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Hear Ye, Hear Ye – Domestic Violence Victim Needs Aid

A victim of an abusive relationship, “Anna” showed up at the Anaheim Family Justice Center last week ready, willing – but unable – to start anew.

The reason: she can’t hear well.

Anna lost her job in November. Without health insurance and not qualified for Medi-Cal, she can’t afford to replace her eight-year-old hearing aid. Hearing aids typically have a lifespan of five years.

“She had trouble hearing our front office specialist through the thick, bullet-proof glass,” said Kerith Dilley, AFJC Foundation’s Executive Director, “and finally pointed to her right ear and said, ‘I’m hard of hearing – it’s ok to shout.’”

AFJC is making an emergency appeal today to raise $915 to buy her a new hearing device. Last month, AFJC helped a domestic violence victim purchase new clothing after her boyfriend burned everything she owned.

“One AFJC partner is helping Anna pay her rent this month,” Dilley said, saving her from eviction. “But she wants to begin working as soon as possible.”

If you’re interested in donating, please do so here. You can also mail the gift or bring it in person to AFJC Foundation, 150 West Vermont Street, Anaheim, CA, 92805.

Helping Victims and Preventing Violence Top Goals for New AFJC Leader

The woman showed up at the Anaheim Family Justice Center with a newborn in her arms. Her nose was broken. Both eyes were bruised. Her boyfriend didn’t just beat her.
 
He burned all her clothing.
 
“It was just so sad,” said Kerith Dilley, AFJC Foundation’s new executive director. “All she had – literally – was the clothing on her back.”

Kerith Dilley


 
Dilley joined the AFJC team about a month ago. She’s already making major contributions, said Lt. Julian Harvey, who runs the AFJC.
 
“Kerith’s background is one of making non-profits more successful,” Harvey said. “Her experience, and her passion for the cause will move the Foundation forward and develop even more support in the community. ”
 
The morning “Maria” arrived, Dilley and her staff sprung into action to raise donations, sending an email to donors and asking Sgt. Rick Martinez to post a note on Anaheim PD’s Facebook page.
 
The result: Maria and her child went on a $250 shopping spree  – and the AFJC team found her a safe place to recuperate.
 
“The reality is stories like these are far too common,” said Dilley, who holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  
  
Behind the Badge asked her to shed light on AFJC’s goals.
 
How often does AFJC see women like Maria?
Unfortunately, the AFJC sees women like Maria with all too much frequency – at least one women per day comes through our doors with a story that breaks your heart because of the violence she has suffered – and often at the hands of a family member, no less.

To view AFJC's video on preventing violence click on the screen


 
What should somebody who has a friend or family member in domestic violence situation do?
Encourage that person to seek help – the first step is with a trusted resource, such as local police, shelter, or other social services organization.  It’s important to begin the healing process and take affirmative steps to end the cycle of abuse.  The AFJC doesn’t require survivors to file a police report or press charges to receive our services, but should a survivor need to, our caring advocates and staff effectively facilitate access to such resources.
 
Any other tips or advice?
 
Survivors need to understand that it is not their fault that they have been abused. 
 
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing AFJC?  

The biggest challenge is that the community need for our unique, co-located service delivery model is spiraling upward, just as the economy slows down and contributions slowly decline. 
 
What can the community do?

The community can help by spreading the word about the AFJC so survivors of family violence can receive the help and services they need to remove themselves from an unsafe situation and break the cycle of violence.  Additionally, our community can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work. Gifts of all sizes have a tremendous impact on our survivors.  In fact, the average gift raised for Maria was $25.
 
What are AFJC’s biggest priorities in 2010?
 Our biggest priorities are to expand our successful Survivors Academy and Direct Victim Assistance Fund and launch a program for children of domestic violence survivors.  
 
Our Survivors Academy is a 10-workshop program led by a highly trained and culturally competent facilitator that builds the self-esteem of survivors of domestic violence as well as provides them tools and skills to become self-sufficient not only for themselves, but for the rest of their families, especially children.  We piloted the Survivors Academy in September and after the class ended, two of the women enrolled in GED courses, another two enrolled in ESL classes, one has received her U-Visa (for survivors of physical or mental abuse from criminal activity). Another has started a catering business.
 
AFJC is also creating a Victim Assistance Fund so we have the flexibility to respond to situations such as Maria.  Unfortunately, we’ll likely need several more emergency appeals as this fund gets depleted. But we’re excited to engage the community in empowering victims to begin reconstructing their lives after facing trauma. 
 
We’re also looking forward to providing mental health and therapeutic services to the children domestic violence survivors.  Research shows that children who grew up in abusive homes – even if they weren’t the victims of abuse – are seven times more likely to become an abuser.   

Domestic Violence Survivors Say Family Justice Center Helped Save Their Lives

Click on the screen to view a video about the Anaheim Family Justice Center

Click on the screen to view a video about the Anaheim Family Justice Center

Three domestic violence survivors shared personal stories of terror Thursday – and then thanked the Anaheim Family Justice Center for giving them enough confidence to walk away from abusive relationships.

“I never knew a place like this existed,” said Eva, whose husband beat her for 12 years before trying to suffocate her. “I’m really grateful that you made sure my family was safe.”

The women are among thousands of domestic, child and elder abuse and sexual assault victims who have been served by the justice center since it opened three years ago.

Survivors Eva and Lisa

Survivors Eva and Lisa

It’s Orange County’s first and only one-stop center for victims – and one of only about 50 in the nation. Community and police leaders gathered to celebrate the center’s accomplishments – and to appeal to the community for continued support.

“This center isn’t just about treating and serving victims,” said Police Chief John Welter. “It’s about preventing crime.”

The statistics are staggering. In the U.S. four people are murdered by a domestic partner each day. Half of Anaheim’s homicides result from domestic issues, Welter said.

“Can you visualize what it’s like to grow up in a household where violence in commonplace?” he asked. “We must stop the cycle.”

In the old days, said Lt. Julian Harvey, after domestic violence victims filed a police report they’d be given bus money and sent to the courthouse to file a temporary restraining order.

The justice center houses representatives from social service agencies, police, the district attorney’s office, legal aid and other agencies. Everything is handled on-site.

The center has even taken it a step further, offering a Survivor’s Academy for women like Sandra, Eva and Lisa.

The classes, attended mostly by women and offered in Spanish, include lectures in financial planning, job training and self-esteem.

Volunteer Deanna Irwin

Volunteer Deanna Irwin

They’ve had a profound impact. Sandra was in an abusive marriage. One night last summer, her husband – in a drunken rage – slammed her against a wall and then pinned her on the bed.

“At that moment I realized he wanted to end my life,” she said. Her five-year-old daughter interrupted and she got away.

“I’m grateful that a place like this exists,” she said. “Because of all of you I am still here.”

For more about the Family Justice Center and to donate, click here.