NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Inside Nashville's Family Safety Center, it has been year of challenges.
"We just had to evolve how we provide services to keep every one safe," LaToya Townsend, the director of training, outreach and development for the Office of Family Safety, said.
The Office of Family Safety runs the center, which offers services to victims and survivors of domestic and interpersonal violence.
"The Metro Office of Family Safety is a Metro department dedicated to keeping victims of interpersonal violence safe and holding offenders accountable," Townsend explained.
It's a mission that Townsend said was needed more than ever during the pandemic.
"The need was always there, but with the safer at home orders, we're safer at home in some ways by preventing the transmission of COVID, but home isn't safe for everyone," she said. "We saw a 29% increase in individual client visits and a 71% increase in client visits in general."
Now, Nashville leaders want that increase in need to be met with an increase in funding. Last week, Mayor John Cooper released his budget proposal which included an additional $1.1 million for the office.
"We’re proposing a 62% increase in their funding to help victims and hold abusers accountable," Cooper said in his State of the Metro address.
Townsend says that money could go to help victims through the Family Safety Center and its partners, and she says the investment would send a message to victims.
"I believe the message that victims and survivors get is that the city is listening, and we believe you and we're here to help," she said.