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Crime victims seek help from newly opened resource center in North County

It has been less than two weeks since One Safe Place in San Marcos opened its doors, but it is already helping people in need.

“The numbers really tell the story. We've had 137 individuals take advantage and get services at One Safe Place, the North County Family Justice Center," said District Attorney Summer Stephan, whose office led the project.

She said all of the rooms at the facility were being used. "We had 30 kids using the special room for them to wait, and yesterday we had seven kids in there all at once," Stephan said. "They were enjoying all the games and distracted from the fact that their family is in danger, so it's quite incredible."

According to the DA's Office, data shows North County residents are experiencing some crimes at far higher rates than the rest of the county.

One Safe Place helps victims of domestic violence, child or elder abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

“We've already been able to provide emergency shelter and connections to long-term shelter to 30 individuals just in the last nine days," Stephan said.

Although the center is only a few weeks old, Stephan said it was already changing lives. She ran down some of the numbers: “It's now 80 pounds of food, it's 70 items of clothing, 19 shuttle transports, 30 legal services, 25 trauma therapy, 36 emergency sheltered."

The DA’s office said data showed that North County has a higher proportion of domestic violence and elder abuse reports.

"A much higher rate," Stephan said. "When we ask the question 'why?' it's because there are not enough prevention services that interrupt the cycles of violence."


But Stephan hopes that One Safe Place can help stop that cycle. "So this place is already providing those answers, those pathways, to escape violence and to prevent future harm before it happens," she said.

Later this year, the center will offer events on labor rights, immigration, pet care and job readiness.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.