizations in one space is not necessarily innovative nor does it inspire systems change or movement building. However, when the people who lead those organizations and maintain those systems begin to reach across barriers, real or imagined, such as the language of disciplines, stereotypes and implicit bias, client service delivery changes. Letting go of the need to be right, demystifying program and systems content are at the core of the Family Justice Center model. We must make thinking outside the boundaries the norm and operate from a client centered, strength based perspective to implement systems change work that has positive implications for clients.

Monday, March 9, 2015


By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

It is a sad reality, but sexual assault and domestic violence occur every day to the people around us — our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends. It seems that more and more of the headlines we see in the news are centered around these crimes. It has plagued the NFL, haunted celebrities, and ignited national attention and debate.

Today marks the beginning of #NOMOREWeek. A time when we all stand together and call for the end of domestic violence and sexual assault. It is a national effort to engage every community, individual, and organization to say NO MORE and to educate the public on how they can get involved and be part of the solution.