FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Domestic violence victims in the Fairfield area will soon find it easier to get help, thanks to a contribution from singer Michael Bolton. The performer’s charity foundation will help the Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County set up Connecticut’s first-ever Family Justice Center.
Family Justice Centers house a collection of services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims under one roof. In the same location victims will be able to find advocacy groups, shelter placement, case management, counseling, safety, education and employment planning, emotional support and child care when receiving services.
“Victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault will no longer have to go from agency to agency repeatedly telling their story since all their needs will be met in one place,” said Judy Stevens, senior assistant state’s attorney with the Domestic Violence Unit and head of the Family Justice Center steering committee. “The frustration of dealing with the current system often causes the abused to give up in fear and frustration, recanting the facts and often returning to the abuser.”
Studies have estimated that only 25 percent of domestic violence cases are reported to police. Family Justice Centers have been shown to improve that statistic, as well as reduce homicides, increase the likelihood of prosecuting offenders and add feelings of security to victims reporting abuse, according to the Center for Women and Families.
The Family Justice Center will be at the Center for Women and Families’ headquarters on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport. The center will also serve women in Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. Its development will be partially sponsored by the Michael Bolton Charities, a foundation started by its namesake to help women and children affected by domestic violence.
“I believe that violence against women and children is not a private issue. It is a human rights violation and should be treated as such. Domestic violence damages families and communities,” Bolton said in a news release. ‘The Family Justice Center approach can protect the rights of women and children by providing a safe place."