Junior League of Knoxville

Little Black Dress Initiative

Our Little Black Dress Initiative

Our Junior League of Knoxville's (JLK) Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) is localized to raise awareness on our vision to serve the immediate needs of the community with a focus on domestic violence and its relationship to women’s safety. LBDI Ambassadors will wear one black dress (or outfit) October 2 - 6, 2017 to illustrate the effects of leaving one’s home due to domestic violence with “nothing but the clothes on her back.” They’ll also have a button that reads “Ask Me About My Dress”, which will invite dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers regarding this important community topic. 

Our goal is to raise $25,000! Each Ambassador (or team) has committed to raising $500. Proceeds from this initiative will contribute significantly to our ability to meet our mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and transforming communities. They also allow JLK the opportunity to continue to support our community placements at Helen Ross McNabb, the Joy D. Baker Center and the Family Justice Center.   

Help us reach our goal by donating here. 

What Does JLK do for the Issue?

During the 2014-2015 JLK League year, our IBCI Task Force held meetings and a Domestic Violence Forum at the Family Justice Center with important community leaders. IBCI Participants included Hugh Nystrom, Amanda Tillman (Youth Villages), Marigail Mullins (YWCA), Martha Buchannan (Knox Co Health Dept), Rebecca Kelly Carbona (HRM), Amy Canfield (HRM DV Director), Emily Scheunaman (former HRM, now with DA office), Carol Wilson (Florence Crittenton) and Chief Rausch (Knoxville Police). Many of the same participated in the forum panel, with the addition of DA Charme Allen.

When asked, "What does JLK do well for the domestic violence issue in the community?" the answer from our forum was: "Keeping the issue out front by making a commitment to continue the discussion in the community." Per Chief Rausch – JLK has good, quality volunteers at every level who are hands on and work well with these issues. JLK made a long-lasting commitment with the Personal Development Center and developed the Find Your Voice committee with the Joy D. Baker Center.

These local Knoxville facts came from JLK's IBCI Task Force meetings and the Domestic Violence Forum hosted by JLK at the Family Justice Center in September 2015.

  • Per Chief Rausch, 600 out of 1000 calls per day are domestic related
  • Will affect 1 in 4 nationally and in Knoxville (no socio-economic boundary)
    • Higher income is a harder group. More of a power play, control of balance, control of
      finances, embarrassment
  •  26% of homicides in 2014 were domestic related (intimate partner) in Knox Co (5 of 19)
  • The FJC 24hr hotline received 3600 calls in 2014 – turned away over 200 women needing
    housing that year – Prior to building new Domestic Violence Shelter, can house more, but still
    not enough
  • YWCA was unable to house 1200 women in 2014
  • Domestic Violence is one of the top causes of homelessness for women
  • There were 2,002 cases of non-intimate partner violence in 2014 – Elder abuse, Children/Parent, Siblings

What does Knoxville do well for the issue? Per Chief Rausch – Excellent Coordinated Response. The Family Justice Center is made up of 65 community partners and was one of the first of its kind in the nation. There are only 15 coordinated agencies like this in the country.

Areas of Opportunity: Prevention, better screening and tools, and keeping the issue out front.

Knoxville's Domestic Violence Statistics

From the Helen Ross McNabb's Annual Report:
2016 Stats

  • 2,913 calls made to domestic violence hotline
  • 226 children and/or adults were served by the Family Crisis Center, a shelter that serves victims of DV
  • 49 victims of DV received transitional housing assistance
  • 130 survivors of DV received outreach services
  • 1000 calls made to Sexual Assault Center of East TN crisis hotline
  • 1,123 victims of sexual assault received services
  • 7,000 children and adults received personal safety education

From the Family Justice Center and JLK's Domestic Violence Forum:
2013 Knoxville Facts

  • 17,123 Calls were made to e911 for Domestic Violence related issues.
  • 2 homicides were domestic related.
  • 2,552 Orders of Protection were granted by 4th Circuit Court.
  • 1,928 individual visits were made to the Family Justice Center.

2011 Knoxville Facts

  • 3,301 victims were served by the YWCA
  • 19,411 calls related to domestic violence were received by the Knoxville/Knox County dispatch in 2011. 
  • On average, one call every 30 minutesrelated to domestic violence was received by the Knoxville/Knox County dispatch  between 2007 and 2011.

More Domestic Violence Statistics provided by the Family Justice Center:


  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime
  • 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence
  • Almost 1/3 of female homicide victimsthat are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner


  • The cost of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion is spent on health and mental health care
  • Victims of IPV lost almost 8 million days of paid work (equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs or almost 5.6 million days of household productivity)

Children & Domestic Violence:

  • Witnessing violence between one’s caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next
  • 30-60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household

Dating Violence

  • 1/5 teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner.
  • 14% of teens report having been threatened with physical harm either to them or self-inflicted by their partner to avoid a breakup.
  • 1/10 teens has been verbally or physically abused by a boy/girlfriend who was drunk or high.
  • 51% of college males admit perpetrating one or more sexual assault incidents during college.

For references for these statistics, please refer to our community partner's website https://fjcknoxville.com/domestic-violence/facts/