Domestic abuse and sexual assault are on the rise in Warren County. Families in Crisis is a local emergency shelter for women fleeing these types of volatile situations.
The facility has 11 beds and is now over capacity with 15 occupants.
The Warren County district, which includes Grundy and Sequatchie counties, is currently ranked No. 4 in Tennessee with the volume of phone calls coming into the crisis hotline. The only counties higher on that list are those which include major urban and highly populated areas.
Tennessee also ranks No. 4 in the nation of states with the most violence toward women, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Families in Crisis is on its 28th year of operation. Assistance is offered in numerous ways, including a 24-hour crisis line and an emergency shelter for those who need to escape a hostile situation quickly.
Shelter employees will advocate for victims in both civil and criminal court, accompany victims to the hospital, provide both individual and group support counseling, as well as offer the New Beginnings Program, which includes case management, rapid re-housing and homeless prevention.
During rapid re-housing, Families in Crisis will pay the down payment on an apartment or home and pay the first month of rent and utilities to help women successfully get back on their feet.
The shelter is located at an undisclosed home to protect the women and children who are living there. Shelter employees will drive the women to where they need to go, watch the children of mothers who are at work and go above and beyond to make communal living easier. The environment is much more intimate than larger shelters in different cities.
Donations and grants keep the doors open at Families in Crisis. Donations of clothing, school supplies, household items and toiletry and female products are greatly appreciated. Volunteers may be involved in watching children while the mother is at work, helping with repairs, giving rides or moving furniture into the individual’s new home. Volunteer help and monetary donations are always needed.
In a situation of sexual assault, the victim can be examined with a rape kit but opt out of giving it to the police right away. If and when the person who was assaulted decides to press charges, the evidence will be available to present in a court case.
Although the Families in Crisis shelter is only for women and children fleeing a dangerous situation, anyone can call their crisis hotline for help and information on what to do in a dangerous situation.
Domestic violence doesn’t only include being physically assaulted, such as hitting, slapping, hair-pulling, grabbing and other forms of physical abuse. Signs of an abusive relationship can include the following:
• Insults and belittling, such as name calling, profanity or slurs
• Incessant screaming, shouting or raising of the voice
• Extreme jealousy
• Control, including telling the individual how to look, what to wear or how to do their makeup
• Seclusion from family and friends
Families in Crisis director Kristy Stubblefield says, “Believe survivors. Believe women when they come forward. If you don’t believe what a woman is saying about being abused then refer them to us, and we will help.”
If you or someone you know may be suffering from domestic or sexual abuse, call the crisis hotline at 931-473-6221 or 1-800-675-0766.