News Release


DATE: August 1, 2000

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108


East County providers join forces to form "Project Safe Harbor"

San Diego - Three separate community based organizations will collaborate to form Project Safe Harbor, a restraining order clinic which helps victims of domestic violence through the often cumbersome process of filing a restraining order against their abuser. The proposal, initiated by Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, was approved by the Board of Supervisors today.

"Project Safe Harbor is a true partnership between three East County organizations," said Jacob. "For the past 10 years, a restraining order clinic has operated at the court house in East County. It has been run mostly with volunteers since its inception and in fact today remains the only restraining order clinic in the County still operating with volunteers," she added.

Over the past four years, there have been approximately 1,400 filings per year for domestic violence restraining orders with the East County branch of the Superior Court. The restraining clinic has assisted hundreds of domestic violence victims to properly fill out restraining orders.

Project Safe Harbor was developed by three current East County providers, the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program (SDVLP), the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) and the Helix Center, who have joined forces to offer a proposal for a service that has previously been fragmented and inconsistent. The clinic will now be open full-time with consistent hours.

"Victims of domestic violence who need assistance in obtaining a restraining order to ensure their safety should be given that opportunity," said Jacob. "Not only does the clinic help victims obtain their restraining order, the clinic significantly benefits the court by reducing time spent on deciphering a restraining order request."

In the past, the East County clinic had unstable hours because it was operated mainly by volunteers. Today's action ensures that this clinic will continue by appropriating $60,000 for the joint proposal. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is expected to be open this September. The clinic will operate out of the El Cajon Courthouse on East Main Street in El Cajon.