Family Place Doing More For Victims, Abusers

The Family Place, one of Texas’ largest providers of services to domestic violence victims and their abusers, is expanding capacity by 69 beds.

Following the May 5 opening of a 22-bed emergency shelter for men and children, a 47-bed emergency shelter for women and children will be dedicated on June 4.

Although 85 to 90 percent of victims are female, men also suffer domestic abuse. The Family Place men’s shelter is the first of its kind in Texas.

Often people think domestic violence “only happens to poor … uneducated people, people of color, and that is not true,” Family Place CEO Paige Flink said. “It can happen to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, education, [or] economic status.”

To fund the new facilities, the Family Place is in the final stages of a capital campaign that has exceeded its initial goal of $16.5 million. Flink said they would like to raise $200,000 more than their current $16.8 million to cover a 30-percent increase in staff and create a job training program.

“We approach domestic violence at every level — from immediate intervention through prevention,” she said.

According to familyplace.org, the new shelters include a 100-bed Safe Campus, 25 traditional housing apartments, and a range of other services, including education, employment, and counseling services.

Flink explained that sometimes the only way victims will leave their abusers and seek help is if their children are affected. “If you have been devalued your whole life or abused as a child, or sexually abused as a child, or your esteem is so low — you have been beaten down for so long, you think, ‘Whatever, I’m not worth it.’ But you still believe your children are worth it.”

For Kelly, one woman at the shelter, it took her daughter’s distress and pleas to make her finally leave an abusive relationship. Now Kelly has a car, a place to live, and a job as an insurance adjuster. Her daughter changed schools, joined the tennis team, and returned to being an honor roll student.

As part of its prevention efforts, Family Place established the Be Project, an education program offered through schools to help students build healthy relationships and prevent bullying and teen dating violence.

Faith and Liberty’s Place, named after two Highland Park girls murdered by their father during an unsupervised visitation, provides supervised visits and exchanges for children whose parents are separated, in the process of a divorce, or have a custody arrangement.

The Family Place also offers an intensive counseling program, Batterer’s Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP), to individuals who have been convicted of a domestic violence offense when they are placed on probation.

During 90-minute sessions over a period of 24 to 30 weeks, BIPP works with offenders to identify and change their abusive behaviors. Flink said it is a misconception that people cannot change.

The Family Place serves more than 10,000 people a year at locations in central Dallas, Oak Cliff, Farmer’s Branch, and McKinney. For more information, visit familyplace.org.

BY THE NUMBERS:

14% of homeless Dallas adults blame domestic violence (2013 survey).

38% of Texas women have experienced intimate partner violence.

70% of children of abused women are also abused, 20 percent sexually.

13,007 family violence calls to Dallas Police were made in 2013.

source: familyplace.org

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