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Inside TFP

Stay up to date on the latest happenings at The Family Place, news about family violence in our community, and what we’re doing to keep victims safe.


Inside The Family Place


  • Supreme Court keeps guns away from those guilty of domestic violence

    by Manju Alexander | Mar 28, 2014

    Great news for victims of domestic violence!

    Supreme Court keeps guns away from those guilty of domestic violence 

    March 26, 2014
    by David G. Savage
    Los Angeles Times

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday strengthened a federal law that bars anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing a gun.

    In a 9-0 decision, the high court said the ban extended to anyone who had pleaded guilty to at least a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, even in cases in which there was no proof of violent acts or physical injury.

    The ruling overturns decisions in several regions, including the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, which had said the ban applied only to convictions that involved a "violent use of force."

    At issue was a 1996 law in which Congress expanded an existing ban that applied to anyone convicted of a felony in a domestic violence case to include misdemeanor convictions.

    "Domestic violence is not merely a type of 'violence,'" said Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "It is term of art encompassing acts that one might not characterize as 'violent' in a non-domestic context." It includes acts such as "pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting," she said.

    Read the full article at http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-court-guns-20140327,0,74538.story#ixzz2xIIb6II5.

  • It is time to Paint the Town Purple

    by Manju Alexander | Mar 28, 2014

    Paint the Town Purple - March 31 to April 2, 2014

    2014 Paint the Town Purple - March31-April2

  • Drop In Domestic Violence Related Homicides

    by Manju Alexander | Mar 12, 2014

    Abused Wife Murder Catalyst For Dallas Change
    Drop In Domestic Violence-Related Homicides

    March 11, 2014
    CBS DFW News

    A decrease in the number of domestic violence-related homicides are now traced back to one victim’s death in January 2013.

    Karen Cox Smith, a 40-year-old executive assistant at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas was gunned down as she left work. Her brutal slaying — and a series of domestic abuse deaths that followed — inspired Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to declare a war on domestic violence last March at a rally in front of Dallas’ City Hall.

    “I was shocked by it,” said Mayor Rawlings.

    Smith turned to police in December of 2012 for help, breaking her silence after years of abuse at the hands of her husband.

    “She did everything she was supposed to do and it still didn’t matter,” according to Smith’s mother, Sara Horton.

    Horton shared e-mails her daughter sent police, looking for updates on her husband’s arrest at the time.

    One email read:

    “I am confident it will be soon, and my children and I can relocate and no loner live i fear.”

    Another email to a detective read:

    “The warrant team contacted me. They plan to pick him up in the morning at work. Thanks so much!”

    Thirty-five minutes later, Smith was dead — gunned down by her husband as she left work.

    “Shot her in the back and shot her in the face. It just took me back, and then we looked into the numbers,” said Rawlings.

    There were 31 domestic violence-related homicides in 2012. But Smith’s death struck a chord with city leaders and was the catalyst for change.

    “They have really tried very hard to fix some of these things, and I know that they felt terrible. I know that they did. They all said that,” said Horton.

    Dallas police tasked officers with cutting down the backlog of unserved domestic violence warrants. Detectives began screening victims, often handing them a phone with a emergency shelter dialed up. Police even started making visits to high risk victims this year. By next month, the DA’s office plans to begin accepting applications for protective orders online.

    “You put all those things together, and you start to make a dent,” said Mayor Rawlings.

    Police records show there’s already sign of progress. Last year, the number of family violence deaths dropped 26 percent. Thus far in 2014, it’s down another 33 percent.

    That’s welcome news for Smith’s mother, who’s determined to see change. “I want something good to come from her death. And certainly she would not want anyone else to go through what she went through,” she said.

    Click here to visit the city of Dallas’ domestic violence help page. It’s a comprehensive resource guide for those seeking help.

    Read full article at CBS DFW.

