Survivor Outreach and Advocacy Services Director Kristy Navarro recently conducted a site visit for the Office on Violence Against Women Justice for Families (OVW JFF) Grant. Following the visit, she sat down with us to tell us a bit about the OVW JFF Grant and how it will impact our community in Western MA.
YWCA: What makes the OVW JFF grant unique?
KN: There are three parts to the grant that address different needs. The first component is judicial training, in which court staff will receive training on domestic violence and trauma in order to better understand the needs of the clients we serve. The second component is providing an advocate to help women through the court process. The third component is a new center for supervised visitation.
YWCA: Can you explain the importance of supervised visitation centers?
KN: Supervised visitation centers provide a safe and neutral environment for a noncustodial parent to visit their child without coming in contact with the custodial parent. Often times supervised visitation is court ordered, but our goal is for this new center to be for both court and non-court ordered visitation.
YWCA: Are there many visitation centers in Western MA available for non-court ordered visitation?
KN: No. But a focus group was conducted, and there is a lot of interest in a non-court ordered visitation center. It gives people an option if they choose not to go through the court process but would still like a safe place for visits to occur.
YWCA: Wow, this grant sounds like a wonderful opportunity for families.
KN: Absolutely. This grant allows us to serve at least fifty more families per year through visitations alone, not to mention the positive impact judicial training and community court advocate can have on the lives of women who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
YWCA: Sounds like a great opportunity to have a positive impact on our community, thank you for sharing with us.