Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Domestic Violence Shelters Will Help Despite Capacity Limits - CBS Local

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) â€" While North Texas domestic violence shelters say they’re filled to capacity and, in some cases, over capacity, organizers want to stress that they never turn anyone away.

They say the July 4 Holiday usually has the most domestic violence incidents during the year.

Shelters say the number of residents normally spikes during the summer, but this year they started seeing increases back in April.

We are protecting our source’s identity because she and her children are hiding from her husband at a North Texas domestic violence shelter.

“He would pull my hair so much that there would be gobs of hair in my hand when I brushed my hair. I had black eyes,” she said. “He spit in my face. I was choked.”

Now the largest domestic violence shelters in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area report their facilities are overflowing. SafeHaven of Tarrant County’s two emergency shelters are entering their fourth week of reaching capacity.

They’ve set up 10 cots in their gymnasium. Another shelter, the Family Place, even had to place people in a hotel because they didn’t have room at their facility.

“It’s very alarming, and it points to the level of domestic violence in our community,” said Annie Potasznik, communications coordinator at SafeHaven of Tarrant County.

She says SafeHaven saw a 20 percent increase of 245 more residents in June of this year compared to June of last year.

Family Place normally has 80 residents. But last week, the shelter had 106 people. There were 105 Tuesday night.

The Genesis Women’s Shelter is usually at capacity. But organizers say they’ve seen a 20 to 25 percent jump over last year for counseling services.

Potasznik says it may be happening because of ”The heat, the economy is terrible right now, and people are just stressed out.”

Area shelters say they’ve called in more staffing and are calling for more volunteers to help. The domestic violence victim we spoke with credits the shelter with saving her life.

“You can be a survivor, you can overcome obstacles and boundaries.  But it’s scary too.  Unless people have somewhere to go, they may not be able to survive it,” she said.

Again, area shelters have a crucial message: Even though they are full, they say they will never turn someone in need away.

So if you need help, they say you should still pick up the phone and call.

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