Domestic violence advocates hope to spark a conversation about abuse.
“There’s a way out, you just have to do it safely and carefully,” said Amy Dilworth, director of the Family Justice Center in Knoxville.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released statistics from last year, showing 77,846 domestic violence offenses were reported. More than 70 percent of the victims were women.
Dilworth says there are resources out there for victims facing violent situations. At the Family Justice Center in Knoxville, there are counselors and law enforcement on hand.
“I think this issues makes people feel very alone and that they’re the only one but they’re not. There’s suport groups,” said Dilworth. “These are life and death situations.”
Dilworth says the most dangerous time of an abusive relationship is when the victim is trying to leave.
“That’s when the control is slipping away from the abuser and that’s when they’re going to try to do things to increase their control.”
To get out of a domestic violence situation, the Family Justice Center helps you come up with a safety plan.
“You learn to maybe have a bag of clothes with a neighbor or friend that you can go get and be gone. Just different things that you have to start considering and thinking about. Have the important documents for you and your children,” said Dilworth.
if you feel the need to file an order of protection, you can come to the Family Justice Center or 4th Circuit Court at the city-county building in downtown and an advocate will sit down with you and go through the process.
“It’s telling the abuser to not come around and if the abuser does, there are consequences,” said Dilworth.
If you ever feel like you’re in a crisis or suffering from domestic violence, the Family Justice Center has a 24/7 hotline number you can call: (865) 521-6336.