  • The Family Place Staff Meets Together at Annual All Staff Meeting

    by Manju Alexander | Mar 03, 2014

    "Truly, the work you do changes lives." - Connie Nash, survivor and speaker at The Family Place All Staff Meeting on February 28, 2014

    The Family Place All Staff Meeting Feb 2014

  • Dallas County Grand Jury declined to indict Judge Carlos Cortez

    by Manju Alexander | Mar 03, 2014
  • Save the Date: Music 4 Change by Be Project is on May 10

    by Manju Alexander | Mar 03, 2014
    Music 4 Change by Be Project - May 10, 2014
  • 8 Questions With The Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink

    by Manju Alexander | Mar 03, 2014

    8 Questions With The Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink


    February 2014
    by Dawn Tongish
    Southlake BubbleLife

    Say hello to Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place; the largest family violence service provider in the Dallas area. Flink discovered her passion for empowering survivors of domestic abuse, while working as an up and coming advertising sales director for a regional magazine.  

    We wanted to get to know Flink a little better and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions about herself, The Family Place and the people it serves.  

    Dawn Tongish: Can you begin by telling us about The Family Place?

    Paige Flink: The Family Place was created because women were dying at the hands of men who were supposed to love them. Until our organization was established in 1978, there were no services in Dallas to help women and children escape abuse in their homes. Violence against women by a husband or boyfriend was considered a private family issue, not something the public was interested in addressing. There were few laws in Texas to protect a woman whose husband was beating her. Providing a hotline number and safe emergency shelter is where we started. Over the past 36 years, we have worked diligently to change public awareness of the negative impact of family violence on victims and the community as a whole and have added programs as our clients’ needs have changed and the community has recognized the need for the critical services we provide.

    Today The Family Place is the largest family violence service provider in the Dallas area. Of 250 shelter beds, we provide 106 of them. We empower victims of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling and skills that create independence while building community engagement and advocating for social change to stop family violence. Our long-term objective is to end the epidemic of relationship violence in our community. Dallas should be a place where children grow up in homes filled with love and respect. Every home a safe home is our goal. 

    DT: What are your duties at The Family Place?

    PF: Ultimately it’s my responsibility to ensure that our doors stay open to keep victims of family violence safe. That involves fundraising, hiring the right people, motivating staff and volunteers, educating the community, and developing programs that ultimately work to prevent family violence and reduce demand for our services in the future. I also see myself as an agent for social justice, from working with the criminal justice system to make improvements that will reduce the danger to victims to staying visible in the media to make sure the voices of victims are heard.

    DT: How did you become involved with The Family Place, and why are you so passionate about the work being done at the shelters?

    PF: In 1989, while working full-time as an advertising sales director for a regional magazine, I founded a young professionals auxiliary called Helping Hands for The Family Place and built the organization to several hundred dedicated members who volunteered for The Family Place’s fundraisers and programs. After the birth of my second child in 1991 I decided to focus my volunteer passion on helping women get back their voice and joined The Family Place as director of Community Education. I knew that educating the community was key to changing the community’s response to family violence, so we started Pepsi KidAround, a children’s music and art festival that became one of The Family Place’s signature fundraising events raising much-needed funds and attracting thousands of families each Labor Day Weekend for more than a decade. Young families that supported us then by attending with their children support us now by buying Partners Cards, writing generous checks and donating to our Resale Shop. We built a family of support, and that is lifesaving and life changing for our clients.

    DT: Why do you work in the nonprofit sector?

    PF: I know I am so lucky to have a job that gives me fulfillment every day. I want to live in a great city where people have a chance to achieve their potential. Family violence is an epidemic in our community and our country that effects many other problems—homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, school dropout and teen pregnancy rates, developmental problems with young children and so much more. I believe that the work we do at The Family Place positively impacts all of these other areas of need and strengthens individuals, families and our community as a whole. The feeling you get from using your skills to make a difference where it really counts is better than any paycheck.

    DT: It can be difficult for any nonprofit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat?

    PF: Family violence is an issue where people know a contribution of any size can make an impact. And, Dallas has amazingly generous donors. We cast a wide net because it takes every donation from $20 to $200,000 to run The Family Place. We are fortunate to have generous and faithful donors, but I believe they are generous and faithful because we are diligent stewards of their gifts. We make sure we stretch every dollar. We evaluate every program to ensure they’re working, and we constantly make changes to improve them.

    DT: How can the people of Dallas and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?

    PF: We served 12,000 people in 2013, and at least that many will be needing us again this year. Our most expensive programs are our residential programs, emergency shelter and transitional housing. It costs $70 to shelter a mother and child for one night, and we have a lot of nights ahead of us to make ends meet in 2014. Truly every gift helps us welcome those victims to safety with a warm meal, a comfortable bed, and a caring counselor to help start a path to a new life.

    DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at The Family Place?

    PF: My most memorable experience at The Family Place was the day we got Governor Rick Perry to pardon a woman who had murdered her horribly abusive husband in self defense. This woman had been on probation for many years and had raised the daughter who her husband had targeted for abuse into a healthy young adult. Then, immigration laws changed and she was about to be deported from a country where she had legally lived for 20 years. The only way she stay was if the charge was pardoned. And, amazingly, it was. That was quite a day.

    DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day?

    PF: I check the shelter census to see how many people we are housing and feeding and if we have any beds available for new clients who call needing our help. Then next, of course, I read my emails. 

    Read more in Southlake BubbleLife.

  • Judge Rick Magnis Monitors Most Dangerous Domestic Abusers in The Dallas Morning News

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 17, 2014

    Judge to Dallas-area domestic abusers: Show up weekly or go to jail

    February 16, 2014
    by Sarah Mervosh
    The Dallas Morning News

    Once a week, state District Judge Rick Magnis gives domestic violence offenders in his courtroom a choice: show up or go to jail.

    Magnis, who presides over the 283rd District Court, is leading a new program that monitors highly dangerous family violence offenders on probation for a felony. It is one of several new initiatives that Dallas County judges are using to try to curb domestic violence.

    Magnis’ high-risk offender program deals exclusively with plea-bargain cases and requires that the perpetrators meet with him each Friday as a condition of their probation. The judge hopes each of his handpicked abusers will be there, sitting on the wooden benches, waiting for their name to be called. If not, he immediately issues a warrant for their arrest.

    “We are trailing, nailing and jailing them,” Magnis said. “If they don’t change their behavior, they are going to be in jail.”

    The initiative, which began last month and currently works with five men on probation, is meant to help the worst abusers change their behavior and hold them accountable for their choices. In addition to the weekly meetings, Magnis can choose to require ankle bracelets, drug and alcohol monitoring, home visits and batterer’s intervention classes.

    The most important goal, he said, is to make sure the victims stay safe — and alive.

    The increased surveillance helps plug a gap in the system that previously made it difficult to know for sure whether the batterer was having contact with his victim. It also helps authorities obtain a warrant quickly if the abuser puts the victim at risk by violating probation, Magnis said.

    Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter, said she’s encouraged that the program is placing the responsibility on the abuser.

    “I’m hopeful that the accountability that the judge is putting around these batterers will help change their behavior,” she said. “The options for them, if they don’t follow his guidelines, are they are going to go to the penitentiary. That’s the bottom line.”

    On Friday, a dozen key players from police to advocates met to go over how the offenders were doing. Two followed the terms of their probation, while one violated his curfew and another spent a night in jail for failing to complete court-ordered community service.

    But one offender — Christopher, the group’s newest member — was missing from the courtroom. (Magnis ordered that the offenders’ full names be withheld to protect their identities as they work to change their abusive behavior.)

    According to court records, Christopher had punched a pregnant woman several times in the stomach. And last fall, he threatened a woman with a knife, saying: “Don’t you know I’ll kill you? You’re my property.”

    Magnis briefly met with the four men who were there, warning the ones who had strayed and encouraging those who were doing well. “You’re taking care of all of your business,” he told one. “I’m impressed.”

    Then, just as Magnis was about to issue a warrant for Christopher’s arrest, a stocky man wearing a black T-shirt and red sweatpants walked into the courtroom. Magnis sat back down.

    “What time are you supposed to be here?” Magnis asked him.

    “3:30,” Christopher said.

    “And what time did you get here?” the judge inquired.

    “I made it to the parking lot by 3:47,” Christopher said so quietly the judge had to repeat it for the rest of the courtroom.

    Magnis laid down the law.

    “You’re going to be reporting to me every Friday. Understand? And I don’t really like it when people are late.”

    Read more at Dallasnews.com.

  • Dallas deputies roundup yields 22 arrests on Valentines Day

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 17, 2014

    Dallas deputies' Valentine's Day roundup yields 22 arrests

    February 14, 2014
    by Shaun Rabb
    FOX NEWS

    Dallas County Sheriff's Deputies were out early Friday morning, Valentine's Day, to arrest suspects wanted for domestic violence.

