‘You are not alone. We can help you,’ East TN advocates say as Morristown domestic violence center closes Friday

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – As a Morristown domestic violence center closes its doors for good after 39-years, East Tennessee nonprofits are stressing that help is still out there for survivors.

CEASE, Inc. announced on Wednesday it would be closing permanently on Friday, Jan. 31, after losing its biggest funder in December. A post on Facebook from the domestic violence center said the nonprofit has been working with a skeleton crew.

Last month, board members with CEASE, Inc. explained 18 advocates, who focus on outreach, were laid off. At the time, the nonprofit said it was in the middle of negotiations to reestablish that grant.

More: Morristown domestic violence program CEASE, Inc. copes with funding cut

CEASE, Inc. sharing in their post that they’ve found safe housing for all their residents and they’re making sure all of their outreach clients have exactly what they need.

We reached out to the executive director and board members of CEASE, Inc. however no one was available for an interview on Thursday.

“My heart feels broken for survivors,” Joanie Stallard Stewart, executive director for the Knoxville Family Justice Center, said.

Stewart says when nonprofits like CEASE close it can have a devastating impact.

“It can lead survivors to believe that they do not have the backing of the community,” she said. “It can leave survivors in a vulnerable and volatile situation where their health and personal safety are at stake, as well as their family members.”

Domestic violence prevention advocates say a closure puts a strain on resources throughout East Tennessee because the problem doesn’t go away.

“Things can be inevitable when it comes to money and things go up, and things go down, but we are open here in Knox County and we can help you,” Stewart said.

If you live outside of Knox County, you can call or come by the Knoxville Family Justice Center.

“I understand coming from an area outside of Knox County, you may have transportation difficulties but that is one thing we can help you with too. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. We are here,” Stewart explained.

She also said now is a good time to lend a hand.

“Those donations go to a variety of things including specific programs that we have for survivors, therapy, even transportation cards so they can make their way to the center,” Stewart said. “We can provide funds for groceries, for utilities.

“You need to know that you are not alone. We can help you find resources to your particular situation. You are not alone.”

Domestic Violence resources

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found 40% of women and 32.5% of men in Tennessee experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

Tennessee Domestic Violence Helpline 1-800-356-6767

Haven House

Haven House domestic violence services assists in crisis, shelter and resources for victims and survivors. The Haven House crisis hotline is 865-982-1087.

Knoxville Family Justice Center

Knoxville Family Justice Center serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and has a support center that provides services such as prosecutors, detectives, clergy and social service professionals. 

Its 24/7 family violence helpline is 865-521-6336.

The Salvation Army/The Joy D. Baker Center

The Salvation Army’s Knoxville Area Command offers domestic violence recovery programs and the Joy D. Baker Center for emergency shelter for women/children affected by domestic violence. If you need help call 865-525-9401.

Legal resources:

  • Attorney General’s Office (Criminal Court) 865-215-2515
  • Orders of Protection (Fourth Circuit Court) 865-215-2404
  • Legal Aid of East Tennessee (Divorce, OP) 865-215-6830

The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter