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.

Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee (PCAT) has partnered for the last two years with the Metro Office of Family Safety, which operates the FSC, to increase public awareness about its services and the risks of domestic violence in particular. FSC and PCAT have compiled the below media source list to help news reporters who are interested in bringing attention to these critical issues and the community support available to mitigate them.

FSC Partners & Media Sources:

Agency & Role Topics & Story Ideas Contact
Metro Office of Family Safety (OFS)

Manages Nashville’s Family Safety Centers and city-wide response to interpersonal violence

●     Why there is increased risks for victims of interpersonal violence – domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, elder abuse

●     What to do if someone you know may be experiencing interpersonal violence

Diane Lance, Department Head

Phone: (615) 880-1100

Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee

Statewide hotline addressing child abuse

●     Nurture TN: A text message-based support program for moms that proactively addresses risks for vulnerable families

●     Causes and risks of toxic stress in children

Kristen Davis, CEO

AGAPE-Morning Star

Counseling services, after-hours Orders of Protection, and domestic violence shelter provider

·         The experience of survivors of intimate partner violence isolated and in need of safe housing

·         What to do if someone you know is experiencing abuse and needs safe housing.

Chandler Means, CEO

FiftyForward – Victory Over Crime

Case management and supportive care services for victims of crime who are 50 and older. Victory Over Crime also provides crime prevention and safety education for older adults and service providers.

·         Enhanced risk for the elderly community who are living in situations or with individuals who are abusive or neglectful

·         Resource options for elderly victims of abuse and neglect

·         Resources for all elder individuals for access to essential items like supplies, food, or prescription medications 615-743-3416

·         Scams targeting older adults amid COVID-19

Susan W. Sizemore
Communications Director
Phone (615)
HABIT (Human Animal Bond in Tennessee)

Support animals at FSC for individuals who have experienced trauma and staff who experience vicarious trauma

·         Animals as emotional support for victims of interpersonal violence and staff that work in this field

·         Pets and safe housing for pets as a barrier for victims of interpersonal violence to leave an abusive situation

Bethanie Poe, Middle Tennessee H.A.B.I.T Coordinator

Legal Aid Society

Free legal services to low-income and vulnerable persons like interpersonal violence victims

·         Answers to legal issues faced by victims of interpersonal violence including protection orders, evictions, tax relief, denial of benefits and other civil-legal services and the courts

·         Resources for victims of interpersonal violence including direct legal representation, legal advice clinics and self-help materials.

DarKenya Waller, Executive Director

Mary Parrish Center

Transitional housing and rapid rehousing provider for interpersonal violence victims

·         Difficulty with isolation and safe housing for people experiencing interpersonal violence

·         Transitional housing options for people who have experienced interpersonal violence

Mary Katherine Rand, Executive Director

Nashville Children’s Alliance

Counseling and forensic interviews for child victims of physical & sexual abuse

·         Risks for children living with abusive or neglectful caregivers

·         What to do if you know someone experiencing child abuse or neglect.

Dawn Harper, CEO
Sexual Assault Center

Counseling and forensic exams for adult victims of sexual assault

·         The experience of survivors of sexual assault after the recent Tornado and during the pandemic

·         What to do if you know someone who has been sexually abused

Rachel Freeman, President

YWCA Nashville & Middle TN

Domestic violence shelter and 24/7 crisis hotline services

·         The experience of survivors of intimate partner violence isolated and in need of safe housing.

·         What to do if someone you know is experiencing abuse and needs safe housing.

Sharon Roberson, CEO

Michelle Mowery Johnson, Director of Communications


About the Family Safety Center:
The Family Safety Center (FSC) is one of the largest family justice centers in the country. The FSC increases the safety of victims of domestic and sexual violence, child and elder abuse, and human trafficking by creating a supportive environment for victims to receive free and confidential services from a variety of providers all under one roof. Since opening its doors in March 2019, the center has helped thousands of clients take steps toward safety, such as creating detailed safety plans, filing order of protection petitions to keep abusers away, finding housing, meeting with counselors, and interacting with therapy dogs. FSC is operated by the Metro Office of Family Safety, which coordinates services provided to domestic violence and sexual assault victims by Metropolitan Government, its family justice centers and nonprofit partners.
About Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee:
Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee (PCAT) works to see all children in Tennessee thriving in safe, stable and nurturing families and communities. Nurtured children grow into resilient, capable adults, and nurturing homes are built by parents who have the knowledge and a positive support system to help them. (PCAT) helps Tennessee families build the skills and confidence to create a caring environment needed for the healthy development of their young children. Services are free to families and confidential. PCAT will soon have a new name. Follow along with the rebrand at