NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Domestic violence most often occurs between a boyfriend and girlfriend followed by spouses according to a 2020 report released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The intimate connection makes it more difficult for victims to break away. News 2 has been working with local organizations to bring you information on how victims can escape the danger.
The Metro Office of Family and Safety is a one-stop shop that provides all the tools victims need to safely move on.
Ending any intimate relationship can be complicated says LaToya Townsend, “You have the distribution of assets; you have emotional involvement; you may have children involved.”
Physical or emotional abuse raises the stakes. “Now, add in the fact that this person is dangerous and may have even threatened your life. How much more difficult is that?” continues Townsend, the Director of Training, Outreach and Development with the organization.
The Metro Office of Family Safety looks to remove those overwhelming barriers says Townsend. “Whether that be shelter; whether that be an order of protection, referrals to food resources, [and] finical programs.”
The facility is located at 610 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville, and it opened in 2019.
Inside you’ll find a safe setting with a clean space for children to play comfortably.
Townsend says, “We have discrete entry into the facility. We have highly trained advocates.”
Those advocates also support victims who head to court to face their abuser.
“Rather than sit in the courtroom and wait for your case to be heard, you’re waiting in our facility where you’re receiving all of the safety planning,” Townsend adds, “with something to snack on; a toy for your kid to play with; a book to read to calm your nerves.”
When it’s time for the case to be heard, Townsend says victims are not alone, “Advocates will escort them to the courtroom and be sitting with them in the courtroom waiting. Knowing you have that support behind you makes it a lot easier.”
The same support is offered to everyone Townsend says, “Regardless of their gender; regardless of their sexual orientation; regardless of their immigration status – we are open.”
Townsend has a message for any domestic violence victim. “We believe you. We are here for you. You are not alone, and we support you.”
All services are free. The phone number to call (615) 880-1100 or email FSCINFO@jis.nashville.org. Visit the website by clicking on this link.
Tennessee Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline: 800-356-6767.