Victims of Domestic & Sexual Abuse May Have New Family Justice Center

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 10/02/2013 6:07 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF)-- If Governor Bill Haslam has his way, the state will build a Justice Center in Chattanooga in the next few years.
Its an effort to deal with the cycle of domestic violence in the state while eliminating duplication of services.

Mayor Andy Berke says the state's plan to build a Family Justice Center in Chattanooga is a perfect way to help victims of domestic violence.

CHARLOTTE BOATWRIGHT, DIR. COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE "I really want to say how much everyone appreciates his taking the lead in this and applying for the grant to get the actual money to do the strategic planning to make this center a reality."

Charlotte Boatwright says being a victim and getting the immediate help is not always easy.

CHARLOTTE BOATWRIGHT, DIR., COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE "We find that the victims have to go to an average of 30 different agencies in order to get what they need in order to stay out of abuse."

There are more than 10-thousand such cases a year in Chattanooga.

SANDRA HOLLETT, CEO, PARTNERSHIP FOR FAMILIES, CHILDREN & ADULTS "Well, the partnership for families, children and adults for over 25 years, has been a one stop shop here in Chattanooga. But there have been some missing pieces ..and so we're really excited about this new initiative to put all the missing pieces together."

For now, the Partnership operates in a converted funeral home on McCallie.
The Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, was in Knoxville on Tuesday explaining the state's plan for dealing with domestic violence. Knoxville's family justice center went into operation in 2006.

BILL GIBBONS, COMMISSIONER, SAFETY & HOMELAND SECURITY "We're sixth in the nation in the rate of woman killed by men. While we're making progress, we still have a long way to go."

SANDRA HOLLETT "If everybody continues in the direction we're going,I think its definitely not a pipe dream..I think it can actually happen in our community."

Supporters of the new Family Justice Center say one thing it will have that's not readily available now----is law enforcement officers on duty in the building.

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