SPRINGFIELD — In an effort to better serve victims of domestic violence the Greene County Family Justice Center will be able to accept donations.
The Family Justice Center has established what they are calling the “Alliance Fund” at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
Since the the county established the Family Justice Center in October, they have served over 300 victims in that time and with that high number the county is already looking to expand.
Between Springfield Police, and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, 2017 brought on over 3,300 domestic violence calls.
Sheriff Jim Arnott says his department does what they can at the scene of a call, but there is so much more work to be done to recover from those incidents.
“It’s one thing about responding to the crime and how we deal with domestic violence. The big thing that we run into is how do we help the victims of domestic violence of domestic violence so they’re not in that same position again. This is the answer to that,” Arnott says.
The Greene County Family Justice Center was established in October to help with that very issue. Overseen by County Prosecutor Dan Patterson and his office staff, they have been busy.
They are funded by the 2016 half-cent sales tax increase, and they partner with other non-profits to serve victims, but with so many people needing help they hope that becoming a non-profit themselves will help aid their effort.
“By applying for non-profit status, we’ve formed what we’ve called the Greene County Justice Center Alliance. That will allow us to accept donations to enhance the operations so that we can serve even more people and serve them better,” says Patterson.
The Family Justice Center helps victims with safety planning, orders of protection, legal services and their court cases.
They were provided free space on the second floor of the Greene County Judicial Courts facility, but that space is only temporary.
They are already looking to grow. Patterson hopes the ability to accept donations will help them break away from the county.
“Ultimately down the road, the long term vision is that perhaps this mission is handed off, from being under the prosecutors office to being a self sufficient non-profit organization,” Patterson explains.
Right now a few places such as The Victim Center and Harmony House are already partnering those who are trying to get back on their feet from a domestic violence incident.
The Family Justice Center wants to move into a bigger location in order make room to partner with even more organizations under their roof, that way victims aren’t forced to bounce around and relive their experiences.