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Mayor Announces Position of Domestic Violence Coordinator

9/25/2013

Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Includes Nine Central Recommendations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean today released nine central goals and recommendations from Metro’s Domestic Violence Safety Assessment and announced the city is moving forward on two key recommendation by hiring a Domestic Violence Coordinator who will work toward creating a coordinated community response through a family justice center model.

“As we follow through on the recommendations in this assessment, we are already improving the coordinated community response to domestic violence and better protecting victims and their children,” Mayor Dean said. “I appreciate the hard work of everyone on the Assessment Team and the cooperation they received from the Metro departments and agencies that were being assessed.”

The assessment was undertaken to explore ways to reduce domestic violence homicides and identify how Metro Government can increase victim safety and offender accountability.

The nine overarching goals and recommendations identify ways to make the system more victim-friendly and better tailor the training and response of advocates and others in the system to the needs of domestic violence victims and the unique criminal behavior of perpetrators. 

Mayor Dean also announced that Whitney McFalls will start as Metro’s Domestic Violence Coordinator on Oct. 14. McFalls is currently an advocate at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. She previously worked as a court advocate for the YWCA and was a victim witness coordinator at the Davidson County District Attorney General’s Office.

The DV coordinator is being funded for three years by a state grant. McFalls will work toward the goal of creating a family justice center model for Nashville, another one of the report’s nine goals and recommendations. She will also work toward the goal of an integrated data collection system, standardized training for Metro employees that work with domestic violence victims and increasing victim services and advocacy at court.

In addition, the Assessment Team scrutinized the entire process a domestic violence victim goes through -- starting with the initial call to 911 and through arrest, prosecution, court and post-court -- and offered 46 stage-by-stage goals and recommendations.

Mayor Dean was joined today by Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson and District Attorney General Torry Johnson, and they both discussed the ways their departments have already begun implementing some of the recommendations.

The Domestic Violence Assessment Team included more than 100 community members and Metro employees, including 15 governmental departments, 13 nonprofit agencies, private entities and attorneys in private practice. The team was led by Diane Lance, special counsel in the Mayor’s Office. They were trained on how to follow national standards for domestic violence safety assessments by Praxis International, a nonprofit research and training organization funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

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