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Overton County’s Family Justice Center Celebrates New Location

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton County’s Family Justice Center Celebrates New Location

A center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that provides new beginnings celebrated Friday.

Local officials and residents gathered in Livingston at South Church Street for the new location of Overton County’s Family Justice Center. Site Coordinator Brittany Shaw said the day would not have been possible without the strength of survivors.

“When I first started this project, I got to meet a lot of courageous people,” Shaw said. “We did survivor focus groups, and in those groups, not only did we get ideas of what the center really needed and what direction we needed to go in, but I got to hear everybody’s story.

Shaw shared one of those stories of the life of an abused person. Shaw said the young woman is an example of how a victim can turn into a survivor.

“With the help of her (a shelter advocate), a counselor that I see weekly, a DCS worker that showed me grace and a local pastor that listened to me break down on more than one occasion with all judgement aside, I was able to start over,” Shaw said. “I went to college and got that degree, I got my children back and I was able to face him in court. I still have triggers and think about the life I once knew. But I have a group of people that have my back and have pulled me from the dark depths of being a victim to being a survivor. I am a survivor… This is why we do what we do.”

The center is a one-stop shop for victims that has a library of services from court system liaisons to agencies that provide shelter. District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway said the site will give Overton, Clay and Pickett Counties a safe environment for those in need.

“One of the unique things that we have made available and was a challenge at first (…) We’re going to have available here at this building is a Judicial Commissioner,” Dunaway said. “We implemented that in the Cookeville office, and it was so successful. And what does that mean to you? It means a victim doesn’t have to be sent through the court house and go through the metal detector and all that stuff that is confusing and intimidating when they need a order of protection.”

The offices are located inside the Old Twin Lakes building on Church Street. The city of Livingston approved a no-cost lease to the organization allowing the relocation from the Overton County Sheriff’s Department.


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