Funds For Victim’s Safe Spaces In Courthouse Being Made Available
Tennessee counties have an opportunity to improve safety for crime victims when they appear in court to support charges against perpetrators. The Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP) is working to help community leaders access grants to create or renovate courtroom safe spaces. The funds are available through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which is funded through fines imposed in federal courts. A total of $300,000 is available and could be accessed by counties to create or update safe, trauma informed spaces or waiting rooms for victims of crime to wait for court processes or to meet with the prosecutor, victim witness coordinator and other individuals assisting the victim of crime with his/her case. Nine courthouses in the state have received funding so far, one of those nine is Sevier County.
“Because so many courthouses throughout Tennessee still lack safe spaces, our most vulnerable victims, like children and domestic violence survivors, are in danger of being re-victimized by their abusers,” TNDAGC Executive Director Guy R. Jones said. “Every Tennessee courthouse needs a safe space and these grants can help make that happen.”