The Family Justice Center vision is operational in Pottawatomie County, and while overall still evolving, the concept of centralizing a one-stop facility where residents can get help and advocacy in cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse, is already making a major impact.

The Family Justice Center vision is operational in Pottawatomie County, and while overall still evolving, the concept of centralizing a one-stop facility where residents can get help and advocacy in cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse, is already making a major impact.

The One Safe Place Family Justice Center in Shawnee is now operating on the second floor of the former Mission Hill Hospital, 1902 Gordon Cooper Drive.

While many centers nationwide are located in more urban areas, Shawnee is more of a rural community in comparison, but the area also has a lot of resources, from civic leaders to charitable groups as well as tribal organizations, said First Assistant District Attorney Adam Panter.

“The Family Justice Center is something that just works for everybody,” he said, but “we're creating our own blueprint.”

The concept puts together those from various entities under one roof to provide easier access for those impacted by violence and abuse.

At One Safe Place, law enforcement officers from the Shawnee Police Department and Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office are among those on site, as well as a prosecutor and representatives from DHS as well as the Unzner Centre, which advocates for children and provides a safe and child friendly environment for forensic interviews and medical exams. A representative of Legal Aid has an office there and they are all housed together to better serve those impacted by violence, whether they need specific services or advocacy.

The facility also works closely with other advocate agencies, including Project Safe and tribal agencies, so Panter said making sure the community knows these resources are available — and where — is key.

While the concept was originally the vision of District Attorney Richard Smothermon, Panter said the entire office has been on board and active in this process.

“This is such a huge benefit to the community...it's a passion of this district,” he said, adding that every member of the office has worked toward this vision.

The center receives a small portion — .005 cents — of the county's .495-cent education sales tax, with those funds voted in place through 2026. The tax was expected to bring in about $135,000 annually for the construction, acquisition, maintenance and operation of the One Safe Place Family Justice Center.

While the FJC is based here in District 23, which includes Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties, Panter said the the FJC has assisted victims from other area, including Seminole and Pontotoc Counties.

Panter, who has prosecuted many child abuse and death cases in his career, said they hope to make a difference.

There are several ways to reach the FJC in Shawnee at 1902 Gordon Cooper Drive.

The main number is 405-273-0323. The on-call number for child services is 405-765-8556; and the on-call number for adult services is 405-273-5536.

For more information, go to: www.http://fjc.osgov.us.