Pellissippi State partners with Family Justice Center to prevent violence

3 people standing in a row, 2 holding a plaque together.
Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State Community College, marks a new partnership with the Family Justice Center during a signing ceremony Thursday, Aug. 7. He is joined by Amy Dilworth, director of the Family Justice Center, pictured at center, and Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs.

Student safety is of paramount importance at Pellissippi State Community College, and to help preserve the health and wellness of both students and employees, the college is partnering with the Knoxville Family Justice Center to implement the Campus SaVE Act.

“We are very fortunate and grateful to have a partnership with the Family Justice Center,” said Mary Bledsoe, dean of students and assistant vice president of Student Affairs at Pellissippi State. “They provide valuable, important resources to our students who encounter or know someone who is in a dangerous situation.

“Pellissippi State is committed to supporting the survivors of violence as they seek to work through those situations. There are safe places on our campuses for them to go to find that support.”

Pellissippi State and the Family Justice Center signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday, Aug. 7.

With the Family Justice Center, Pellissippi State will provide training to students and employees on how to deal with violence, stalking, and trauma. One of the training tools is a video for new students. The video includes interviews with campus security staff, other college employees and Justice Center spokespeople. It gives tips on how to prevent dangerous situations and offers solutions for how to deal with such situations if they arise.

In addition, the Family Justice Center will provide training to Pellissippi State employees on how to work with victims of trauma. The center also will serve as a referral agency for any of those victims.

In the coming year, Pellissippi State will provide workshops for victim support groups, covering topics such as applying for college, writing resumes and exploring career options. Pellissippi State will provide mentoring for Family Justice Center clients who enroll.

The Campus SaVE Act, or the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act of 2013, affects both colleges and universities. Higher education institutions are required to educate students, faculty, and staff on the prevention of rape, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The SaVE Act was put into effect as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law in March 2013. The SaVE Act applies to all students on campus, not just women.

“The SaVE Act gives us an outline for preventing domestic and sexual violence and for responding appropriately when victims of violence come onto our campus,” said Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs.

The Knoxville Family Justice Center offers a variety of services to Knox-area victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, including counseling, support groups, safety planning, housing, and other assistance.

For more information about the Campus SaVE Act, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.