    "We identified what we thought were going to be some of the most violent offenders," said Captain Mark Howard. "I think we're working off about 230 warrants this morning."

    Seventeen two-man squads tracked by GPS spread across the county, delivering warrants and delivering the wanted to jail.

    The team's first warrant was for a man who was arrested and violated his probation, but he had moved.

    Deputies moved on to a second address and finally a third before finding their man hiding in a closet and arresting him.

    "[He] got probation violation for family violence," said Howard. The suspect also reportedly has a history of assaults, including against police.

    The operation was orchestrated from the department's mobile command unit. Those arrested will spend Valentine's Day weekend at Lew Sterrett Jail.

    In all, 22 people were arrested in the operation.

    At one house, police seized three five-gallon buckets of crack cocaine, marijuana, and guns.

    Read more at FOX NEWS.

  • Shop at LAFCO in Highland Park Village this week to kick off Labor of Love

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 10, 2014

    Help us bring safety and comfort to each person
    who walks through the doors at The Family Place!

    2014 Labor of Love LAFCO The Family Place Dwell with Dignity

    Shop at LAFCO (66 Highland Park Village, Dallas TX 75205)

    Monday, February 10th to Sunday, February 16th

    and

    15% of all House & Home Product Sales will go to

    2014 Labor of Love Logo - Lafco TFP DwD

    LAFCO and Dwell with Dignity are partnering with us  to bring safety and comfort
    to the families at The Family Place Shelter.

  • Register for 2014 Black History Month Brown Bag Lunch Series

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 03, 2014

    2014 Black History Month Brown Bag Lunch Series

    “Bring your lunch,  Drinks and dessert are on us!”
    2575 Lone Star | Dallas, Texas 75212
    Registration 11:00-11:30am |  Presentation  11:30am-1pm
    presented by The Family Place Southern Sector

    Space is limited! Pre-register by clicking here!

    The First Step:  Connecting with resources to assists victims of domestic violence - SESSION FULL!
    February 5, 2014

    This workshop will use a case vignette to create an advocacy road map that will highlight the connection between systems and the steps necessary to assist domestic violence victims in navigating resources.

    Presenters:
    Representative , Dallas Police Department Family Violence Unit
    Sakia Johnson, Children’s Case Manger, TFP Shelter
    Ester Torres, Attorney,  Legal Aid of Northwest Texas
    Bree West JD, Assistant District Attorney, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office-Family Violence Division 
    Debra Carr  -Program Director, TFP Supportive Living Program
    Jummy Iyiola - Counselor, TFP Southern Sector
    Deborah Stewart - Counselor, TFP Partner Advocate Program

    What to do - What to say: Working with children and youth
    February 12, 2014

    What to do: An important strategy for bullying prevention focuses on the powerful role of the bystander. The first half of this workshop discusses race and gender and their impact on bystander behavior.
    What to say:  How to create a safe place for children to talk about themselves and their feelings.

    Presenters:
    Alisha Prince, - Children’s Counselor II, TFP Southern Sector
    Courtney Butts -  Lead Educator I, TFP Be Project
    Jeff Thomas - Children’s Mentor, TFP CDC & Residential Children’s Program
    Kevin Pittman - Children’s Mentor, TFP CDC & Residential Children’s Program

    Family Violence: Perspectives on Victims and Perpetrators
    February 19, 2014

    How do you see it? Everyone wears a different set of lenses when they view the world that often influence our response to the issue of domestic violence. This interactive workshop will use a variety of techniques to help us gain a perspective on adult victims and perpetrators involved in domestic violence.  It will also include information on the current work in Dallas County on High Risk Offenders.

    Presenters:
    Theresa Little - Assistant Director-Community Outreach,TFP Southern Sector
    LaShaun Roberts, BIPP Counselor, TFP Batterers Intervention and Prevention Program
    Judge Roberto Canas, Jr. - Presiding Judge, Dallas County, Criminal Court 10

    Defining the Challenge: Domestic Violence and Its intersection with Child Abuse, Homelessness and HIV/AIDS
    February 26, 2014

    A dialogue that explores the issue, as well as, the impact and unique challenges that must be addressed to assist African American families that are disproportionately represented at the overlap of domestic violence, child abuse, homelessness and HIV/AIDS.

