Forensic Medical Unit
Advocates are experienced in providing assistance to those victimized by domestic violence and or sexual assault. Advocates understand the criminal justice, family court, and social service systems and are familiar with other community resources that might be helpful to you. Advocates can also provide you practical and emotional support. Stanislaus Family Justice Center (SFJC) advocates can explain what the police and courts can do for you and how the courts function in Stanislaus County. They can help you decide whether to use the system and can help you navigate the process of cooperating with prosecution and/or obtaining an order of protection. Advocates can also help you fill out a safety plan, will provide you with emergency resources such as hotline numbers and can provide access to shelter. At the SFJC, we have advocates from Haven Women’s Center, Children’s Crisis Center and the District Attorney’s Office.
When you first arrive at the SFJC an intake assessment will be completed to determine what services you need. Once the intake is completed, we will take the appropriate next steps including making referrals to SFJC partners and advocates. Crisis intervention may or may not include: Safety Planning, Medical Forensic Examinations, Counseling, Shelter Assistance, Criminal Investigation, Legal Assistance and more. See below for more details on each of these services.
Whether you are currently with your partner or not, a safety plan can reduce your risk of being harmed. Safety plans may be made for a variety of different situations, such as when you are threatened with physical assault or if an assault has occurred; if you are continuing to live with or to date a partner who has been abusive; or to protect yourself or your children after you have ended a relationship with an abusive partner. You don’t need to wait for an emergency to develop a safety plan. In fact, it is a good idea to know in advance where you can go to stay, where you can go for financial assistance and who can keep copies of important papers for you. In case an emergency does arise, a plan can also identify resources such as shelters and hotlines which can be used to help keep you safe.
Forensic Medical Unit
Forensic medical offsite examinations of child and adult sexual assault victims are conducted by trained Forensic nurses at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. Physical injuries which appear after the incidence of domestic violence can be documented at the SFJC by law enforcement. This documentation can be of great importance if you decide to assist with the prosecution of criminal charges against your abuser.
When you come to the SFJC with your children, the child waiting area provides a safe play environment for them while you receive the services that you want. Staff and volunteers provide supervision.
Those who have been affected by domestic violence may have become victims of trauma, and in order to provide complete care, victims and their families have the opportunity to receive counseling. Domestic violence is commonly involved with other issues, such as sexual assault and substance abuse. Because of this, SFJC feels it is very important to assist victims in receiving counseling. Immediate crisis counseling provides emotional support and help in identifying options and building solutions. For long-term and group counseling referrals can be made for you to Haven Women’s Center, Crisis Services or other agencies. An advocate from the Child Advocacy Center may be made available to provide access to counseling services for your children if you feel that this would be helpful for them.
If you are in a situation where you or your children are in danger, SFJC can work with you to identify resources such as shelters and hotlines which can be used to help keep you safe.
Every time the police respond to a domestic violence call, they are required to fill out and give you a copy of the Domestic Incident Report even if an arrest is not made. If an arrest has not been made and you decide that you wish to assist in prosecution, when you come to the SFJC, you will meet with an advocate from the District Attorney’s office and with a detective from the Police Department who will help you.
At the SFJC, you can also receive help resolving civil legal matters including temporary restraining orders that include custody and visitation. Advocates can assist with mediation preparation, gathering of documents and answer questions related to safety for yourself and your children. They can also assist with divorce issues.
If you have been the victim of a violent crime or physical or mental abuse, you may qualify for a U-Visa or VAWA. These immigration services are made possible by the Legal Assistance for Victims grant program.
An order of protection is a document issued by a court to help protect you or your children from harassment or abuse. In an order of protection, a judge can set limits on your partner’s behavior. Once an order is issued, only a judge can change it. If the order includes a stay-away provision and your partner comes to your house, he is violating the order and may be arrested, even if you invited him. If you want changes to an order, you must request them from the court. In an emergency situation, you may be able to receive an order of protection at the SFJC via video-conferencing