How Does the Family Justice Center Model Fit into City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Public Health Violence Prevention Strategies?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "the different forms of violence--child abuse and neglect, youth violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, elder abuse and suicidal behavior--are interconnected and often share the same root causes. Understanding the overlapping causes of violence and the things that can protect people and communities can help us better prevent violence in all its forms."   

The Umbrella Center, Charlotte-Mecklenburg's planned Family Justice Center model, aligns with the comprehensive violence prevention strategies underway in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community in three important ways:

Shared Foundations
Parallel Objectives
Complementary Response

Shared Foundations

The Family Justice Center (FJC) model and the public health approach to violence prevention share numerous theoretical foundations:
Multi-disciplinary Support and Collaboration
  • The FJC model co-locates partners from multiple disciplines under one roof to serve individuals and families impacted by one or more form of interpersonal violence including domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, child abuse, and elder abuse
  • Disciplines represented thus far in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg FJC planning efforts include victim advocacy, child advocacy, healthcare, mental health, substance use, social services, law enforcement, legal services, and violence prevention.
  • The purpose of co-locating disciplines is to increase service accessibility and collaboration between providers. 
  • The FJC is not simply a coworking space; it is a collaboration catalyst designed to build a coordinated community response.
Socio-ecological Framework
  • The FJC model embraces the socio-ecological framework by going well beyond an individual's presenting needs to address contributing factors and root causes
  • The Umbrella Center's  multi-disciplinary support and collaboration will include not only victim services, but also an expansive menu of partnerships to address education, employment, childcare, spiritual care, and other needs. 
  • The FJC model is designed to strengthen protective factors, mitigate risk factors, intervene in current violence, and prevent future violence
Use of Data and Evidence
  • The use of data and evidence to shape and monitor the FJC is integral to its role in violence intervention and prevention.
  • Documented outcomes correlated with FJCs include reduced domestic violence-related homicides, increased victim safety, interrupted generational cycles of violence, increased efficiency of collaborative services, and increased offender prosecution.

 Parallel Objectives

The Family Justice Center model and the violence prevention strategies taking shape in Charlotte-Mecklenburg have parallel objectives.  The Umbrella Center will enhance violence prevention objectives in the following ways:
Create a Fuller Picture of Community Violence and Prevention Possibilities
  • Providing  additional information about multiple forms of violence for the Community Violence Data Dashboard, thereby creating a fuller picture of community violence, contributing factors, root causes, and prevention possibilities
Advance Intergovernmental Collaboration and Align City and County Resources for Community Impact
  • Advancing  the intergovernmental collaboration required for an effective community-wide comprehensive violence reduction strategy, as local elected government bodies develop relationships to share resources and improve service delivery through the FJC
  • Aligning  City and County resources to increase community impact and reduce duplicative efforts
Serve as a Resource for Cure Violence and Hospital-based Interruption Programs
  • Serving  as a resource for eligible individuals coming through the Cure Violence and hospital-based violence interruption programs, as interrupters connect those who present the highest risk for committing or becoming victims of violent crime to resources, services and opportunities
Facilitate Ease of Access to Service Resulting in Immediate and Long Term Impact
  • Facilitating  ease of access to coordinated, co-located services for survivors of various forms of violence through holistic supports designed to address immediate needs, underlying issues, root causes, and contributing factors to generational patterns of violence

Complementary Response

The Family Justice Center model and is uniquely designed to complement violence interruption programs while effectively addressing service fragmentation.  The Umbrella Center will work alongside and together with violence interruption initiatives to maximize their impact.

Addresses an Unmet Yet Related Need Interrupting Interpersonal Violence
  • The Family Justice Center (FJC) model and the violence prevention strategies that the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Public Health are leading address unmet needs that are related yet distinct
  • Interpersonal violence requires a nuanced, expert response often characterized by confidentiality, safety planning, and trauma-awareness. 
  • The FJC model is specifically designed to support individuals and families impacted by one or more forms of interpersonal violence such as domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, child abuse, and/or elder abuse. 
  • Violence interruption programs are a critical component of a comprehensive community violence prevention strategy. However, these programs are typically designed to address drug-related violence, gang-related violence, and/or community gun violence more so than interpersonal violence.  The FJC model fills the gap.
Addresses Service Fragmentation
  • In Charlotte-Mecklenburg service mapping indicates interpersonal violence victims may currently travel to 9 different locations, tell their story 27 times, complete 37 different types of paperwork, navigate 50 referrals and spend over 36 hours in order to receive assistance.
  • The comprehensive violence prevention strategies can benefit from the FJC's mitigation of service fragmentation
  • The CDC's Connecting the Dots research suggests a high probability that individuals reached through violence interruption programs will have a history of one or more forms of interpersonal violence as well.  Therefore, the FJC model can complement violence interruption as a potential pathway for addressing underlying issues and root causes of community violence. 

No one-size-fits-all strategy applies to all forms of violence.  The comprehensive community violence prevention strategy does not eliminate the need for The Umbrella Center, and The Umbrella Center does not eliminate the need for a comprehensive violence prevention strategy.  By pairing both approaches together, Charlotte-Mecklenburg can achieve the greatest impact for the greatest number of people, building a safer and healthier community.

Stay Informed:
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.  If you are a victim or survivor in need of help, please reach out to the Greater Charlotte Hope Line at 980.771.4673 or chat with us at on our website. Check back to this website regularly for updates on our progress or register here to be added to our mailing list.
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