Olliette Murry-Drobot, executive director of the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County
Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault will now be provided with hotel rooms when they call for help, thanks to a new three-year $600,000 grant from the state Office of Criminal Justice Programs.
The grant was awarded to the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County (FSC), which serves as a one-stop shop for victims of family violence. The center combines civil, criminal, health, and social services at its facility at 1750 Madison.
With the grant funds, FSC staff will be able to secure a hotel room for victims who call the 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline at 901-222-4400.
The FSC piloted the hotel room program from March to August of this year, and they were able to secure shelter for 40 women. They say they expect to temporarily house many more with the full grant funding. The program is also open to LGBT victims of domestic violence.
According to the FSC, it takes an average of seven tries before a domestic violence victim succeeds in escaping, and one of the hinderances is often an inability to find shelter for themselves and their children. Memphis has a lack of available beds for women and children in emergency shelters.
“There is a major need for emergency shelter services in Shelby County, as the only dedicated domestic violence shelter recently stopped accepting federally funded victims,” said Olliette Murry-Drobot, executive director of FSC. “Thanks to this three-year grant from the State of Tennessee, Family Safety Center will be able to provide a safe place for victims of all backgrounds, ages, and genders who are in eminent danger from domestic violence and sexual assault by an intimate partner.”
Once shelter is secured, the FSC will help the victims with safety planning and provide access to advocacy services.
The Memphis Police Department deals with more than 850 domestic violence incidents every month.