The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County has been awarded a two-year grant to support its work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women presented the grant to the FJC Protective Order Project. The funds will enable the Family Justice Center to add another attorney and advocate to the project team.
In its sixth year, the Protective Order Project offers help, including social services and legal assistance, in one location to individuals seeking protection for themselves or their minor children. An effort is then made to follow each person who receives help, and assistance is given to individuals who have their protective orders violated.
A clerk of the courts is on-site so victims can file their protective order petitions conveniently and in a secure space. Access to project partners, such as Indiana Legal Services and the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, is provided as well.
“Protective orders are an important tool for survivors in safety planning,” project attorney Erika Walz Joo stated in a press release. “Our aspiration is that they are effective for victim safety and for holding perpetrators accountable.”
The FJC Protective Order Project has charted a dramatic increase in the number of victims needing assistance. In 2010, the project helped 225 victims with filing protective order petitions. That number rose to 386 in 2011 and to 420 in 2012.