Mayor Andy Berke and other officials toured the new Family Justice Center, which is under construction. The Family Justice Center is currently residing in a temporary location at 5741 Cornelison Road until the permanent location is open. (Photo: Contributed)

Mayor Andy Berke addressed the issue of domestic violence and toured the new Family Justice Center,which will providefree services when it opens this fall.

“Domestic violence is a real issue in our country, state and city,” he said, according to a news release. “We know that nationally, one in three women will experience some type of violence at the hands of her partner at some point in her lifetime. And currently here in Chattanooga, over 30 percent of our total violence crime isfamilyviolence or sexual assault. This is unacceptable.”

The final look may change, but these are the latest renderings of the new center. (Renderings: Derthick, Henley & Wilkerson Architects)

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Officials such as City CouncilwomanDr. Carol Berz, Police Chief Fred Fletcher and Family Justice Center Director Dr. Valerie Radu joined Berke on a tour of the new facility, located on Eastgate Loop, which will help victims of sexual assault, human trafficking, elder abuse and domestic violence.

A range of social services will be available through the center, and dozens of local organizations are partnering to facilitate them.

“Having so many partner organizations in one place means survivors don’t have to experience the frustration of going to several different places,” Radu said, according to a news release. “And not only will the [center] make it more convenient for survivors to access services, this space was designed to make people feel comfortable and welcoming.”

During Wednesday’s tour, Fletcher discussed the changes currently underway in the police department to provide more services to victims, including the recent hire of Caroline Huffaker as victim services coordinator. There are also two new hires on the horizon.

TheFamilyJusticeCenter is currently residing in a temporary location at5741 Cornelison Road until thepermanentlocation is open.

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