Tennessee panel looks at cost of domestic violence

Tennessee panel looks at cost of domestic violence

May 1st, 2013 by Lindsay Burkholder in Local Regional News

Carol Berz

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

When: May 3, 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Crossville City Hall, 392 N. Main St.

For more information: 931-484-3579

UPCOMING HEARINGS

• May 16, Nashville

• May 22, Knoxville

• June 7, Memphis

• June 20, Trenton, Tenn.

• July 15, Jackson

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is holding a hearing in Crossville, Tenn., Friday as part of a study to assess the impact that domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault have on the state's economy.

Chattanooga District 6 Councilwoman Carol Berz, who is vice chairwoman of the council, said the study takes an in-depth look at what it costs when state and local authorities fail to addresses these issues.

"What we're looking at [is] the cost with the court systems, the education, the health care system, the business community, and it's in the millions of dollars," she said.

Friday's hearing is the third in a series of nine being held across Tennessee as officials begin compiling data. But the meetings are about more than just facts. The goal is to form valuable connections, as well.

"Because of these hearings, local organizations are beginning to see the need to work together who had never worked together before," said Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, executive director for TECW. "To talk, to see what each one is doing and how they can intersect with each other to help prevent these crimes."

This year's study is a follow-up to one released in 2006 to see if circumstances have changed for Tennessee women.

"We were asked to repeat it to see what changes have been made," she said. "So far, none."

Qualls-Brooks said in some regards, things have actually gotten worse.

"In the 2006 study, we were ranked as fifth in the nation of women killed by their partners. We are now ranked third," she said.

But Berz said that the hearings have at least made the public more aware of the issue.

"At least here in Chattanooga we've heightened the awareness greatly, and there are a number of folks looking at what we can do to try and remediate the situation here," she said.

Qualls-Brooks said this year's study has been expanded to include new trends, including human trafficking and an emphasis on the workplace.

"Tennessee is high-profile in [human trafficking]," she said.

The report is due to be published in October of this year, according to Berz.