St. Augustine, Fla. (Aug. 9, 2016) – Julia McLaughlin, a professor of law at the First Coastal School of Law, has been elected as chairperson of the Betty Griffin House Board of Directors.

McLaughlin has served since 2001 as a member on the board of the nonprofit agency, which provides shelter and support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse in St. Johns County.

Severino (Sev) Tamayo, an account manager with Jeff Evans State Farm in Palm Coast who has been on the board for the last two years, was elected to serve as vice-chair of the 15-member board. “We’re excited to have Julia and Sev accept leadership positions as our nonprofit agency is in the process of launching several new initiatives over the next 12 months,” said Betty Griffin House Executive Director Joyce Mahr.

Betty Griffin House currently houses up to 54 women and their children and offers free services and programs including confidential counseling, a 24-hour crisis hotline, a rape crisis unit in Flagler Hospital and legal assistance to domestic violence and sexual assault victims and families throughout the community. The
organization also provides primary prevention education and awareness in the St. Johns County School District and throughout St. Johns County.

For more information, visit

About Betty Griffin Center
The Betty Griffin Center was founded in 1990 by concerned citizens and incorporated as the Safety Shelter of St. Johns County to develop plans to provide shelter for local victims of domestic violence and their children. In 1992, the nonprofit agency contracted with a local motel for space and started a 24-hour crisis line and court advocacy program. By 1994, the agency purchased and opened Betty Griffin House as a permanent shelter. The shelter was expanded in 1998 to meet local demand, and a sexual assault program was added the same year. The Sexual Assault Victim Recovery Program is currently recruiting on call volunteers to provide victim advocacy. For information contact Kelly at 904-808-8544.

Today, Betty Griffin Center shelters 250 to 350 victims of domestic and sexual abuse annually, operates a 24-hour helpline, provides professional counseling for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, provides age appropriate violence prevention training and operates two thrift stores at Julington Square and Anastasia Square to assist in funding the agency’s ongoing operations
For more information or to make a donation, visit To report if you or someone you know is being abused, call the Betty Griffin Center 24-hour crisis helpline at (904) 824-1555.


Media Contact:
Ron Whittington
(904) 563-0402