Connecticut’s first Family Justice Center officially opens in Bridgeport

A significant milestone in the way victims of domestic and sexual violence receive services in the Greater Bridgeport area occurred on Monday, April 4 when The Center for Family Justice’s officially opened as the state’s first Family Justice Center.

Dignitaries, including Connecticut’s First Lady, Cathy Malloy, local legislators, mayors, first selectmen and police chiefs attended the 6 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremonies at The Center’s main headquarters at 753 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport.  

The Center recently completed the first phase of a $1.2 million renovation of its Bridgeport campus, which will make room for offices for a host of community partners, including police, prosecutors and attorneys. The partners can now provide on-site assistance to the thousands of women, men and children by offering a full complement of help under one roof, thereby streamlining the way victims engage with the supportive services and the criminal justice systems.

This milestone also means The Center now becomes one of more than a hundred FJCs around the globe. The Center for Family Justice proudly follows in the footsteps of the nation’s first FJC, which was established in San Diego, Calif., in 2002.

“This has been a true, collaborative community effort achieved with the common goal of turning victims into survivors,” explains Debra A. Greenwood, president/CEO of The Center. “So many people, from our local legislative delegation to our board members and local police chiefs have played a critical role in helping us make this dream a reality.”

Greenwood noted the milestone comes with the hope that The Center will be able to duplicate the success of other FJCs across the United States, which have experienced a significant reduction in domestic violence homicides and other negative outcomes. “The goal is always to transform victims into survivors who can lead safe, healthy and productive lives,” she explained.

Some key features of the renovated headquarters include:

  • A renovated lower level housing offices for police officers and prosecutors and representatives from several local agencies that will serve as on-site community partners.
  • The lower level Bigelow Tea Wellness room which will promote healthy lifestyle practices including yoga and meditation for clients who’ve experienced trauma.
  • The upper level Verizon Empowerment Room that will be outfitted with computer stations, serving as a training and technology hub for clients seeking to build employment skills to achieve self-sufficiency.
  • Renovated rooms for childcare, meetings and client services.

Recently, the state Bond Commission, under the leadership of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, approved an additional grant of more than $470,000, which will pay for phase two of construction, including creating a safer, more secure parking lot around The Center’s headquarters.

About the Center for Family Justice

The Center for Family Justice Inc. (formerly The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County Inc.), brings all domestic, sexual and child abuse services – crisis intervention, police, prosecutors, civil/legal providers, counseling – under one roof, in our headquarters in Bridgeport, CT. Together, we work to break the cycle of violence by helping those in crisis restore their lives. Although our name has changed, we continue with the work we have provided for 12 decades, providing free, confidential, bilingual crisis services in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. It is the comprehensive services our partners are providing that are streamlining the road to healing and self-sufficiency.

Within the past year, The Center answered more than 950 calls on a 24-hour crisis hotline; assisted with the civil and criminal court processes for more than 2,500 survivors of domestic violence; responded to more than 500 survivors of sexual assault and their families; provided a safe home for more than 100 women and children fleeing domestic abuse; coordinated the investigations of more than 170 cases of child sexual and severe physical abuse, developing service plans for the young survivors and their families; and provided psycho-educational support to more than 1,200 survivors of domestic violence, planning for their safety and promoting self-sufficiency.

As part of our mission, The Center educates approximately 4,000 members of the community about the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to prevent future violence and spread the word that about the services we offer at The Center for Family Justice. Annually, we teach more than 2,000 children and teens about building healthy relationships, bullying prevention and dating violence.

For more information, visit CenterForFamilyJustice.org.

Bridgeport and Fairfield delegations of community leaders and board members attended the Center for Family Justice's ribbon cutting ceremonies. They were joined by The Center for Family Justice's President/CEO Debra A. Greenwood, Connecticut’s First Lady, Cathy Malloy, and U.S. Cong. Jim Himes. — Char Nolan photos.

Bridgeport and Fairfield delegations of community leaders and board members attended the Center for Family Justice’s ribbon cutting ceremonies. They were joined by The Center for Family Justice’s President/CEO Debra A. Greenwood, Connecticut’s First Lady, Cathy Malloy, and U.S. Cong. Jim Himes. — Char Nolan photos.

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