Family Safety Center and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee Provide Media Source List

For more information contact: Janel Lacy, Lacy Strategies

Family Safety Center and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee Provide Media Source List

Experts available to talk about broader impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable in our communities
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 13, 2020) — The Family Safety Center and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee have compiled the information below for members of the media who are seeking expert sources to provide comment on the broader human impact of the COVID-19 global health crisis in Nashville.

Measures that are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including prolonged closures of schools and businesses, are also creating unintended consequences for the wellbeing of those in the community who were already experiencing personal or economic challenges. These consequences include:

  • Violence, abuse and neglect: Social isolation increases the risks for domestic violence, child abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence, including online sexual predators.
    • As victims of domestic violence become socially isolated, there are more opportunities for abuse and fewer opportunities for them to connect with those who might help. TIME Magazine has reported on this issue at a national level.
    • Similarly, child abuse and neglect is more likely to go unreported as social circles contract to only family members. Most cases of child abuse are reported by teachers and other community members who interact with children. In current circumstances, young children may also be left alone to care for themselves. USA Today has reported on this issue at a national level. ○ Many children and teens now have increased access to technology to facilitate at-home learning. With increased technology activity comes the increased ability for minors to
      Page 2 of 4, Media Source List from Family Safety Center and Prevent Child Abuse TN
      encounter online sexual predators. Also, as children and teens become more isolated and lonely, they become more vulnerable and predators’ access points increase.
  • Mental health: A wide-scale crisis, such as this national pandemic, can also trigger anxiety or depression for survivors of domestic or sexual violence who face mental health challenges due to their abuse. Isolation from support networks and other positive coping skills can also increase the use of negative coping skills, including substance abuse relapse.
  • Childhood trauma and toxic stress: Current circumstances are also creating additional economic pressure for vulnerable families who are already living in poverty and facing challenges with basic needs such as stable housing and food. Living in poverty increases the likelihood that children will experience toxic stress—a serious condition that impedes their development and ability to learn. The pandemic is creating additional trauma, which is most harmful for those children who have already experienced severe trauma.

These are challenges that the Nashville Family Safety Center (FSC) and its many partner agencies help address on a regular basis. Although service delivery models have been modified to account for social distancing, help is still available for those in need.

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Metro Office of Family Safety Announces Temporary Changes to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

For Immediate Release

Contact: Diane Lance (615.880.1100)


Vital Services for Victims of Interpersonal Violence Remain Accessible

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 23, 2020) – In an effort to promote social distancing and minimize the spread of COVID-19, the Metro Office of Family Safety is making several changes to its operations effective immediately. During this time, vital supports for victims of interpersonal violence will remain accessible, although with modifications to help ensure the health of staff and community members.

  • Nashville’s Court based Family Safety Center, the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center, will suspend its on-site operations until further notice. Those victims appearing for court will be able to work with an Office of Family Safety Advocate by phone.
  • The Metro Office of Family Safety will continue to assist clients at Nashville’s Family Safety Center at 610 Murfreesboro Pike for in-person Order of Protection assistance and assistance by phone for other advocacy needs. Distancing precautions will be taken for the safety of all clients and staff.
  • Procedures are in place for the continuity of core responsibilities that must be completed daily.  Three key functions that will receive specialized attention include:  1) Order of Protection assistance; 2) emergency advocacy assistance; and 3) high risk intervention panel (conducted remotely) and case flagging for high risk concerns.

“Safety risks for victims of domestic violence increase during times of community crisis as stress and isolation increase,” Diane Lance, director of the Metro Office of Family Safety, said. “In this particular case, where everyone is being told to stay at home, we have to recognize that home is not a safe place for everyone in our community. We want to send a clear message to anyone in an abusive relationship that we are here to help, and that has not changed. Victims are urged to call 9-1-1 if they are in immediate danger. Any other time, they can call our office to speak with an advocate. Our phones are answered 24/7 with help outside of normal business hours from the Tennessee Domestic Violence Hotline.”

The Metro Office of Family Safety can be reached at 615-880-1100.

Adaptations, postponements, and cancellations of other services will be posted on our website and our social media (Facebook @OfficeofFamilySafety).