Get help in one stop at new Family Justice Center

Safe space available for victims of domestic, sexual, elder abuse in Anderson County.
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Feeling trapped in an abusive relationship? Not sure about your rights? Afraid to go to the police? The new Anderson County Family Justice Center opening July 1 in Oak Ridge offers a one-stop shop for people who need help. The Center is a community effort involving several different agencies that can assist individuals and families in turmoil. On its new website, the Anderson County Family Justice Center explains that it “Helps victims of elder abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault & exploitation, and child abuse.”

The number to call is 865-298-3129. Executive Director Melissa Miller said, “What makes it awesome is that everyone who’s been working so hard for so many years is coming together in one space...The idea is to have everything you need in a warm and welcoming environment.” Miller said you will be able to talk face to face with a staff person who can navigate you through the process of getting various kinds of help in a time of need.

While Miller is hired by the office of District 7 District Attorney General Dave Clark, this office provides a separate environment designed to be less intimidating than police stations and court offices, that can still connect with these resources as needed. DA Clark said, “Help not just from police or the courts, but help in other ways too...It’s going to make it easy for people to tell their story and get justice.”

The Center is possible because of grant funding and a generous low-cost lease from Oak Ridge-based ORNL Federal Credit Union. President and CEO Colin Anderson said, “I think the organization will make a huge difference in the community. We’re just proud that we can help.” The credit union is providing approximately 3,300 square feet of office space for the Center, and plans on offering a similar amount of space eventually to another nonprofit in the same building.

If you need help now, you can find a list of resources on the Center’s website now, including crisis phone numbers and ways to reach assistance via email and text.

The Center is located at 301 Broadway Avenue in Oak Ridge, near historic Jackson Square. It is in the same building as the newly unveiled mural painted by Oak Ridge artist Megan Lingerfelt.

Oak Ridge City Council member and high school art teacher Jim Dodson said in July he will begin displaying his own artwork inside the new Center. Then in the fall, Dodson will begin a rotation of art displays from Oak Ridge students.

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