Phoenix Police Foundation works toward
vital improvements at Family Advocacy Center
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
Found along Central Avenue in the heart of the metropolitan sector of the Valley of the Sun is the Phoenix Family Investigations Bureau headquarters where detectives focused solely on domestic violence and sex crimes field calls every day.
If you are sexually assaulted, a victim of domestic violence or any kind of child sex crime in Scottsdale, Phoenix or the Town of Paradise Valley, the second floor of the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center, 2120 N. Central Ave., is where the road to recovery begins.
“This facility is a victim’s center, which operates differently than a shelter, so it is OK to identify the location. We want people to know it is there and that is where they go to get help,” Phoenix Police Foundation President Tim Thomas told the Arizona Digital Free Press Thursday, Oct. 27. “This is a facility where a victim of sexual violence or assault or domestic violence can come and talk to a detective and, in most cases, a forensic nurse as well.”
On average, Mr. Thomas points out, about 2,400 victims of sexual assault and abuse seek help on an annual basis at the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center.
“One of the things that I like to point out is domestic violence and sexual assault —- they don’t discriminate,” he said. “We see males and females and members of the LGBTQ community. We are also beginning to see a growing trend in sex trafficking here in Phoenix.”
A safe haven found in central Phoenix
Phoenix City Council earlier this month voted to match funding for pending renovations being shouldered by the Phoenix Police Foundation and the Phoenix Police Department.
“We are updating the facility because is has been 20 years,” Mr. Thomas said. “We do believe these renovations will promote the idea that victims of sexual abuse can come and get help — to begin to get some of their sense of self back and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Phoenix Police Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to addresses unmet capital needs of the Phoenix Police Department, provides financial assistance in crisis situations and recognizes those who protect our communities.
“This project came out of our grant process,” Mr. Thomas explained of how the realization of dire need emerged at the Family Investigations Bureau at the Phoenix Police Department.
“The department asked us for help. We took this on as our 2022 campaign goal, which is to raise $550,000 for renovations. We are underway as the foundation has raised $217,000, but we are still looking for help from the public to meet that goal.”
Mr. Thomas explains the planned renovations at the Central Avenue facility will be both practical for detectives conducting vital investigations but also for victims to immediately feel safe.
“It is an active facility and we have to manage that,” he said of the logistics of the building could be better. “Today, the victims are all in the same waiting room, which is up front. We are creating private waiting rooms. Today’s environment is kind of like having to walk through a maze. After these improvements, victims won’t have to wander around in between meetings with police staff.”
Collaboration between detectives oftentimes results in a positive camaraderie effect — and Mr. Thomas explains a portion of the renovations will be space for detectives to work together for a common goal.
“We have detectives there on site. Part of this is we are going to build out some collaborative space for them as it is a bit discombobulated at the moment,” he said. “These detectives see the worst of humanity. We have to take care of our people.”
Mr. Thomas contends the project, once completed, will make paramount improvements to those who need the facility most.
“I know this project is going to make a huge improvement for these victims,” he said. “These crimes are often under reported and we need people to come forward. A lot of times these are repeat offenders.”