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Shelter becomes sanctuary for domestic violence victims

“Sometimes it feels like our shelter is a revolving door unfortunately because of the high number of domestic violence here."

ODESSA, Texas — The Crisis Center of West Texas may look like cement and flagstone on the outside, but behind closed doors it is a sanctuary for women escaping abusive relationships.

Lately the number of women and children walking through those doors is on the rise.

“Sometimes it feels like our shelter is a revolving door, unfortunately, because of the high number of domestic violence," Lauren Thompson, Crisis Center of West Texas, director of client services, said. 

Lorie Dunnam, Crisis Center of West Texas executive director, say they have seen more clients this year than previous years. 

“Last year we served 686 total clients for the year," Dunnam said. "In the first 60 days of this year we’ve already served close to 250.”

That puts them on track to help close to 1,500 people across the Permian Basin in 2020. 

Every month, Midland Police respond to 80-100 cases of domestic violence. In 2019, Odessa Police reported to 1,805 offenses. 

With such high numbers, Odessa Police and the Crisis Center have been working together to help victims.

For the past year and half, when officers go to an domestic violence related incident, they do an assessment test.

“They ask questions like does your partner own a weapon? Has your partner ever choked you?," Thompson said. "Depending on the number of yes's and no's you find out whether or not a victim is in low-danger or high-danger.” 

High-danger victims can end up at the shelter. 

“Having an emergency shelter is directly related to keeping people safe,” Dunnam said. 

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a women will leave an abusive relationship an average of seven times before she leaves for good. 

Safety is the number one priority when women come into the shelter, but after that's established there’s a lot of broken pieces to put back together again. 

"We look at providing them with therapy, counseling, and independence," Dunnam said. "That they can move on to an independent life.”

The 61-bed shelter is free and available 24/7 for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their minor children and pets.

The shelter is always looking for donations. If you would like to donate consumable items, you can drop them off at the Crisis Center of West Texas Administration building. 

For more information on the shelter click here.


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