Story By: Scott D. Yost
Many government offices and businesses are quickly implementing new ways of delivering their services in light of the current coronavirus pandemic, and the Guilford County Family Justice Center is no exception.
On Wednesday, May 6, the center – a one-stop service that addresses domestic violence, sexual abuse, elder mistreatment and related issues – announced that it was launching a new specialized COVID-19 safety resource for victims: a web-based chat feature available to anyone from their smartphone or computer.
A May 6 press release from the Family Justice Center stated that this service allows victims, survivors and other members of the community to – within minutes – connect with a case “navigator” directly from the center’s website.
The new chat feature is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Family Justice Center Director Catherine Johnson explained the reasoning behind the new service in comments included in a May 6 press release from Guilford County announcing the new service.
Johnson stated, “Our partnership has been creative in finding new ways to connect during this time. For many, the safest place to be right now is home. However, for those experiencing violence and abuse, it can be hard to escape for a moment to make a call for help or leave the home to seek services.”
“Isolation is a powerful abuse tactic and can create major risks for victims,” she added. “One significant risk related to isolation is that victims may be cut off from their support systems, such as friends, family, and coworkers. Family Justice Center partners want victims to know that help is still available.”
More information can be found at https://www.guilfordcountync.gov/our-county/family-justice-center.
Throughout the pandemic, the center has continued to be available to meet the emergency needs of families at its two locations – one in Greensboro and one in High Point. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse and child maltreatment. Services provided at the center by county staff and local partnering agencies include safety planning, filing for an emergency protective order, legal consultation, speaking with law enforcement on behalf of the victim, and much more.
Walk-in hours for the center during the pandemic are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.– with the afternoon hours reserved for emergency appointments.
For assistance after hours, people can call 911 or the 24/7 Crisis Hotline with Family Service of the Piedmont at 336-273-7273.