VACA decides to open the FJC
The Domestic Violence Advocacy Council (DVAC) was formed in 1990 and worked continuously to improve services to domestic violence victims in Alamance County. On May 6, 2005, planning partners held a community dialog on the subject of domestic violence and child maltreatment. The significant outcome was a plan for a centralized location of victim services at a Family Justice Center (FJC), and to expand the scope of the Domestic Violence Advocacy Council, renamed to the Victim Advocacy Council of Alamance County (VACA), in order to acknowledge the importance of creating systems that respond to all victims and adherence to a coordinated community response.
From 2006-2008, the partners held several meetings to plan for improving services to victims. Partner agencies sent representatives to the International Family Justice Center conference in California to gather additional insight into the establishment of a local Family Justice Center. In August 2008, the partners were awarded a 2-year grant by the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission (GCC) to establish a FJC. On August 18, 2008, the Alamance County Board of Commissioners approved the request from the partners to secure a county-owned building to house the FJC.
The FJC opens its doors
The Family Justice Center of Alamance County (FJC) opened in July 2010 and includes on-site and off-site partners devoted to providing services to domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking and elder abuse victims. A Family Justice Advisory Board was created with membership of community leaders to provide oversight of the FJC collaborative.
In July 2012, 55 partners participated in a two-day training for enhancing the Coordinated Community Response. The partners investigated and heard presentations about a web-based protective order service that would allow a victim to obtain a domestic violence protective order without leaving the Family Justice Center and improve access to information for law enforcement. A multi-year OVW grant assisted with the implementation of an electronic protective order system that was instituted in June 2013, the first in the nation. This program won a national GNC Award in October 2014.
The Elder Protection Initiative
In June 2013, the Alamance County District Attorney’s Office created the Elder Protection Initiative which was part of a multidisciplinary effort with local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Social Services. This initiative was designed to bring awareness to elder abuse, facilitate the increase of elder abuse reporting, bring about successful prosecutions, and ultimately, prevent future abuse.
Creation of the Volunteer Court Navigator Program, Lethality Assessment Program, and Elder Justice CCR
In 2016, the FJC received GCC grant funding for Volunteer Court Navigator Program and Lethality Assessment Program and partnered with Family Abuse Services to develop these services for victims. In 2016, the Office on Violence Against Women (OWV) awarded funding under the Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program for 3 years to the FJC. This program created a specialized Coordinated Community Response (CCR) for elder abuse, allowed to a community assessment to identify gaps in services for victims age 50+, created the county’s elder abuse multi-disciplinary case review team for victims age 50+ and facilitated a county wide training for law enforcement and service providers on response to these cases. The community identified the need for a specialized position to oversee this project so the FJC developed an Elder Abuse Services Coordinator position.
The Justice Advisory Council and DVFRT
In 2017, the FJC received GCC grant funding for FJC positions to provide centralized intake for FJC onsite partners and to provide direct services to victims onsite and through the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office. Alamance County Board of Commissioners approved the establishment of a Justice Advisory Council, a merger of the Justice Advisory Board and Stepping Up Leadership Team, on August 21, 2017.
In 2020, the FJC was awarded another 2-year OVW grant under the Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program. The additional funding assisted with implementation of a re-training program for law enforced and to continue to goals of the project.
In 2021, the FJC received approval from JAC and the Alamance County Board of Commissioners for the creation of a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team to identify and analyze homicides, suicides, and other deaths caused by, related to, or somehow traceable to domestic violence. The goal is to devise preventive interventions and policy and to make systems level change recommendations to reduce domestic violence homicide.
In December 2022, the JAC voted to establish FJC as the lead agency to complete the readiness cohort to bring the Camp Hope America Program to Alamance county for child witnesses of domestic violence and child victims. In January 2023, the Alamance County Board of Commissioners voted to approve the creation of a position for this program.