By SDCN Editor
San Marcos, CA–District Attorney Summer Stephan along with a broad coalition of community leaders, victim advocates, health professionals, and law enforcement Thursday announced the upcoming opening of One Safe Place—The North County Family Justice Center, in response to data that demonstrates a need for more supportive services for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, human trafficking and other crimes in northern San Diego County,
One Safe Place, located in San Marcos, provides free support services to anyone who has experienced family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crimes, elder abuse, human trafficking, violent loss, or other crimes. Child and adult victims of abuse and their families can walk through the doors and receive acute crisis care, forensic medical exams, advocacy, counseling and therapy, legal services such as restraining orders, connections to a safe shelter and housing, long-term mentoring, workforce readiness, clothing, and educational opportunities all under one roof.
One Safe Place will officially open its doors to the public on July 5. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, officials said the facility will help residents of North County who are experiencing violence and abuse to move forward with safety and dignity.
“One Safe Place is made up of caring, dedicated professionals who are all coming together to protect victims from violence and abuse and prevent harm,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, whose office built and is administrating the facility. “Opening this facility has been a passion project of mine and a priority for our office. We heard the voices of victims who struggle to regain their safety, heal from trauma, find shelter and economic stability and we responded with One Safe Place in the North County where everyone is welcome, and people can find hope, healing, and justice. We couldn’t have done it without our partners and the tremendous support from our County Board of Supervisors and our community.”
North County is home to more than 1 million people who make up about a third of San Diego County’s population. Data from recent years shows north county residents are experiencing specific types of crime at a disproportionate rate compared to the rest of San Diego County:
- 46% of the county’s domestic violence-related murders
- 56% of the county’s elder abuse reports
While existing service providers deliver excellent support in the region, there is little interconnectivity, and providers often operate in silos, rather than under one umbrella of victim care. Co-located professionals at One Safe Place include victim advocates, nurses, medical professionals, counselors, attorneys, housing navigators, childcare professionals, work-readiness coaches, law enforcement, and more. One Safe Place is a multi-agency service center that focuses on reducing the number of times victims tell their stories, the number of places victims must go for help, and increasing access to services and support for victims and their children.
“One Safe Place will literally be a life-saver,” said San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond. “Many victims of violence and abuse feel they don’t have anywhere to turn and continue to suffer. One Safe Place will interrupt the cycle of abuse and empower people to break free to become thriving members of society again. A lot has happened during my first three years on the Board of Supervisors, but there is nothing I’m more proud of than being a part of creating One Safe Place in San Marcos.”
More than 70 community agencies will partner with One Safe Place, many of which will be located in the expansive center. A primary partner is Palomar Health and its nationally accredited child advocacy center. Palomar Health is also placing nurses at One Safe Place who are experienced in performing forensic medical exams on individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence or other types of abuse.
“Palomar Health is honored to provide a safe space for individuals in our community that are in need,” said Kristin Gaspar, President and CEO of the Palomar Health Foundation. “Our top priority is to ensure an extraordinary patient experience to every person who walks through our doors, so they feel safe, cared for, and at home. The community we are a part of deserves the time, patience, and personalized touch that healthcare should deliver.”
One Safe Place is part of the Family Justice Center Alliance. The Family Justice Center model has been identified as a best practice in the field of domestic violence intervention and prevention services by the United States Department of Justice. This model began in the City of San Diego in 2002 under the leadership of then-City Attorney Casey Gwinn and has continued to thrive with current City Attorney Mara Elliott, becoming a national and international phenomenon. Community leaders say it was time to regionalize this model to serve the North County and say more such centers may be established in the future. One Safe Place- The North County Family Justice Center is unique in that it has also been designated a Trauma Recovery Center by California’s Victim Compensation Board in addition to being a nationally accredited Child Advocacy Center.
One Safe Place is located at 1050 Los Vallecitos Boulevard in San Marcos. Individuals can contact One Safe Place at gethope@OneSafePlaceNorth.org or at (760) 290-3690. One Safe Place will be open to walk-ins beginning July 5. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
More information can be found at www.OneSafePlaceNorth.org