TAKING ACTION: Recognize the signs of domestic abuse and how to get help

NASHVILLE – Tuesday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a new study that reviews crime statistics from the past year related to domestic violence.

According to the TBI, these were some of the significant findings:

  • A total of 77,846 domestic violence offenses were reported in 2017, representing a decrease of 1.8% since 2016
  • Simple assault accounted for the largest number of domestic violence offenses
  • Females were three times as likely to be victimized as males, and accounted for 71.5% of reported victims
  • Juveniles accounted for approximately 9.8% of reported domestic violence victims, with fondling being the most reported offense made against juveniles.

“I would like to thank all participating law enforcement agencies for their hard work and contributions to making this report a thorough and accurate picture of crime in Tennessee,” said Acting TBI Director Jason Locke. “It is only with their support the state continues to maintain such a successful program.”

The TBI says the annual report compiles crime data submitted to TBI by the state’s law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). To read the full report, click here.

How to Recognize the Signs

We talked to Tanya Reagan, Shelter Manager of Hope Place which is a program of Crisis Services of North Alabama. She knows what it feels like to need help.

"I'm a survivor of domestic violence. I went through a shelter program, not Hope Place, but a program in South Alabama several years ago and that's how I began to understand the true epidemic of domestic violence," she said. "I lost everything of me during that relationship. I remember, vividly, driving down a road one day and I caught my eyes in the rearview mirror and I remember thinking, 'Who is that? Who is that looking at me?'"

Reagan said in her work to help people get out of bad situations, she has noticed some signs of abusive relationships that we will pass along to you to help you recognize if it sounds familiar.

"They usually gain their power through a series of tactics or behaviors. Jealousy is a big component, and I mean extreme jealousy. Possessiveness, you're more a person's property than their partner. They push for quick involvement because they can't hide their true colors forever," she stated. "An abusive person will use whatever works. So generally, they start off with verbal and emotional abuse and then when that doesn't seem to be giving them that sense of power that they're longing for, the physical may start and then it may even escalate to sexual."

There are also some ways you can recognize signs of an abusive relationship in your friends or coworkers who may not be reaching out for help yet, but could need it.

"You may notice a difference in their attitudes. They may seem more withdrawn or isolated. They may be more reluctant to go out to eat lunch with you. They may have excuses for a bruise," Reagan said. "Mainly, I think you're going to notice just a difference in that person, in that light that the person may have, in their whole spirit."

For more, click here.

How to Get Help

Crisis Services has a 24-hour help line: (256) 716-1000.

Reagan said it can be used 24/7, 365 days a year. Call if you or someone you know is going through a tough time. According to the above website, "HELPline offers a trained worker and caring crisis counselor who can provide a listening ear and help you see options for change possibilities."

Crisis Services also has a list of resources that can assist you here.

"Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call because we can help you figure out a plan to get away from that and to live life again, to find your spark, and to live as a productive citizen again," Reagan stated.