Fayetteville Family Justice Center opens its doors

February 9, 2012 7:30:22 PM PST
For the first time, domestic violence and sex abuse victims have a place to go in Fayetteville for help and legal advice. The Family Justice Center opened its doors Thursday.

"This is the type of crime, it's embarrassing," said Fayetteville police Lt. Tracey Bass-Cain.

She knows firsthand the pain of domestic violence. She was once a victim.

"A lot of times, the victims, they get lost in the process and that's the reason this facility is so important," said Bass-Cain.

The Family Justice Center is a one stop shop where domestic violence and sex abuse victims can get everything from legal advice, to counseling, to emergency housing, and clothing.

"And we hope that by providing them one place access to services, and advocacy, and follow-up, they will be able to get them out of their situation and help them start the healing process," said Kristine Thomas, with the Family Justice Center.

Incidents of abuse and violence are on the increase. Fayetteville Police Department numbers show the number of domestic violence incidents doubled between 2010 and the end of 2011.

And as soldiers come home from war, Fort Bragg has seen a spike as well. Six suicides and 25 cases of spouse abuse have been reported on post just last month.

"It wears on a relationship when a soldier has to be deployed so many times. [It's] tough on the soldier, tough on a relationship," said Tom Hill, with the Army Community Center.

Fort Bragg's Army Community Center is one of the 19 agencies at the Family Justice Center. It is private and it's safe.

"The thing we try to tell victims is to go see an expert if you are the victim of partner abuse," said Hill.

Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said getting that kind of help is just a one stop process, and a promise.

"We tend to forget about the victims and we will not forget about the victims," said Bergamine.

For now, the center will be open weekdays only. A hotline will be set up for weekends.

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