Story by: Dorothy Sherman

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Polyvictims don’t just face just one trauma.

They face multiple.

“It’s not necessarily being revictimized through that same trauma, but it’s a wide variety and wide scope of trauma. It could be child abuse, sexual abuse, natural disasters, community violence. Those kinds of issues,” Chattanooga Family Justice Center Project Coordinator Patti Childers said.

The Chattanooga Family Justice is hoping to further help these victims find pathways to healing through an over $600,000 three year federal grant from the Office of Victims of Crime.

“Only about 9 percent of victims ever get any kind of support. So this grant is trying to address that statistic and family justice centers tend to see people who have multiple, who have had multiple types of trauma,” Executive Director Valerie Radu said.

The grant will provide more support and resources for creating a holistic approach.

Through it, they’ll be adding new services like trauma informed yoga and music and writing therapy.

“Trauma affects the brain in many ways. So sometimes people literally don’t have the words to talk about what happened to them, to express it. And so by creating these other ways that can open people up to be able to start to process their trauma,” Radu said.

The Justice center will help test a new screening tool for trauma.

The grant will also fund training on polyvictimization.

“Because we are a co-located agency, we touch many agencies and so this is a great way for us all to learn more. To be trained to ensure that in all the agencies that are connected to us polyvictims are identified early and referred to these different pathways for healing,” Radu said.

The center was one of four centers awarded the grant.

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