Silent No More
By Scott Pearson
Domestic violence is a crime that effects hundreds of Marshall County residents every year.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and, while local agencies want to raise awareness of the issue, they also want to let people dealing with domestic violence know that there are resources for them, as well as hope.
A Silent No More candlelight vigil will be held at the Rock Creek Park pavilion on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m. to highlight the problem and the steps being taken to fight it.
Haven of Hope, the Lewisburg Police Department, and the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office are sponsoring the event, but their involvement in combating domestic violence goes far beyond a single day or a designated month.
In the 2016 Crime in Tennessee report issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the county’s law enforcement agencies reported some 280 incidents of domestic violence.
In the 2017 report, between the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the police departments of Lewisburg, Chapel Hill, and Cornersville, 342 cases classified as domestic violence were reported.
In July last year, Haven of Hope, a non-profit agency offering a wide range of support and assistance for victims of domestic violence, established a full-time office in the county to help victims.
This July, funded by a state grant, the Lewisburg Police Department established a full-time domestic violence investigator position, dedicated to the problem.
Together, these efforts are beginning to make a difference.
Melissa and Amber, the Haven of Hope advocates here, have been working steadily over the past year with victims to provide counseling, advocacy in court, safety planning, and assistance with orders of protection.
Better coordination with law enforcement, and the addition of Danielle Cozart in July as the LPD’s investigator, have doubled the number of referrals for service over the prior year, said Amber. Haven of Hope advocates use only their first names for confidentiality and safety reasons.
Melissa noted as well that more males who suffered from domestic violence were coming forward for assistance also.
“The collaboration between all of the agencies has been great,” said Melissa, letting victims know all of the options and choices that are available to them.
So while domestic violence remains a serious issue here, thanks to concerted efforts across the county, victims are able to find their voice.
Haven of Hope offers a 24-hour crisis line at 800-735-7739 or the local office can be contacted at 931-422-2277.