July 20, 2005 -- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today opened New York City's first Family Justice Center located in downtown Brooklyn, cutting the ceremonial ribbon accompanied by Avon Foundation President Kathleen Walas, actress/producer and Avon spokesperson Salma Hayek and U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Director Diane M. Stuart. At the Center, professionals from 37 community partners and nine government agencies will provide an array of necessary services to domestic violence victims. For example, with only one visit, victims may meet with a prosecutor, access social services, begin long term counseling, and meet with a clergy member - all in their native language. The Center anticipates helping approximately 7,000 adults and 14,000 children each year, and is the first of 15 centers to open nationwide as part of a U.S. Department of Justice initiative.
"Domestic violence often leaves victims physically, financially and emotionally devastated," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Family Justice Center will be a place where domestic violence victims will be able to find the essential services they need under one roof in a supportive, comfortable and understanding environment. We want domestic violence survivors to know that the process of recovery and a new life can begin here."
"The Avon Foundation Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program launched a year ago, and we awarded one of our first grants to the Family Justice Center," stated President, Avon Foundation Kathleen Walas. "We are proud to be members of the Founders' Circle, and extend our gratitude to the dozens of agencies whose collaboration made this Center a reality. We invite other foundations and corporations to join us and help continue the unique vision of hope that the Center represents."
"It is an honor to take part in the opening of the Family Justice Center, which I hope will be the first of many," said Ms. Hayek. "We cannot tolerate a world in which one in three women is a victim of domestic violence, and for the past year I have worked with Avon on the new Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Individuals, companies like Avon, the government and domestic violence organizations working together can break the cycle of domestic violence."
The Family Justice Center received a $725,000 grant from The Founders' Circle, a diverse group of foundations and corporate citizens who were the first to commit financially to the Center,including: the Avon Foundation, Altria Corporate Services, Cisco Systems, Inc., Dell, Inc., Dr. Joy to the World Foundation, Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, Lifetime Television, United Way of New York City and Verizon Wireless, New York Metro Region. Additional funding is provided through in- kind donations from the City and community partners, and more than $1.2 million in a Federal grant.
Also joining the Mayor at the opening were Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, , Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Yolanda B. Jimenez, New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt.