About Us

Vision Statement
Our vision is to create a future where: ALL needs of victims are met; children are protected; violence is stopped; batterers are held accountable; violence fades; economic justice increases; families heal and thrive; HOPE is realized; and we ALL work together.

Mission Statement
Our mission is to stop intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and abuse; make victims safer, hold batterer's accountable; provide long-term support for victims, survivors and their children through collaboration and coordinated services.

Family Justice Center Guiding Principles 
The Family Justice Center Guiding Principles, developed by the Alliance Advisory Board, are the fundamental values that should direct the vision, service delivery, and environment of a Family Justice Center. 
  • Safety-Focused: Increase safety, promote healing, and foster empowerment through services for victims and their children 
  • Victim-Centered: Provide victim-centered services that promote victim autonomy 
  • Culturally Competent: Commitment to the utilization of culturally competent service approaches that are measurable and behavior-based 
  • Intervene and Prevent: Engage all communities through outreach and community education 
  • Survivor-Driven: Shapes services to clients by asking them what they need 
  • Transformative (willing to change): Evaluate and adjust services by including survivor input and evidence-based best practices 
  • Relationship-Based: Maintain close working relationships among all collaborators/agencies (law enforcement, prosecution, community-based domestic violence programs, shelters and other social services 
  • Prevention-Orientated: Integrate primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention approaches into all initiatives, programs & projects 
  • Kind-Hearted: Develop a Family Justice Center community that values, affirms, recognizes and supports staff, volunteers, and clients 
  • Empowered: Offer survivors a place to belong even after crisis intervention services are no longer necessary 
  • Offender Accountability: Increase offender accountability through evidence-based prosecution strategies 

The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County serves as a one-stop help center for victims of domestic violence and their children. The FJC is made up of local non-profit and governmental agencies partnered together to help victims and their families quickly and confidentially seek information, and easily access resources to help them escape the cycle of violence. By having these services in one building, victims of domestic violence and their families can more easily receive the help they need. Before the FJC opened, the average individual trying to escape an abusive household had to seek assistance from 20 different locations. The FJC makes a victim's search for help and justice less burdensome.

Another component of the FJC is S-O-S, the rape crisis center for St. Joseph County. In this community since 1974, S-O-S provides 24-hour crisis intervention, support, and advocacy for victims of rape, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Hospital accompaniment at the area hospital emergency departments is offered with follow-up exams in the sexual assault treatment room at FJC. Support groups and counseling are available on-site. S-O-S also offers risk reduction programs to students in our community that address child sexual abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence reaching over 20,000 students each school year. Presentations and training sessions reach community groups, law enforcement and medical personnel round out S-O-S' comprehensive services.

The FJC received its start from a program, created under the administration of President George W. Bush, known as the Family Justice Center Initiative. This initiative began in October of 2003, as a program to start up and aid 15 different centers to serve victims of domestic violence throughout the country. In 2004, the Office of Violence Against Women identified St. Joseph County as the last of these 15 pilot sites nationwide, out of 400 applicants, to receive financial support from the federal government. The St. Joseph County Center officially opened its doors to the public on February 22, 2007 and since then has been helping to eradicate all forms of domestic violence

  • Civil and legal services 
  • Information and assistance regarding orders of protection 
  • Crisis intervention 
  • Forensic medical unit
  • Counseling
  • Supervised play room for children 
  • Criminal investigations 
  • Culturally and linguistically appropriate services 
  • Employment and training assistance 
  • Domestic violence advocacy 

FJC Staff

Protective Order Attorney: Erika Walz Joo, J.D. 

Protective Order Advocate:  Jessica Richmond

Outreach/SOS Coordinator:  Jasmine Shelby/Katie Elliott

Case Manager: Dayna Bounprasay

Special Pops Advocate:  TBD

Special Victims Advocate: Crystal Foster
Crystal Foster is a nurse by training and an outstanding advocate for victims. Working in tandem with the Special Victims Unit of the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office, she provides one-on-one contact to adult sexual assault survivors and helps them navigate the criminal legal process.

Therapist: Jenifer Hill, LCSW
Jenifer Hill has over twenty years of experience working with survivors of abuse and their loved ones. She provides specialized clinical services to FJC and S-O-S clients. The focus is on healing from trauma and enhancing coping and safety. 

FJC Onsite Partners

ILS Attorney:    Mary Butiste-Jones

Protective Order Clerk:  Ranay Reed

Board of Directors 
Executive Committee 
Deborah Grounds, President 
Sharon Burden, Treasurer 
Mary Butiste-Jones, Secretary 
Ken Cotter

Board Members
Sharon Burden - Executive Director, Alcohol and Additions Resource Center 
Mary Butiste-Jones - Staff Attorney, Indiana Legal Services, Inc. 
Ken Cotter - Prosecuting Attorney, St. Joseph County
Deborah Grounds - Vice President of Technology Services, Carleton Inc. 
Kris Hinton - Sergeant, Special Victims Unit, St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office
Elaine Kendell- Raymond James
Carrie Kosac/Christy Bader - 1st Source Bank 
Keri Kei Shibata - Assistant Chief Safety Services, Notre Dame Security Police

Former Members
Candace Andresen - Memorial Hospital
Gary Brown - Indiana University South Bend
David Chapman - Assistant Director, Notre Dame Security Police Department
Debie Coble, Goodwill Industries of Michiana
Michael A. Dvorak - Former Prosecuting Attorney, St. Joseph County
Barbara Duncanson, Executive Director - Administration, Ivy Tech State College
Laurel Eslinger - Former Director, Sex Offense Services
Brent Hemmerlein, Former Commander, Family Violence and Special Victims Unit
Vicky Holaway - Manager, Events and Special Projects, University of Notre Dame 
Phillip Johnson, Director, Notre Dame Security Police Department
Mary Kowalski, Director of Community Relations, Family and Children's Center
Maura McDonald - Community Member
Judy McLochlin, Director, Domestic Violence Counseling, Women's Care Center
Charles Miller, Media Division President, Burkhart Advertising, Inc.
Angelika Mueller, Managing Attorney, Indiana Legal Services, Inc.
Michael O'Neil, Chief Operating Officer, Memorial Health Systems
Charlotte Pfeifer, Director, Offices of Campus Life and Judicial Affairs, Indiana University South Bend
Andrea Popielski, VP Specialty and Regional Clinics, Madison Center and Hospital
Lori Price, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
Perry Watson III, President and CEO, Lexus of Mishawaka