There is typically a spike in domestic violence cases in the summertime. For whatever reason, the July 4 holiday tends to see the most cases all year. But this year the increase in incidents began in April, and now Dallas-area domestic violence shelters are overflowing.
The largest shelters in the area say they are at above capacity. SafeHaven of Tarrant County, for example, has two emergency shelters and both have been full for nearly a month. Because of space issues, they set up cots in a gymnasium.
Another shelter, the Family Place, had to place people at a hotel because of a lack of space. All shelters, however, say that they will not turn anyone away, even if they are full. Normally, Family Place has about 80 residents, but recently the shelter has had about 105 people or more.
SafeHaven, meanwhile, had 245 more residences in June than it did at that time last year, a 20 percent increase. Why the numbers are going up isn't entirely clear, but it may have to do with the bad economy and the hot weather. As one of the shelter employees says, "People are just stressed out."
The employee, a communications coordinator at SafeHaven, says that the trend is alarming and that it speaks of how frequent domestic violence cases are occurring in the Dallas area.
Long term solutions are necessary, but in the meantime the shelters are asking for more volunteers and calling in more staff.
Source: CBS DFW, "Domestic violence shelters help despite limits," Jack Fink, July 3, 2012