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May 15

It Seems To Me…Thoughts from the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center Director

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 2:20 PM by Abi McLane

May 2013

It Seems To Me…

Thoughts from the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center Director


Spring is upon us.  The sun has been shining in these early days of May and it brings with it a sense of hope and renewal.  We are putting our winter coats away, and switching out our sweatshirts for shorts and flip flops.  Life is good and I feel extremely grateful for that. 

As a matter of fact, gratitude is the theme of our soon to be published 2012 Annual Report.  It is a value we emphasize everyday at the Family Justice Center ~ gratitude for the opportunity to do this work, gratitude for the brave women and men who come here seeking help, and gratitude for the generosity of so many who provide support to the Center.  These values, gratitude and generosity, are not something we are born with.  They are cultivated throughout our lifetime.  Acts of generosity as well as expressions of gratitude are intentional choices we have the opportunity to make.

I want to share with you two stories of generosity that have those of us at the Family Justice Center feeling very grateful.  The stories share a common thread:  people reaching out to help without being asked.  These people saw a need and took action to help make a difference in the lives of the people we serve at the Center…not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

Just a few weeks ago, I received an email from LaTasha Smith, an employee in the Pierce County Auditor’s Office.  She wanted to have a food drive in her department to benefit the Center.  As we are always in need of food (click here for our grocery wish list), I welcomed her suggestion.  Just a few days later, she contacted me again to see if I thought it would be a good idea to put the call for food out to all the departments in the County.  I loved the idea.  With the help of the County Communications Department, word of the food drive was disseminated to all departments of Pierce County government.  The response was amazing (click here to see photos of our freshly stocked pantry).  For over a week, various departments came by the Center with car loads of food, diapers and baby wipes.  Our cupboards went from sparse to overflowing…all sparked by the idea of one County employee who wanted to help.  We could not be more grateful to LaTasha and all of the members of our County family who answered the call to action.

And then there was the recent bake sale put on by the victim advocates in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for National Crime Victims Week.  Spearheaded by former and current advocates working in the DV unit at the Center, all of the proceeds from the sale were donated to the Family Justice Center.  They raised over $700 in a single day.  We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the bakers and the baked good buyers for their support.  The money raised will have an immediate impact on the people we serve.


One of my favorite quotes sums up what is so special about these two stories:

“We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.”

~ Sir Winston Churchill

We are honored and humbled by these acts of giving.  Lives will change for the better because of them.  All of us at the Family Justice Center are most grateful.   

By:  Susan Adams, Director
Crystal Judson Family Justice Center

Apr 17

It Seems To Me… Thoughts from the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center Director

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 2:43 PM by Abi McLane



April 2013

It Seems To Me…



            Thoughts from the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center Director


April 26, 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the tragic murder of Crystal Judson Brame at the hands of her husband, then City of Tacoma Chief of Police, David Brame.  This event was so shocking and tragic, if you ask a person who was living in the area at the time where they were when they heard the news, they will be able to tell you.  I remember precisely where I was and I remember feeling incredibly sad as well as angry.  How could something like this happen?  Logically, I knew and still know that things like this tragically happen every day all over the world.  The fact that this was the chief of police simply made more people stop and think.  If it could happen in a family like that, could it happen to me or someone I know?  Of course, the answer is yes.

I was asked this week by a news reporter whether I thought services for domestic violence victims have improved here in our community over the past ten years.  My answer was yes.  Services have improved.  Most notably, the creation of the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center has provided another option for victims in time of crisis and beyond.  The Center is the only agency in this area providing wrap around services from both community and government agencies all under one roof.   Our community is also fortunate enough to have several domestic violence shelters, as well as other needed programs supporting victims and their children.

Yet, even with the meaningful work being done by a number of agencies in our community, domestic violence is still a huge problem.  In speaking to the reporter, he wanted to know why it remains this way, even with so many services in place. 

Here is what I told him.  If I asked a room filled with 200 people if they thought domestic violence is a bad thing and a problem for our community, all 200 would say yes.  If  I then told the same group a story about a woman who was physically and emotionally abused by her husband, often times in front of their children, who did pack up and leave her abuser, but ultimately returned to the situation,  I predict the reaction of many in the audience would be a judgment about the victim such as “why did she go back?” or “if it were me, I would have left a long time ago.”

The bottom line is that many people simply don’t understand the issue of domestic violence beyond the very surface level of “it is a bad thing”.  Victim blaming completely misses the point.  The victim has done nothing wrong.  Instead, attention should be focused on holding abusers accountable while providing non-judgmental, compassionate support to victims and their children. 

So what does this really mean?  To start, it can mean giving up pre-conceived notions/judgment and being willing to look at the issue of domestic violence with a deeper understanding.  It does not mean having to become an expert yourself. 

Here are five simple things you can say to someone who you may be concerned is being abused.  These statements, while simple, can have a powerful impact.


n     
I am afraid for your safety.

n      I am afraid for the safety of your children.

n      Violence usually gets worse, not better.

n      There are people to available help you, when you are ready.

n      You don’t deserve to be abused.


The strides we have made in the past ten years are something to be proud of.  Now it is time to shift our focus to the future because until there is an end to domestic violence, there will always be more work to be done.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead


By:  Susan Adams, Director
  Crystal Judson Family Justice Center

Jan 15

Insert Blog Name Here…

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM by Craig Roberts

Insert Blog Name Here…



By:  Susan Adams, Director

        Crystal Judson Family Justice Center



What’s in a name?  In many ways, names can define us.  They offer a first impression of who we are, sometimes even before we utter a word or have even been seen by the person making the judgment.  Think about a teacher getting a list of incoming students.  As she or he reviews the list, do you suppose the names they read conjure up thoughts as to what kind of student a child will be?



In anticipation of the birth of both my children, I spent months reading through name books trying to find just the right one.  In all honesty, long before I was ever pregnant, I had been thinking about what I would name my children.  I think the names we chose are as unique and beautiful as my children have turned out to be…but who knows what someone else may think.



So what is my point?  In speaking with others who are more familiar with blogging, it was suggested to me that my blog should have a name.  While the exercise of choosing a name for the blog has not been as consuming as naming my children, I still want it to be something unique and (hopefully) something people are drawn to read.  Being unique in the blogosphere is no easy task, so as I considered various names, my focus has been on finding a name that best describes the purpose of the blog.



This blog provides me with a chance to offer insight and perspective on topics of the day through the lens of someone working in the field of providing services to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence.  Having spent more than two decades involved in this work, first as a deputy prosecutor and now as the director of the Family Justice Center, my thoughts on many subject areas are deeply influenced by my experiences.



Now the challenge is finding a name and I am asking for your help.  What do you think?  I welcome your suggestions (constructive, please!).  Your blog name ideas can be emailed to familyjusticecenter@co.pierce.wa.us.   Deadline for submission is January 31st.



Thank you!