    Presenters:
    Cheryl Edwards - CEO/Executive Director, A Sister’s Gift
    Maxine Jones -Robinson - Disproportionality and Disparities Specialist, HHSC Center for the Elimination of
              Disproportionality and Disparities
    Jennifer Johnson - Executive Director, Lifeline of Hope
    Anastasia Nixon - Permanent Supportive Housing Family Case Manger, Family Gateway
    Pauline Farley - Community Educator/Counselor, TFP  Southern Sector

    Debra Mitchell-Ibe | dimbe@familyplace.org | 214.443.7750

    Click here to register!

  • Read Part 2 of the Deadly Affection Series in The Dallas Morning News

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 03, 2014

    Better Tools, Better Education - Part 2 of Deadly Affection Series

    February 2, 2014
    by Diane Jennings
    The Dallas Morning News

    When Texas police officers answer an emergency domestic violence call these days, they go armed with a gun — and a piece of paper.

    The gun is for protection. So is the paper.

    The paper contains information about shelters, counseling, hotlines and legal services and often is small enough to fit inside a shoe or a lipstick case — places abusers rarely check. But it’s a big sign of how Texas laws have changed since domestic violence became a public health issue 35 years ago.

    Experts say most of the laws needed to address domestic violence are on the books. But funding for enforcement, support programs and prevention is still lacking.

    “We used to use the analogy ‘If you hit your neighbor, you go to jail. But if you hit your wife, the cops would not even come,’” said Denise Margo Moy, deputy executive director of Texas Advocacy Project, a nonprofit that provides legal services to victims. “That doesn’t happen anymore.”

    Former prosecutor Aaron Setliff, who serves as director of policy for the Texas Council on Family Violence, agreed. Texas has a “really robust response” to family violence, he said. But “there’s still work to be done.”

    For example, a law prohibits gun possession by anyone who has a protective order against him, or who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense. But no one is responsible for making sure the gun is actually surrendered.

    In addition, domestic violence cases can move agonizingly slowly. Arrest warrants may not be executed for weeks because servers are few; a case can drag out because detectives and prosecutors are overwhelmed. And if the offender is sentenced to jail in Dallas, overcrowding means he or she may be released after serving a fraction of the time.

    “It’s not that we don’t have the legal power,” said Dallas domestic court Judge Rob Cañas. “We don’t have the resources.”

    Revolutionary laws

    Despite the gaps in the system, experts say Texas has come a long way since Debby Tucker bought a new outfit to lobby the Legislature on behalf of domestic violence victims in 1979.

    “At that time, the law enforcement attitude in general was that ‘All of this is a complete waste of time and resources. … We can’t stop this,’” recalled Tucker, now executive director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence in Austin.

    She remembers being appalled that officers typically wouldn’t make an arrest at family violence calls unless they had a warrant or witnessed the incident. The victim could be bleeding, the children screaming and “broken stuff all over the room,” Tucker said. And the officer “would have to go downtown to request a warrant to make an arrest.”

    Mark Hafner, president of the Texas Police Chiefs Association, said officers had little training then. If “no one showed signs of injury, our role was ‘Hey, everyone’s safe,’ separate the combatants and move on. ‘It’s your problem.’”

    Even when officers worried that victims were in danger, they usually had no place to send them because shelters were still a fledgling concept.

    Today, most of the time a 911 call is answered by officers trained to deal with domestic violence. Warrantless arrests are permitted, and many departments take suspects to jail and refer the victims to services.

    Penalties for domestic violence crimes have been raised, and shelters and batterer intervention programs are now accessible. Those shelters and intervention programs, however, may be harder to find in rural areas than in big cities, Setliff said.

    Also, dating violence awareness education is required in Texas schools, and protective orders are available.

    “The law has given us better tools, better education,” Hafner said. “So we don’t feel as frustrated. We feel we are making a difference.”

    A balance

    In the 19th century, a husband could legally “chastise” his wife with physical punishment. And until the 1970s, husbands nationwide could not be charged with raping their wives. Texas did not pass a spousal rape law until 1987, but it wasn’t until 1994 that all exemptions for marital rape were eliminated. Now a victim of marital rape can make allegations in the same manner as other sexual assault victims.

