Family Justice Center officially opens in Sullivan County

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A center that will change the way victims of abuse receive life-saving care is now open in Sullivan County.

Branch House Family Justice Center officially opened its doors in Blountville Friday morning.

It provides a safe space with crucial resources under one roof for domestic or sexual abuse victims.
 
Tennessee governor Bill Haslam came to the center’s ribbon cutting, and said this is a tremendous accomplishment for Sullivan County, and a service that will make a big difference long term.

“This completely changes what a domestic violence or sex crime victim has to go through when they want to report a crime or get help,” said Executive Director of Branch House Family Center, Karen Boyd.

Branch House revolutionizes care for victims and survivors, providing a place with consolidated services.

“A victim of domestic violence or a sex crime could come here and access law enforcement if they wanted to talk to law enforcement, they could speak with a prosecutor if they wanted to do that, we can connect them with counseling, we can connect them with advocacy, help them get the intake done to get placed in a shelter if that’s what they want to do,” Boyd said.

And one of the main forces behind Branch House is District Attorney Barry Staubus.  

“About 40 percent of our case load involves, in some form or another, domestic violence,” Staubus said.

But behind the statistics – are the stories.

“I am a survivor. I came to Branch House August 31, 2017,” said Katie Johnson.

That was before the center even officially opened, and Katie says it looked nothing like the completed version today, but the care and support she got within its walls were life-changing.

“I am so excited for the number of people this is going to help,” Johnson said.

“This is the place where we really try to find a solution,” Staubus said.

Everything that you can actually see at Branch House – the building itself, the furniture, even the hardware on the doors – was all donated.

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