PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Washington County non-profit is expanding resources for domestic violence survivors — providing a new approach for survivors in a state where domestic violence is “widespread.”
The Family Justice Resource Center of Washington County, which claims to have helped over 16,000 survivors since opening in 2018, offers a variety of services from mental health care, childcare, and legal assistance to survivors.
The non-profit recently purchased a building in Hillsboro to launch their Family Peace Center project in the spring of 2026. The “first of its kind” facility in Oregon will include adult domestic and sexual violence and child abuse medical services — providing an entire wrap-around service in one setting.
The new facility comes after an audit from the Oregon secretary of State’s Office found that domestic violence — which the state defines as interpersonal, family, and intimate partner violence that can include physical, mental, and emotional abuse — is “widespread” in Oregon and that the state lacks support for survivors.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, more than one-third of adults in Oregon will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.
The audit also cites data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows from 2009-2019, Oregon’s 393 fatal domestic violence incidents resulted in 532 deaths.
In response to the report, Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade said she is “horrified” by how pervasive domestic violence is in Oregon and across the United States.
“The report is extremely beneficial, because it shines a light on the fact that we don’t have a coordinated and well-resourced model in the state in order to work on these things and work on bringing down not only the rates, but also increasing the prevention of partner violence,” said Rachel Schutz, executive director of the Family Justice Center of Washington County.
The audit says Oregon’s role in supporting survivors is largely administrative and financial and recommends a more integrated approach with providers offering emergency housing, legal help, childcare, and mental health resources.
While Washington and Clackamas counties have similar models, Schutz says this approach should be used across the state — especially outside of the Portland metro area where resources are more spread out.
“All survivors in Oregon deserve to have a model in which they can get all of their needs met, that providers are working together. And it’s not that providers are not working together in other parts of Oregon, it’s that they need to be better resourced,” Schutz said.
She added, “there needs to be that drive to bring all these resources together and that support at the state level for making sure that all of that is sustainable, because that’s what survivors deserve. They deserve to have the opportunity to fully break the cycle of violence when they are ready to, and they deserve to have the support right there in their community.”
Domestic violence is also an “undercurrent” of other social issues in Oregon, she explained.
“One of the things that the report points out is that domestic violence and sexual violence are a huge undercurrent in a lot of the challenges that we’re seeing as a state right now, such as homelessness, substance use, financial insecurities, etcetera. And if we start investing in the prevention of the roots of these problems, which we’re starting to take a look at as a state and as communities, we will do better on the downstream impacts of those,” Schutz said.
She says one challenge survivors face is a “huge” shortage of available housing in Oregon.
“In many parts of our state, the metro area included, domestic violence is the number one driver of homelessness,” Schutz said. “If a survivor wants to leave their situation, or has to leave their situation, and doesn’t have the means to secure housing right away, they face a huge risk of homelessness. And many survivors will say, and I have heard them say, that they would rather stay in the situation that they’re in because they prefer having a home to being homeless, even if that home is not safe for them.”
Schutz says there needs to be increased funding for domestic violence programs at the state level as grants for resources have been decreasing over time.
“The statistics and the comment of it being horrifying; that’s the reality,” Schutz explained. “Oregon has higher than the national average rates of domestic and sexual violence and that is something that we have to start talking about. We have to have a coordinated response in our communities, we have to have a coordinated response at the state level too, because we can’t keep having this happen.”