The city’s frigid temperature didn’t hinder a medium-sized crowd from attending the launch of a new comprehensive response to domestic violence at the Urban Child Institute (UCI) today.
After a three-year planning stage, Shelby County's "Blueprint for Safety" initiative was introduced during a Thursday morning news conference. The initiative seeks to enhance services provided by 911 dispatchers, law enforcement, and victim/witness services to domestic violence victims. The Blueprint for Safety will also strengthen the rehabilitative efforts provided to offenders by the city's domestic violence court, pretrial services, and probation.
Stakeholders for the initiative include city and county governments, local law enforcement, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District's office, the Shelby County District Attorney General's office, General Sessions Division 10, the Family Safety Center, and other non-profit agencies.
Representatives from several of the aforementioned entities took turns speaking at a podium about their role in the initiative and the adverse circumstances of domestic violence.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said one of Blueprint for Safety's main goals is to enlighten the public on the frequency of domestic violence cases locally.
“We have some 8,000 domestic violence cases here in the local area annually,” Luttrell said. “This blueprint helps us to differentiate the cases and the elevated risk and work collectively with all of the service providers as we try to focus on the plight of the victim. What I particularly appreciate about this plan is how it pulls together the dispatchers, law enforcement officers, the firefighters, and correctional officers in our jails and prisons. It brings all of the players that are involved in touching the elements of crime together for kind purpose.”
The Blueprint for Safety initiative is being funded by a $300,000 federal grant administered through the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women.
Memphis is the fourth city to adopt the DOJ’s Blueprint for Safety model. The initiative is already being implemented in both St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota as well as New Orleans, Louisiana.
For more information on the Blueprint for Safety initiative, read next week's issue of the Memphis Flyer.