TBI releases report on family violence

BRISTOL, Tenn. - The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released a report that may be alarming to some. According to the report more than 40,000 people last year were victims of domestic violence in Tennessee.

Johnson City Police tell us a domestic call is often an emotional and volatile situation, that's why several officers respond in those cases.

No one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors. "I never thought in my life that I would have to fight for my life. I never thought someone would want to hurt me that bad," said Betty a domestic violence victim.

Betty wanted to share her story with domestic violence but for her safety wanted to keep her identity hidden. "It started off with a slap here and a slap there," she said.

Sadly, Betty's story is all too familiar. In a newly released study, the TBI reports nearly 15% of all crimes reported to police in 2012 were domestic related.

At Safe Passage, a domestic violence organization in Johnson City, we learned victims of family violence are usually reluctant to report abuse because they're simply scared.

"A victim knows their batterer better than anyone and they know what they're capable of. But on the other hand a batterer typically is very good at hiding that," said Lynn Armstrong with Safe Passage.

In the TBI study we learned, simple assault was the most frequently reported offense. It accounted for 67.5% of family violence crimes. Women were nearly two-times more likely to be victimized than men. More than 17% of family violence offenses involved alcohol or drugs.

Organizations like Safe Passage say the solution to stop family violence isn't so simple. "Accountability still needs to be there and for those that do report they need to be believed. They need to get the assistance and help they're asking for," added Armstrong.

Betty says don't suffer in silence, make a change. "Get help, get out. Get out because it's not going to get any better," she said.

If you would like to take a closer look at the TBI Family Violence Study for 2012 you can click here.

Here are the phone numbers to several 24-hour Crisis Lines:

Safe Passage (423)926-7233

Abuse Alternatives (423)764-9093

Chips (423)743-0022

Safe House (423)246-2273

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-787-3224

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