Family Justice Center working to add domestic violence aid to Horry County residents

The Family Justice Center – the nonprofit domestic violence agency based in Georgetown County – is planning to expand into Horry County.

“Horry County is in great need,” said FJC co-director Vicki Bourus.

Offerings at the center in Georgetown expanded last year to include a shelter for domestic violence victims. Bourus said plans for Horry County are in early stages, but won’t include sheltering because that is already provided by New Directions.

“The victims of domestic violence need so much,” she said. “There are lots of needs over and above the need for shelter. The plan is to work in conjunction with New Directions. They need counseling, case management, court advocacy, legal consultation and help.”

Last year, the center served 659 clients and anticipates the number to exceed 750 in 2014.

The S.C. Department of Social Services approached the FJC about expanding into Horry County where a void still remains for domestic violence victims since the Citizens Against Spousal Abuse dissolved amid allegations of misused funding and the arrest of the organization’s director in 2012.

Bourus and co-director Beverly Kennedy are looking for funding sources to cover expenses of the expansion and hope LUNAFEST – a national traveling film festival fundraiser – next month will help.

“Funds from LUNAFEST will go to our general operation which could include expenses as a result of the expansion,” Bourus said. “I imagine it would certainly help assist us in expanding.”

Kennedy said the current goal is to put a staff member in Horry County one day a week through the end of 2014 and Bourus said the agency is looking for a potential satellite office with affordable rent.

“We’re going to do this slowly and carefully,” Kennedy said. “We have to be careful not to burn out our staff and we certainly don’t want current services in Georgetown County to be compromised.”

LUNAFEST is May 2 in the auditorium at Waccamaw High School and begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. The short films, which are made by women, for women and about women, will run back-to-back over 90 minutes. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased at lunafest.org/pawleysisland or at the FJC at 1530 Highmarket Street. Tickets also will be available at the door.