Using Expertise to Take A Stand Against Domestic ViolencePosted: 10/03/2018
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was launched nationwide in October 1987 as a way to raise awareness and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues. This Office joins organizations across our country and community in taking a stand against domestic violence in October and throughout the year. Unfortunately, we see the damaging effects domestic violence has on individuals and families every single day.
Everyone has a role to play in taking a stand against domestic violence in our community. As the District Attorney General for the 6thJudicial District in Tennessee, my approach to domestic violence and other issues in our community is to be “Tough on Crime, Smart on Prevention.” After taking office in September 2014, I created and enhanced several special prosecution units to combat persistent problems in our community. These problems involved a high volume of domestic violence offenses occurring in Knox County and the fact that the Domestic Violence Unit, at the time, consisted of only one full-time prosecutor. Today the specialized unit has six full-time professionals dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence and holding their abusers accountable. According to statistics from the Randall E. Nichols Family Justice Center, local law enforcement receives a domestic violence call every thirty minutes. This translates to more than seventeen thousand calls per year and thousands of cases of domestic assault coming through the court system. Just last year alone, the Domestic Violence Unit handled nearly 1,800 cases, which represent approximately the same number of victims. Focus and expertise in a specific type of crime plays a vital role in successful prosecution. The unit’s prosecutors and victim/witness coordinators bring with them years of experience and specialized training to handle challenging domestic violence cases.
Collaboration also plays a vital role in addressing domestic violence in our community. The District Attorney’s Office works closely with law enforcement and local agencies to streamline investigations and to make free and confidential services readily available to individuals impacted by domestic violence. While our community has made great strides to stand against domestic violence, there are still individuals and families who need access to services.
Please share the following information with as many people as possible. Everyone has a role in standing against domestic violence. As we know, knowledge is power and power is something most victims of domestic violence have lost. Help us as we work to educate our community to prevent domestic violence and as we work to empower victims on their journey to becoming survivors.
Randall E. Nichols Family Justice Center:
The Knoxville Family Justice Center provides “one place to go” for domestic violence victims. Prior to its opening in 2006, victims of domestic violence would go to more than 20 different locations in Knox County to meet their needs.
Today, more than 62 partner agencies serve and support victims by providing safety plans, danger assessments, language interpretation, petitions for Orders of Protection, civil legal assistance, counseling, support groups, access to safe shelter, culturally specific advocacy, assistance with applying for transitional housing, and other needs in a single location. Law enforcement and prosecutors are, also, available to speak with victims in a victim-centered environment.
The 24/7 Family Violence Helpline is (865) 521-6336. Visit the Family Justice Center’s website for more information: https://fjcknoxville.com/
Domestic violence is a serious and complicated issue with no easy answers, but the experienced prosecutors and staff of the District Attorney’s Office are working to make the community safer and are empowering the victims of this violence to not only survive but to thrive.
Please join me in taking a stand against domestic violence by using your expertise and your abilities to raise awareness and help victims of domestic violence.
Charme P. Allen
District Attorney General, 6thJudicial District