Pictures of the Family Justice Center of Washington County and Executive Director Toni Loch. 

BEAVERTON, Ore.- It has been open for less than a year, but it hasn’t taken long for the Family Justice Center of Washington County to make an impact on the community.

The FJC opened in March of 2018 and has already had more than 4,000 visits from community members, according to Executive Director Toni Loch. Loch says the majority of those visits—1,500 or so—are from domestic violence victims seeking a restraining order, a process the FJC has helped streamline.

“What would normally take days with children in tow and unreliable transportation, now can be done in a matter of a few hours,” Loch said of how the center helps victims secure restraining orders.

That’s exactly why the FJC was created in the first place, to help victims of domestic violence get the help they need in the easiest way possible. Where previously victims might have to make several stops to various city and county agencies, now they just go straight to the FJC for help. Victims can even conduct court proceedings via video conference, eliminating the need to see their abuser in person.

“They do come in timid and intimidated, then by the time they leave they’ve got hope,” Loch said of the transformation she sees in the victims they’ve helped so far.

The FJC doesn’t just help with restraining orders, they offer a wide array of services. Loch says they’ve already offered counseling to 1,500 people, helped more than 200 find stable housing and have offered legal services to 223 people so far. She says the FJC is here to help, any way they can.

“What we try to do is free families from the abuse they have been living in, however we might be able to help with that,” Loch said.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office has been a supporter of the FJC since day one. Former District Attorney Bob Herman serves on the FJC board, and current District Attorney Kevin Barton will be joining the board this year as well.

“The Family Justice Center demonstrates Washington County’s collaborative approach toward addressing complex challenges,” Barton said of the partnership. “In the District Attorney’s Office, we see on a daily basis the negative impact domestic violence has on our community. Our partnership with the Family Justice Center provides a critical resource to victims and survivors as we help them navigate through the criminal justice system.”

Loch echoes those sentiments as well. While this work can certainly take a toll on her and her staff, she says there’s no better feeling than seeing how these families are able to turn their lives around.

“I feel greatly rewarded by that. I’ve never found anything more rewarding than helping victims of domestic violence,” Loch said.

If you’d like to show your support for the FJC or just want to learn more, visit their website.

January 04, 2019