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One Safe Place, a new family justice center, will support crime victims in North County

Chuck Westerheide

County of San Diego Communications Office

The District Attorney, county leaders, health professionals and law enforcement celebrated the upcoming opening of One Safe Place in San Marcos, June 28. One Safe Place is a family justice center created to support victims of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, human trafficking, and violent loss in northern San Diego County. The new center opened its doors to the public July 5.

Child and adult victims of abuse and their families can go to One Safe Place and receive acute crisis-care, forensic medical exams, advocacy, counseling and therapy, legal services such as restraining orders, connections to a safe shelter and housing, long-term mentoring, workforce readiness, clothing, and educational opportunities all under one roof.

"One Safe Place is made up of caring, dedicated professionals who are all coming together to protect victims from violence and abuse and prevent harm," said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, whose office built and is administrating the facility. "Opening this facility has been a passion project of mine and a priority for our office. We heard the voices of victims who struggle to regain their safety, heal from trauma, find shelter and economic stability and we responded with One Safe Place in the North County where everyone is welcome, and people can find hope, healing and justice. We couldn't have done it without our partners and the tremendous support from our County Board of Supervisors and our community."

Data from recent years shows North County residents are experiencing specific types of crime at a disproportionate rate compared to the rest of San Diego County according to the District Attorney's Office.

While existing service providers deliver excellent support in the region, there is little interconnectivity, and providers often operate in silos, rather than under one umbrella of victim care. Co-located professionals at One Safe Place include victim advocates, nurses, medical professionals, counselors, attorneys, housing navigators, childcare professionals, work-readiness coaches, law enforcement and more.

One Safe Place is a multi-agency service center that focuses on reducing the number of times victims tell their story, the number of places victims must go for help, and increasing access to services and support for victims and their children.

"One Safe Place will literally be a life-saver," said San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond. "Many victims of violence and abuse feel they don't have anywhere to turn and continue to suffer. One Safe Place will interrupt the cycle of abuse and empower people to break free to become thriving members of society again."

More than 70 community agencies will partner with One Safe Place. A primary partner is Palomar Health and its nationally accredited child advocacy center. Palomar Health is also placing nurses at One Safe Place who are experienced in performing forensic medical exams on individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence or other types of abuse.

One Safe Place is part of the Family Justice Center Alliance. The Family Justice Center model has been identified as a best practice in the field of domestic violence intervention and prevention services by the United States Department of Justice.

This model began in the City of San Diego in 2002 under the leadership of then City Attorney Casey Gwinn. Community leaders say it was time to regionalize this model to serve the North County and say more such centers may be established in San Diego County in the future.

One Safe Place is located at 1050 Los Vallecitos Boulevard, San Marcos. Individuals can contact One Safe Place at [email protected] or at 760-290-3690. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

More information can be found at


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