“Eliminating domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse, and restoring hope and joy in the life of victims and their families”: that is the big dream of the European Family Justice Center Alliance and its members.
It started with…
…a small, but dedicated group of professionals from 6 European countries. With the financial support of the EU Daphne program they rolled out a 2-year project called ‘Family Justice Centers in Europe’.
This project was based on the Family Justice Center model of the United States, founded in 2002 in San Diego by a city attorney and a prosecutor: Casey Gwinn and Gael Strack. In their work with victims of domestic violence they felt the urge for an approach setting the needs of the victims and their children at the heart of the program. The FJC model, with professionals from women’s aid, social care, law enforcement justice and many more, quickly proved to be a very successful and effective answer to these needs.
The most important characteristic is the client-centered approach. The survivors are central to the FJC model, they are the voice of the FJC movement worldwide. The FJC model soon proved itself. Wherever a FJC is set up, a decrease in the number of fatal domestic violence incidents is shown. The victims and survivors, supported by the professionals within the FJC’s, expresses their positive experiences about the help and support they were offered. And ultimately there is the fact that victims and their children are able to build up a new life with hope and without fear of violence.
During the project, 2013-2015, the project partners build out a European FJC model, which can be quite easily further adapted to the different countries and regions. And it didn’t stop there. The warm and intensive cooperation was the start of a real European FJC movement with engaged and dedicated front-runners.
The work of the original 6 FJCs inspired other countries, organisations and professionals. Very soon they expressed their interested to connect and cooperate with the EFJCA.
The FJC is a growing model, worldwide. It also motivates co-workers and stakeholders from all involved professions: women’s aid, child care, social welfare, health care, police, justice, voluntary work, peer group support, mental health services, … The motto of the pioneers in San Diego “take the best you already have and bring it all together” is the binding baseline for this mutual approach, starting from the victims and survivors needs.
EFJCA in progress
The goal, and big dream, of the EFJCA is to bring high-quality multi-agency work in the different European regions and to all professions involved in the approach of gender based violence, domestic violence, child abuse and sexual violence. The model and principles of the FJC are guiding tools in this work. The EFJCA-team strongly focuses on:
- To support initiators and strengthen teams involved in the FJC- and affiliated multi-agency-work
- To develop good practices and to be the binding glue between centers and regions, focusing on a multidisciplinary and client centered model
- To offer a clear voice to victims and survivors of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual violence
The EFJCA-team believes that by doing this work together we will have a positive contribution in restoring the feeling of hope in the lives of victims/survivors of all forms of violence and their families. And hopes many will follow their dream…