    Few advocate going back to those pre-1987 days, but some worry that the new laws could force the pendulum to swing too far in the other direction.

    “Some of the changes have been valuable in fighting domestic violence,” said Sam Bassett, a vice president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. But “when you start eliminating or chipping away” at certain fundamental rights, “you have to be very careful.”

    Bassett said more aggressive laws make false abuse claims a bigger problem than in the past.

    “I see instances of false allegations to gain leverage in a child custody battle or in a divorce lawsuit,” he said.

    Some of the biggest changes in the law involve how domestic violence suspects are held and prosecuted.

    In 2005, Texas voters approved an amendment to the state constitution allowing judges to hold some people accused of a felony in jail without bail if the safety of a victim is at stake.

    “That’s big,” said Cañas, of Dallas County Criminal Court No. 10, who said the law makes dealing with repeat offenders easier. “Because under the Texas Constitution, everybody’s entitled to bond — the worst mass murderer you can think of is entitled to a bond.”

    More recently, the Texas Legislature passed a “forfeiture by wrongdoing” law that allows a domestic violence trial to proceed even if the victim is not present. That’s contrary to the constitutional right to confront your accuser, but the U.S. Supreme Court has said the defendant forfeits that right if it can be proved that he has intimidated the victim into not appearing.

    The Texas law, which is similar to that of other states, requires a hearing before the trial starts to determine whether the claim is valid — that is, whether “the defendant has caused her not to be present by threatening her, telling her he was going to kill her or hurt her more,” Setliff said.

    The prosecutor must convince the judge by the “preponderance of the evidence” standard used in civil disputes rather than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal court.

    Transitional services

    The new laws have helped make a difference — studies show that domestic violence has declined since the mid-1990s.

    But people are still hurting their loved ones emotionally and physically. In 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported almost 200,000 family violence incidents. That same year, 269 people were killed in Texas by someone with whom they had a close relationship. There were 1,144 total homicides statewide that year.

    Experts say answers to the problem are more complex than advocates realized in the early days of the movement to end domestic violence, when arresting abusers and providing temporary shelter to victims seemed to be the answer.

    Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place, Dallas’ first shelter, said transitional housing and services are needed now.

    “You can’t just pay someone’s rent and put them out in the community,” she said.

    Other advocates push funding for civil representation in divorce court, as well as increased domestic violence education for kids.

    But even ardent advocates acknowledge that more laws and money won’t end domestic violence.

    “There has to be some kind of a significant change in public attitude,” like the intolerance for drunken driving, said Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Denver.

    Smith said she would like to see religious groups and employers, among others, make family violence unacceptable in society.

    “If there were those kinds of consequences, in addition to legal ones … that pressured people into not using violence as a way to control their family, then I think we would have more success.”

    Read more in Dallasnews.com.

  • The Family Place Announces 2014 Partners Card Co-Chairs

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 03, 2014

    The Family Place Announces 2014 Partners Card Co-Chairs

    January 30, 2104
    The Dallas Morning News

    The Family Place is excited to announce that Lisa Bhattacharya, Andrea Cheek and Diana Hamilton will serve as 2014 Partners Card co-chairs of the annual shopping event, which will be held Friday, October 24 through Sunday, November 2, 2014. Partners Card is proud to recognize Bank of Texas and their six years of support as the presenting sponsor. This annual fundraising event offers an exciting opportunity to receive a 20 percent discount at your favorite stores while, at the same time, contributing to a worthwhile cause – family violence intervention and prevention. The 10-day shopping extravaganza, with more than 750 participating retail locations and restaurants, ensures cardholders will find something for everyone while shopping throughout the Metroplex. Partners Cards will go on sale in mid-September for $70 each, and 100 percent of the proceeds will directly benefit The Family Place, Dallas’ longest-serving family violence agency.

    Lisa Bhattacharya is currently in sales for Avaya, a communications software provider. She has worked in the technology industry for more than 16 years and continues to give back to the community at the same time. She has been an auxiliary member of The Family Place since 2013 and is excited to be more involved this year. Lisa also volunteers for organizations such as Junior League of Dallas, Lee Park Conservancy, LaunchAbility, Turtle Creek Recovery Center and Susan G. Komen Foundation.

