More Abused Women Reaching Out for Help

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Even though they're seeing fewer donations, one shelter says the economic stresses mean they can't afford to take a holiday.

Last year in Texas, 136 women were killed by an abusive partner and according to local shelters the number of those being abused doesn't show any signs of slowing.

"We're busy," Tonya Eckert, Director of Counseling and Advocacy, said. "We're much more busy than in the past."

Every day thousands of West Texas families are torn a part by violence.

"We have really seen an increase, especially in the number of hotline calls we've received," Development Director Nancy Betts, said. "There's a real outcry at this time for these services."

Safe Place helps thousands of men, women, and their children across 15 West Texas counties leave abusive households.

They say there are several factors driving up recent family violence cases.

"The economy has had an affect I think on the stability of families," Betts said. "And I think there's a time when people really need help and this is one of those times. I also think awareness makes a big difference."

Safe Place's hotline is one way the organization helps the abused and it's currently on track to receive nearly twice the number of calls as last year.

"Every woman in an abusive relationship feels fear, so they're not alone," Betts said. "The first thing you do is make a call and know that it's a process, walking out the door the first step may just get you started on that road. If it takes more than one time, that's OK, because we are here every time you need us."

Safe Place isn't just reaching out to the abused, they're also trying to reform abusers.

"You know it's a big problem," Betts said, "but we feel like we're making a change for families. One family at a time, we are ending domestic violence in the Permian Basin."

Safe Place staff says they're always in need of help from the community.

They are currently in need of canned goods and holiday gifts especially for teens and older boys.