Tennessee Moves Forward On Family Justice Center Effort

Effort To Help Combat Domestic Violence, Provide More Support For Victims

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons on Tuesday announced significant progress in a statewide effort to help reduce incidents of domestic violence in Tennessee by increasing the number of family justice centers as a means of providing more support to victims of violence. Tennessee is the first state to prioritize federal grant funding, through its Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP), to establish a statewide family justice center initiative. The effort is a major part of Governor Haslam’s Public Safety Action Plan.

Commissioner Gibbons made the announcement at a training conference at the Knoxville Family Justice Center for organizers of centers planned for Chattanooga, Cookeville, and Nashville. Commissioner Gibbons was joined by OCJP Director Bill Scollon, Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols, District Attorney Randy York of Putnam County, and the directors of the family justice centers in Knoxville and Memphis. The Office of Criminal Justice Programs and the Knoxville Family Justice Center hosted the training. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero participated in the training earlier in the day.

“While reported domestic violence incidents in Tennessee are down more than 10 percent compared to last year, domestic violence continues to make up a large percentage of all reported violent crimes, with over 50,000 incidents already reported this year. We know that in order to reduce crime in our state, we have to reduce violence in the home.  Expanding the number of family safety centers is one of the steps in the Governor’s Public Safety Action Plan to get us to that goal and help make Tennessee safer,” Commissioner Gibbons said. Mr. Gibbons heads the Governor’s Public Safety Subcabinet.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, through August of this year, preliminary figures show 50,370 reported domestic violence offenses compared to 56,451 through August of 2012 (10.8 percent decrease).

Family justice centers provide victims of domestic violence with a single location to access safety, advocacy, justice, and other services necessary to end the cycle of violence in the home. Using a coordinated, comprehensive approach to family violence, these types of centers bring many agencies and organizations under one roof and become “one-stop-shops” to provide help for victims and their children. The basic partners normally include law enforcement, prosecutors, civil legal service providers, and community-based advocates.

The Family Justice Center Alliance reports a significant reduction in the number of homicides in communities with family justice centers, including New York; Rockville, Md.; and San Diego. The Alliance also states that victims have felt enhanced safety, greater autonomy and empowerment, and less fear and anxiety for themselves and their children. Centers provide more efficiency and coordination among service providers, better prosecution of offenders, and increased support services to victims and their children.

The Knoxville Family Justice Center was the first such center in Tennessee, founded in 2006.  The Family Safety Center in Memphis opened in 2012. The OCJP has awarded grant funding to organizers in Chattanooga, Cookeville, and Nashville to help establish family justice centers in those communities.  The grants provide funding for a two-year planning process and the first year of operations for the centers.



CHI Memorial Convenient Care - LaFayette Now Open

CHI Memorial Convenient Care – LaFayette is now open and will host an open house event for the community on  Wednesday, from 1 – 5 p.m.   Activities will include mini health assessments, including blood pressure, height, weight, BMI (body mass index) and waist circumference, diabetes risk self-assessment, bone density screening, breast health education and light refreshments. ... (click for more)

University Surgical Welcomes 2 New Surgeons

University Surgical Associates (USA) welcomes Erica R. Clark, D.O. and John C. Huggins, M.D., to the team of surgeons providing specialized surgical care to patients in the Chattanooga area. “This is an exciting time in the history of University Surgical as we gain two outstanding surgeons who will enhance our services in vascular, breast and general surgery,” says Michael ... (click for more)

Deborah Cox Of Graysville Dies After Wreck On Jones Gap Road

One person who was in critical condition after a wreck on Jones Gap Road has died. The victim was identified as Deborah Cox, of Graysville, Tn.  Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies, along with HCEMS and fire personnel, worked the accident near the 13,300 block of Jones Gap Road. Due to the crash, north and southbound Jones Gap Road were closed for a lengthy ... (click for more)

Excitement Builds As Tennessee Valley Prepares For Monday's Eclipse

Sandra Nicholson, director of the Edu-Care Daycare Center on Signal Mountain, is as ready for  Monday’s  historic solar eclipse as she’s ever going to be. It took some doing, she said, but she has finally enough pairs of NASA-certified solar safety glasses for everyone in her family.  She’s just one of the tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley area residents ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (18)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Berke Plan To Solve Discrimination Is To Kick Dead Veterans To The Curb

Racism and discrimination is wrong. What is the best way for a parent to teach a child the evils of discrimination? Should the parent demonstrate and repetitively incentivize the proper behavior? Or, would it be more productive to badger the child over and over again for the sins of the child's g-g-g-grandfather who died 150 years ago? Would burning the personal effects of the grandfather ... (click for more)