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Creating a safety plan for victims of domestic violence

Escaping your abuser; coming up with a plan
Posted at 3:44 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 21:23:46-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's still early on in the new year and already we've reported on three deadly domestic cases in Davidson County alone. Just last week in Hermitage, police believe a woman was killed by her estranged husband while in the process of a divorce.

"The basis is power and control," Ashley Cathey, the assistant director of client services at the Office of Family Safety said.

Cathey knows making the decision to leave an abusive relationship is complex and sometimes deadly. She explains there are a lot of factors victims need to assess first, like weapons, children, and money.

On average it takes a woman 7 attempts before she’s successfully able to leave an abusive partner. A safety plan can help with that.

Cathey says walk-ins at the Office of Family Safety and the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center are always welcomed.

With the help of an advocate, victims can file an order of protection and make a checklist of what you'll need when you leave. "Things like medications, copies of important documents to take with you so you don't have to go back to get it if possible," Cathey said.

You then discuss how you plan to leave, practice getting out safely, and decide where you should go.

"I would say if abuser out and about, it's probably not best to go back home," Cathey said.

If children are involved, advocates will help you teach these strategies to your children.

Whatever you decide, the Office of Family Safety just wants to make sure you're safe. If you choose to stay, they can go over a plan with you on how to increase safety in your home.

The Office of Family Safety is located at 610 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville and their phone number is (615) 880-1100. You can also visit the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center at 100 James Robertson Parkway in Nashville.

You can also call the Tennessee Domestic Violence Helpline at (800) 356-6767.