KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Family Justice Center is one of just several non-profit organizations here in East Tennessee focused on domestic violence.
“The goal is for victims to be able to come through one door and get help for all of the things that they need,” Kathryn Ellis, the executive director of the Knoxville Family Justice Center said. “Between our nine onsite partners and about 40 offsite partners, we can connect victims to immediate shelter, to transitional housing, to clothing, to food to counseling.”
Ellis believes it is important to understand that there are many different forms of domestic violence.
“Often that is through physical violence, but it is also through mental and emotional abuse, it’s through financial control, using religion against people, it takes all forms,” Ellis said. “It is between two people that have some level of a relationship with each other.”
Ellis said 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will become victims of domestic abuse at some point in their life. She added that often times the most difficult thing for a survivor of domestic violence to do is leave.
“On average people who are victims take seven times to leave that means there is that one person who leaves the very first time there’s an incident,” Ellis said. “To offset that person who leaves the first time, there’s somebody else who tries to leave 13 times or 14 times.”
As for children who grow up in a home with domestic violence they are more likely to be part of the cycle.
“Children who grow up in abusive homes are much more likely to either be a victim themselves or to be a perpetrator and it’s also not unusual for people to be both,” Ellis said.
Ellis believes it is important to understand that domestic violence can impact all of us whether we know it or not.
“It might affect us because the child in the home goes to school and acts out and affects other children,” Ellis explains. “It might affect us because of the trauma that law enforcement feels when they respond or people in this building feel when they’re hearing these stories.”
Ellis stresses that everyone knows someone who is a survivor of domestic violence whether they know it or not.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or intimate partner violence, there is help. Contact the Family Justice Center at 865-521-6336 or click here.