“One-stop-shop” movement to address the injustices in Santa Ana


Maria Fiero

The visit to the Santa Ana Family Justice Center revealed a plethora of resources for domestic abuse victims.

Emily Corona, Features Editor

One in four women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner sometime during their lifetime. 

People who experience domestic violence have to undergo a lengthy process to receive the help they need. 

To help alleviate all the distress and time Santa Ana citizens have to execute when seeking resources, the Santa Ana Police Department has established a Santa Ana Family Justice Center (SAFJC).

The SAFJC is a partnership between the Santa Ana police department and 17 social services organizations to provide a “one-stop-shop” where survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, and elder abuse can receive the assistance and support they need.

It partners with organizations like 4GIRLS, Casa De La Familia, Community Legal Aid Society, County of Orange Social Services Agency, CalWorks, Adult Protective Services, Children and Family Services, Crime Survivors, Eli Home for Abused Children, Get Safe, Human Options, Mexican Consulate, New Star FJC, Orange County Department of Child Support Services, Project Youth, Waymakers, Women’s Transitional Living Center Inc. (WTLC), and Youth Shelter. 

We spoke to the Family Justice Center director, Maria Fierro, who elaborated on this center.

“In order to receive our services, you have to be a victim of domestic abuse. If you meet the criteria, you could get the assistance you need,” said Fierro.

You could call and make an appointment. Or, you could just walk into the Santa Ana Police Department. The center is located on the second floor of the Police Department and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You could also contact them by calling (714) 245-8278.

Junior Michelle Kerk discussed her opinion on this new center with us. 

“I think the center that provides help for those who suffer from domestic violence is great because there aren’t many places that victims can go to in these kinds of situations. I feel like this is a kind of center that should be more prevalent. Additionally, it gives me relief to know that there are places like these that can help give resources to victims that suffer from abuse,” said Kerk.

Ms. Fierro also mentions outreach efforts to ensure the community members of Santa Ana know what the justice center is and how they could help. 

“During our grand opening, we had television stations. The city has an email newsletter that goes out with the community. I have also met with the school principals, social services, community centers, and libraries to make sure everyone knows we are here,” said Fierro.

Senior Daniela Flores gives her input on their community outreach programs.

“I think their outreach efforts are good, but they should continue with them. Continue having television stations talk about them and send out more newsletters. I think it would be nice if they had something for schools to present to their students or for parents to be more aware of it,” said Flores.  

The first Justice Center in Orange County opened in Anaheim that was put in place for the citizens of the county, but Ms. Fierro emphasizes the significance of Santa Ana police department’s efforts to ensure the citizens of Santa Ana have a local and reliable place to receive these resources. 

“We need more than two. Every city could have one if they wanted to. Our own police department decided to take initiative to give community resources,” said Ms. Fierro. 

Sophomore Giovanna Nieto shared her opinion on the need for other additional justice centers. 

“I feel like every city should have one and not just in California but in other states. It’s time for a change in Santa Ana and I really like this new idea of making a safe environment for people who live around the area,” said Nieto. 

Ms. Fierro hopes to impact the citizens of Santa Ana and be an example to other city police departments.

“We are hoping to be a model for other police departments in other cities to open their justice center,” said Fierro. 

This goes to show that our city justice system cares and is doing more every day to improve our safety, the safety of its community members. If you or anyone you know is in need of these services, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The justice center is reliable and confidential. They want to help. If you meet them halfway by asking for help, they will do their best to provide you with the resources you need after experiencing any type of domestic violence. 

In essence, Ms. Fierro, other justice center staff members, and the police department have one common long-term goal.

“We hope to reduce the number of domestic violence cases. Hopefully, by providing the services, we will be able to reduce those numbers and break the cycle of abuse in the city of Santa Ana,” said Fierro.