Story by: Cherish Lombard
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The new Family Safety Center on Murfreesboro Road is officially open, just south of Downtown Nashville.
It is a very pretty building, and the people who designed it did it that way for a reason. They want it to be inviting not only for adults but also for children.
Their hope is to make the whole experience a little less scary for everyone who’s already gone through so much.
It was a packed house for the ribbon cutting at the Family Safety Center on Thursday morning. State and local leaders, as well as many members of the community, showed up to see what the center has to offer.
The process of making this center a reality started under Mayor Karl Dean in 2011. He was among those at the ceremony.
Commissioner Jennifer Nichols with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services gave one example of why places like this one are needed.
Nichols said, “There’s a little girl that goes to St Jude every month not because she has cancer, but because she contracted HIV from her grandfather who knew he had it. She was also a witness to domestic violence. These are the families, and these are the children that you do the work for.”
Now, instead of victims being sent to multiple locations to get help, the agencies are all under one roof, including Nashville Children’s Alliance, Metro Nashville Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Children’s Services.
“Families are coming to us who are experiencing multiple trauma and we are able to immediately hook them up with the professional and the resources that they need. We are here serving child abuse victims, domestic violence, human trafficking, and other interpersonal crimes,” said June Turner, CEO of Nashville Children’s Alliance.
It’s one of the largest and most comprehensive Family Justice Centers in the country, with free and confidential services, and the goal of improving victim safety and offender accountability.
“We really here in Nashville put a tremendous amount of time and resources into making sure this was the most sensitive building for people to walk into because we want people not just to come once, we want them to come again and again, because what we learned is if people who are victims of let’s say domestic violence access services over and over again, they’re more likely to be safe,” said Diane Lance, with the Office of Family Safety.
And people who live and work along Murfreesboro Road are hoping this center is also a step towards improving the Murfreesboro Corridor.
Turner said, “Murfreesboro Corridor is such a vital part of Nashville and it needs to be revitalized. And I just really believe the Family Safety Center and Metro Headquarters is a huge step forward in making that happen.”
We’re told placing the Family Safety Center on the Murfreesboro Corridor was also important in order to give victims bus stop access, and plenty of free parking, depending on their needs– and a centralized place where nonprofit and government officials work together each day to give victims options, and help make Nashville a better place.
If you need help, you can go to:
610 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37210
It’s open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Read the original story here.