Family Justice Center opens in Monmouth courthouse

The 180 Turning Lives Around Family Justice Center marked its grand opening at the Monmouth County Courthouse, Freehold Borough, with a ceremony attended by the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, state and local officials, and members of the community on Oct. 26.

“The board is proud to help facilitate the opening of this important resource in the heart of Monmouth County by making the space available in the courthouse,” Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry said. “By placing the Family Justice Center in the courthouse, domestic violence victims and their families will be in a safe and secure location that is monitored by law enforcement during all hours of operation.”

The Family Justice Center is a collaborative effort between 180 Turning Lives Around and numerous members of the Monmouth County community to provide victims of domestic violence and their families with crisis support, legal assistance and counseling services all in one safe place, according to a press release.

“Family justice centers are a proven model that save lives and improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Anna Diaz-White, 180’s executive director. “We are grateful to Impact 100 Jersey Coast and the Monmouth County freeholders for providing the seed funding and space to coordinate and begin this wonderful, lifesaving collaboration for our county, and to our partner organizations for contributing their staffs’ time and talents to this important endeavor.”

The freeholders unanimously approved an agreement to provide the space for the center at no cost, according to the press release. Seed funding was awarded to 180 Turning Lives Around by a grant from Impact 100 Jersey Coast.

“Impact 100 Jersey Coast is proud to support the Family Justice Center initiative.  As a women’s grant making collaborative, we are thrilled that our $145,000 inaugural grant could make this vision a reality. We seek to fund projects that address unmet needs and reach underserved populations,” said Deirdre Spiropoulos, co-founder and president of Impact 100 Jersey Coast.

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and human trafficking can go to a family justice center and obtain most of the services they need on the same day, according to the press release.

“We can make a difference in people’s lives with the Family Justice Center, especially in the life of a crime victim. What we will accomplish here will broaden our scope to provide much-needed services to the community,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.

“These services will result in increased awareness, accessible and coordinated services, and much-needed help for victims of crime who need help navigating the complicated maze of government, law enforcement, social services, health and legal services,” Gramiccioni said.

This will be the fourth family justice center in New Jersey. The others are in Essex, Morris and Union counties, according to the press release.