The Coalition Against Domestic and Community Violence of Greater Chattanooga, Inc. is a nonprofit umbrella network that works to reduce family violence through education and coordinated community response. It is governed by its own board of directors and is not supervised by any other agency or organization. Domestic violence is an ongoing pattern of physical, sexual and psychological abuse in intimate or familial relationships. It includes spousal abuse, violence between unmarried intimate partners of same or different sex, dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse. Resulting community crimes include assault, stalking, kidnapping, robbery, hostage taking, property destruction, arson, child and elder abuse, juvenile crime, gang violence and animal abuse.
The coalition evolved from community needs and was founded in 1994 when a group of professionals expressed concerns about poor treatment of victims in the justice system. Family violence was poorly understood. Victims were blamed for the abuse and re-victimized by the systems that should have been there to help them. Law Enforcement and the courts did not treat abuse as a crime, often dismissing criminal behavior as a “family dispute”. The coalition was formed with the goal of reducing family violence through education of public and professionals. Today, it has grown to include over 600 agencies, departments and individuals across Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Because the coalition network is strong and composed of people committed to their work, there have been many successful collaborative projects over past years. The coalition’s only support comes from donations and sponsorships. It consists of volunteers and has never been funded.
The Chattanooga Family Justice Alliance was developed in 2004 out of the Coalition with the mission to co-locate law enforcement and advocacy for victims making access to services easier and more effective. The President’s Initiative model upon which this collaboration is based, has proven successful in other cities, such as San Diego, Indianapolis and Tampa. The collaboration is multidisciplinary, including the justice system, heath care, education, faith community, business and industry.
Abuse impacts everyone in the community. The annual cost of the “war at home” nationwide is conservatively estimated to exceed $194 billion annually. The coalition and alliance utilize research locally to study cost, outcomes and determine effectiveness of the community’s response. Research is revealing the cost of abuse to taxpayers, business and health care. It reduces employee productivity and increases turnover, absences and tardiness in the workplace. Impact on health care benefits and employee assistance programs is dramatic. Studies are being done to better estimate costs of health care, social services and education for children who are abused during pregnancy and the early formative years. Along with reduction of homicides and serious injuries, the need to reduce the cost of family violence is becoming apparent.
Over 70 partners in the project are in the process of implementing a strategic plan for a Family Justice Center to improve response to family violence through better use of existing resources. Services will “wrap around” victims to meet their needs without sending them from place to place. The program will provide support and reduce barriers that often deter victims in escaping abuse and establishing healthy lifestyles.
For President’s Initiative information, see www.familyjusticecenter.org.
The Coalition Against Domestic and Community Violence of Greater Chattanooga, Inc. seeks to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and resulting crimes in the community. The coalition network extends across Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.
Statement of Purpose:
The purpose of the Coalition Against Domestic and Community Violence of Greater Chattanooga, Inc. is to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and resulting community crimes by:
promoting prevention, early intervention and treatment through education and advocacy.
coordinating services among agencies, departments and the courts to improve response to incidences of domestic violence and community violence.
advocating and informing elected officials about issues pertaining to domestic and community violence.
The Domestic Violence Coalition of Greater Chattanooga is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization of volunteers which was founded in May, 1994. It was developed out of the expressed needs of victims and service providers to improve community response to family violence issues. More than 350 representatives now serve in the coalition network from public and private agencies, education, law enforcement and the justice system across three states. Other involved disciplines include attorneys, psychologists, physicians, clergy, counselors and most importantly, survivors of family violence.