KNOXVILLE — Tennessee's efforts to curb domestic violence will be strengthened with the opening of three new facilities — one in Chattanooga, Nashville and Cookeville — that represent unified coordination of services among government agencies and nonprofit service providers, a top state official said today.
Bill Gibbons, commissioner of the department of safety and homeland security, credited Family Justice Centers for helping communities address domestic violence and help victims restart their lives. The trio of new centers under development is another step in the right direction, he said during an appearance at the Knoxville Justice Center.
Chattanooga officials announced the city won a three-year grant to open a Family Justice Center.
City officials and representatives from the other cities where the centers are planned are touring the Knoxville Family Justice Center to learn how the facility functions.
Gibbons' remarks also highlighted state figures that indicate reported domestic violence offenses have gone down statewide for half of this year.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, this year through August there were 50, 370 reported domestic violence incidents compared with the 56,451 incidents reported during the same time in 2012.
The grants to get the new Family Justice Centers up and running come from the state through a federal grant. The grants are part of Gov. Bill Haslam's overall public safety plan.
The state has a goal of assisting the startup of five family justice centers across the state in addition to ones already in Knoxville and Memphis.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...