A local program dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault has received a $449,913 grant to enhance partnerships between criminal justice agencies, victim services providers, and community organizations.
The Family Support Center of South Sound is the only agency in the state — and one of 44 in the country — to receive the three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women. The grant is for services in the 10th Congressional District.
“The money will be used in part to hire a full-time coordinator and a bilingual advocate,” executive director Schelli Slaughter said. “The goal is so survivors don’t have to go 10 different places to meet their needs and stay safe. We can bring those things to them and prevent them from having to tell their stories multiple times.”
The bilingual advocate will do outreach for Spanish speakers who live outside of the urban core.
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The new funds also will be used to strengthen the collaboration between civilian and military agencies to meet the growing needs of military personnel and their families.
“We’re seeing a number of cases coming through the system where domestic violence is affecting military families,” Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim said.
The Family Support Center and partners in the Family Justice Center Program serve more than 700 adult and child survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking each year. Overall, the Family Support Center serves 2,000 families a year, Slaughter said.
Government partners include the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Thurston County Clerk’s Office.
The grant will help the agency build capacity, Tunheim said.
“Our annual budget is $1.3 million, so it’s going to give it a little bump,” Slaughter said. The nonprofit agency is funded with grants, contracts, federal, state and local contributions, and fundraising.
“Having this federal grant come to our community is really exciting,” Slaughter said.
FAMILY SUPPORT CENTER
Survivors needing help are encouraged to call 360-754-9297.
The walk-in advocacy center at 201 Capitol Way, Olympia, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.