Hamilton County Set to Open Courtroom for Domestic Violence - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton County Set to Open Courtroom for Domestic Violence

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Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

Chattanooga, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Next week marks something the hamilton county court has been missing for quite some time.  From now on.  One courtroom will be dedicated every Monday to only domestic violence cases.       

     It's something Judge Christie Sell envisioned even before taking the bench in 2006.  Mainly because she has worked with divorce cases, and knows how complicated family related issues can be.

    "I think so many people don't know the resources that are out there," says Judge Sell.  "So often you'll hear people who stay in a situation because they couldn't afford to leave. And they didn't realize there's actually resources out there for people to make that transition."

    By directing all of the domestic violence cases to one room in one day, court advocates like Robin Brewer can help show all the victims what resources are available.  Instead of just a few like before.

     "I go to court now with victims but I hit or miss them, there's no way to cover them because I was hitting 3 different courtrooms," says Brewer.  "A lot of these women go through court and don't even realize that there's services to help them to realize they don't have to go back.  We try to power these women to stay out of the relationships, and educate them."

     Brewer calls this method an early intervention.  Which as everyone hopes, in the long run, these cases become much more rare.  After all it affects more than those directly involved.

     Judge Sell says, "it affects our future, kids not being able to get educated, they weren't in school, or they were distracted because of what's going on in their home life.  It really infiltrates our entire community, it's just that it's a big secret, most people don't talk about it."

The new courtrooms first day will be Monday.  Another positive to this plan; the defendants will be separated from the alleged victims and witnesses are called to the bench.  

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