Tag Archive for: North County Family Justice Center

‘Cafecito con la Comunidad’ Offers Resources in Spanish

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said today that monthly “Cafecito con la Comunidad” (Coffee with the Community) events are providing the Spanish-speaking community in North County easier access to vital resources, such as services for domestic violence survivors, education on preventing human trafficking, elder abuse, financial scams, and much more.

The Spanish only events are held every second Friday of the month at One Safe Place: The North County Family Justice Center in San Marcos. The topics at the gatherings are focused on public safety and are organized by District Attorney Community Partnership Prosecutor Monique Myers, Dra. Beatriz Villarreal from Mano a Mano Foundation, and One Safe Place Executive Director Claudia Grasso.


The latest Cafecito con la Comunidad had over 50 attendees, including women, men and children, who feel more comfortable obtaining information in Spanish. Some attendees are trying to get out of an abusive relationship. In fact, one domestic violence survivor with her young child left her abuser after attending one of the Cafecitos and is currently receiving services at One Safe Place.

During another Cafecitos where a domestic violence survivor shared her story about seeing her little boy mimic the violent behavior of her abusive husband, another of the attendees was inspired to seek help and resources from One Safe Place.

“I’m so honored to connect with our Hispanic community in this unique and comfortable manner to better serve victims, survivors and community members at One Safe Place: The North County Family Justice Center,” said DA Stephan. “The interest in the Cafecito con la Comunidad events is a great example of empowering the community by providing information, education, and services. Seeing the larger crowds every meeting means there’s a feeling of trust and comfort which helps build safer families and safer neighborhoods.”

A recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between the DA’s Office and the Mexican Consulate now includes the Consulate’s participation in these free informative events every month. The Cafecitos con la Comunidad are completely in Spanish and they take place the second Friday of every month at 10 a.m., at One Safe Place: The North County Family Justice Center, which is located at 1050 Los Vallecitos Blvd., San Marcos, CA 92069. The next Cafecito con la Comunidad will be on September 8, at 10 a.m. and the topic is on “Drugs and Mental Health: What is their relationship? Myths and Resources.” There is no need to register in advance. You can see a flyer with the list of the upcoming meetings and topics, here: CAFECITO CON LA COMUNIDAD – FLYER.

One Safe Place Volunteer of the Year Recognized

Today, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors recognized One Safe Place volunteer Brenda Wright as Volunteer of the Year 2023 for outstanding service to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the citizens of San Diego County. Brenda loyally and consistently volunteers her time and talents to One Safe Place, the North County Family Justice Center, a project of the San Diego County District Attorney.

One Safe Place is a one-stop-shop for victims and survivors of abuse and trauma.  Brenda started her service the first week the center opened in July, 2022, and has continued to volunteer multiple times a week since then, making the guests and members of One Safe Place feel seen, heard and supported.

Brenda is an “all hands on deck” kind of volunteer. Some days, Brenda spends time simply sitting next to victims in the welcome lobby on their most broken day, offering them a smile, comfort, and reassurance. She’s become so good at this, that the model is now referred to as the “Brenda friend in the lobby” program named after Brenda Wright.

On other days, Brenda helps kids participate in social emotional learning curriculum in the child waiting room, to the point that kids don’t’ want to leave her care. Sometimes, Brenda accompanies victims to the “Dress to Thrive” boutique to help them select donated clothing to wear for an upcoming court hearing or simply to take on a new independence in their lives. In the hours Brenda spends with these guests, she makes them feel dignified and worthy at a time when they need it most.

Brenda is an army of one – willing to restock and organize snacks for those that come in hungry, assemble care kits that include stress balls and Kleenex for victims to provide comfort as they escape an abusive relationship, or run logistics for large One Safe Place community events such as elder abuse awareness events or animal abuse and pet wellness events. Brenda has a passion for art, and brings her talents to One Safe Place, by creating centerpieces and facilitating arts and crafts projects for partner agencies and for our guests and members.

In September 2022, at One Safe Place’s “Celebrating Diversity Event,” Brenda facilitated an art project where she helped guests and members create beautiful paintings using resin art.

Brenda has quickly become part of the fabric of a center that exists to provide hope, healing, and justice to those that walk in the doors. Victims are immediately comforted by Brenda’s smile and her quality of care and service. Brenda Wright is a shining example of what volunteerism across San Diego County should be.

One Safe Place for Victims of Abuse

District Attorney Summer Stephan along with a broad coalition of community leaders, victim advocates, health professionals and law enforcement today announced the upcoming opening of One Safe Place—The North County Family Justice Center, in response to data that demonstrates a need for more supportive services for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, human trafficking and other crimes in northern San Diego County.

One Safe Place, located in San Marcos, provides free support services to anyone who has experienced family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crimes, elder abuse, human trafficking, violent loss, or other crimes. Child and adult victims of abuse and their families can walk through the doors 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 will officially open its doors to the public on July 5. At a ribbon cutting ceremony today, officials said the facility will help residents of North County who are experiencing violence and abuse to move forward with safety and dignity.

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.”

Watch a video about One Safe Place.

North County is home to about 1 million people who make up about a third of San Diego County’s population. 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:

  • 46 % of domestic violence-related murders
  • 56% of elder abuse reports

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. A lot has happened during my first three years on the Board of Supervisors, but there is nothing I’m more proud of than being a part of creating One Safe Place in San Marcos.”

More than 70 community agencies will partner with One Safe Place, many of which will be located in the expansive center. 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.

“Palomar Health is honored to provide a safe space for individuals in our community that are in need,” said Kristin Gaspar, President and CEO of the Palomar Health Foundation. “Our top priority is to ensure an extraordinary patient experience to every person who walks through our doors, so they feel safe, cared for and at home. The community we are a part of deserves the time, patience, and personalized touch that healthcare should deliver.”

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 and has continued to thrive with current City Attorney Mara Elliott, becoming a national and international phenomenon. Community leaders say it was time to regionalize this model to serve the North County and say more such centers may be established in the future. One Safe Place- The North County Family Justice Center is unique in that it has also been designated a Trauma Recovery Center by California’s Victim Compensation Board in addition to being a nationally accredited Child Advocacy Center.

One Safe Place is located at 1050 Los Vallecitos Boulevard, San Marcos, CA  92069. Individuals can contact One Safe Place at gethope@OneSafePlaceNorth.org or at 760-290-3690. One Safe Place will be open to walk-ins beginning July 5. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

More information can be found at www.OneSafePlaceNorth.org

One Safe Place– The North County Family Justice Center

We provide free support services all under one roof to anyone who has experienced family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crimes, elder abuse, human trafficking, violent loss, or other crimes. At One Safe Place—the North County Family Justice Center— we provide comprehensive help in a safe and judgment-free environment that empowers people to move forward with their lives. Visit www.OneSafePlaceNorth.org for more information.