Memphis police officers respond to over 850 domestic abuse calls each month.
Domestic violence is a repeating cycle that specialists and directors at Memphis’ Family Safety Center are trying to combat, but it is a tough one to battle because domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic boundaries and hides behind the closed doors of intimate relationships.
This center is the first point of contact for domestic violence victims after they choose to seek help and treatment. The center also provides countless resources for children such as music and art therapy. Group therapy sessions also help victims identify with others in similar situations and start to build support systems. Through the use of therapy, safety planning, consultation and support, the center’s staff helps victims get away and stay away from their abusers.
Of all the domestic violence calls made each year in the state of Tennessee, over 25 percent of these calls are reported in Shelby County. In turn, the Family Safety Center sees over 1,500 women every year. The center is unique and differs from other centers in the community because it is a “one stop shop, ” said Jordan Howard. “When women come to see us, they never have to go anywhere else. We have a children’s program, a rape crisis center, safety planning and even a legal team to help these women get away and get the help they need,” Howard said.
Victims who seek refuge at the Family Safety Center are not only victims of physical violence; they are also victims of emotional, financial, sexual and verbal abuse. The center provides confidential emergency shelter, assistance with orders of protection and support in prosecution of the offender. By focusing on awareness, advocacy and training programs, the Family Safety Center also helps to educate the public on domestic violence, which in turn can reduce and prevent violence in Shelby County.