FJC event

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer speaks at the Family Justice Center Tuesday to kick of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Attorneys, police officers, victim's advocates and others in law enforcement pinned purple ribbons on their shirts Oct. 1.

And they did it for an honorable cause — October is domestic violence awareness month, and purple symbolizes the courage, survival, honor and dedication of those trying to eliminate domestic violence. 

To kick off the month, about 50 members of the law enforcement and victim advocacy community came together for an event at the Family Justice Center, located at 2101 Oak St. The center — a one-stop shop for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and elder abuse — provides services ranging from counseling to legal assistance and help filing restraining orders.

"We seek to empower victims so they know they are not alone," said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer. 

Others in attendance were Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh and Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin. 

Goh issued a proclamation at the event, declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Bakersfield as part of the mission to decrease domestic violence in the community.

"Sometimes we hear the words domestic violence, and maybe that sounds better than abuse," Goh said. "But we are here to condemn abuse, to condemn domestic violence. ... I urge all Bakersfield and Kern County residents to remain firm in condemning domestic violence by supporting victims and survivors and assisting local organizations and law enforcement in their commitment to preventing future violence." 

Zimmer focused on how October could be a cathartic experience for those who have been afflicted by domestic violence.

"Family and friends of victims will get together this month to remember and to honor their loved ones who were injured or killed by someone they used to love and used to trust," Zimmer said.

Zimmer also noted that domestic violence knows no bounds. 

"This problem affects so many people, both men and women, of every race, religion, culture and status," Zimmer said. 

And that's where the Family Justice Center comes in: Anyone can go and receive support from one of the center's many organizations, many of which have been helping Kern County victims for years. 

The center houses representatives from the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, victim advocates from the DA's office, Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Kern County Department of Human Services and Child Support Services. Off-site partners, like the Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Sheriff's Office, Dress for Success Bakersfield and Aging and Adult Services also offer support.

Chief Martin reiterated how dedicated Bakersfield is to helping victims. 

"We will be here with our love and our support for the families and the victims," Martin said. 

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