June 18, 2009
KNOXVILLE - University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball head coach Pat Summitt has partnered with the Knoxville Family Justice Center and Operation for HOPE Foundation to raise awareness and put an end to domestic violence. The poster campaign featuring Coach Summitt and the words "Ending Family Violence = VICTORY" was unveiled Thursday morning at the Knoxville Family Justice Center.
"I am very thankful for the Knoxville Family Justice Center, the people here make a difference. I am here today because I want to help make a difference," said Summitt.
Domestic violence is an issue that occurs in Knoxville and Knox County as 23 domestic violence homicides have occurred in the past three years, 10 of which have come in the past year. Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen told the gathered crowd that in 2008 over 16,400 domestic violence calls were made to 911, about one call every half hour.
"However, that is a positive trend as there were over 18,600 calls in 2007. We believe that the Knoxville Family Justice Center has helped that trend," said Owen. "Due to the Knoxville Family Justice Center and the way it is setup, by design, victims can come here and have every need met. We are very, very pleased to be a part of the efforts to end domestic violence."
The Knoxville Family Justice Center is one of 15 federally funded family justice centers throughout the country and has 63 local partners, including the Knoxville Police Department, and the Knox County District Attorney, Probation and Sheriff's Offices.
"Family violence will end when we won't tolerate it anymore; when we take a stand, men and women side by side saying `no more violence," said Summitt. "Victory comes with a price: hard work, dedication, never giving up and believing that we can win. Now is the time to take a stand, go to work. Together we can.
"I am asking each and every one of you here to join the team; pick up the phone and call the Knoxville Family Justice Center and ask for Amy (Dilworth, Knoxville Family Justice Center Director), tell her you want to help, ask her what you can do to stop domestic violence right here in our own community," finished Summitt.