    Andrea Cheek is the co-owner of Newk’s Eatery, a fresh casual concept located in Plano, Texas.Newk’s Eatery is a 65-unit chain based in Jackson, Mississippi, specializing in fresh, made-from-scratch sandwiches, salads, soups and pizzas. Mrs. Cheek is the franchisee for the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is expanding Newk’s throughout the territory through a development agreement with Newk’s Franchise Company. Andrea also is very involved throughout the Dallas community serving as an active member of the Junior League of Dallas on the underwriting and luncheon committee, as well as co-chairing this year’s Affair of the Art, benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art, with her husband, Heath.

    An active member of the Dallas community, Diana Hamilton helps contribute to various non-profits each year. Her involvement has ranged from co-chairing events for Dallas CASA, Community Partners of Dallas, Genesis Women’s Shelter and LaunchAbility, to being a long time active member of the development team for the Junior League of Dallas and new member of Cattle Baron’s. Diana currently works for Greenhill School, assisting them with their largest capital campaign endeavor to date. She also is very active within their Parents Association, previously chairing their annual fundraising gala and holding various board positions.

    “The Family Place is honored to have such kind and generous co-chairs helping with the 2014 Partners Card. After raising a record-breaking $1,150,884 million in 2013, we are excitedly preparing for another successful Partners Card shopping extravaganza next year,” said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place.

    ABOUT PARTNERS CARD:

    Over the past 21 years, Partners Card has become the largest fundraiser for The Family Place and is one of the most popular shopping events in the Dallas Metroplex.  In 2013, Partners Card celebrated its 21st anniversary with more than 750 participating retailers and restaurants selling 14,600 cards and raising $1,150,884 for The Family Place.  In its history, the community has helped raise more than $14 million through the Partners Card program.  For more information, visit www.partnerscard.org, contact the Partners Card Hotline at (214) 443-7754 or email partnerscard@familyplace.org.

    ABOUT THE FAMILY PLACE:                       

    Since 1978, The Family Place has counseled more than 201,000 clients in residential and outreach programs.  In addition, the agency has provided life-saving shelter to more than 21,000 women and children and has answered more than 530,000 calls for help.  For more information, visit www.familyplace.org or call (214) 559-2170.

  • February Sale at The Family Place Resale Shop

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 03, 2014

    Who wants a great deal? Well, look no further. The Family Place Resale Shop is having a sale!

    February 2014 Sale at The Family Place Resale Shop

    Yellow stickers = 25% off!
    Pink stickers = 50% off!
    Green stickers = 75% off!!!

    The Family Place Resale Shop is located at 11722 Marsh Lane, Suite 354, Dallas, TX 75229 (Southeast corner of the Park Forest Shopping Center).

  • February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 03, 2014

    According to loveisrespect, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, one in three teens in the US is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a partner. While teen dating violence can happen to anyone, the majority of the violence affects young women. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence – almost triple the national average.

    February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TeenDV Month), a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it, and YOU have the power to help! Talk to teachers at your local high school, bring up dating violence at the next school board meeting, and have a conversation with the teens in your life about healthy relationships.

    We need to raise awareness & keep our youth safe! How will YOU get involved?

    It’s Time to Talk Day - February 4. Hosted by Break the Cycle’s Love Is Not Abuse Campaign, It’s Time To Talk Day is an annual awareness day that aims to generate conversations about healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence and abuse. Learn more and pledge your support on the website!

    Respect Week - February 10-14
    Hosted by the loveisrespect National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB). Check out the loveisrespect website for more information and to download the NYAB’s Respect Week 2014 Guide.

    Excerpt from The National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

  • The Dallas Morning News Looks at Who is Using The Family Place Shelter

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 23, 2014

    Quick look: Who uses Dallas’ largest domestic violence shelter?

    January 23, 2014
    by Sarah Mervosh
    The Dallas Morning News

    As we continue our year-long look at domestic violence in and around Dallas County, here’s a snapshot of The Family Place, Dallas’ largest domestic violence shelter.

    As you can see, the number of people using the shelter’s services is growing rapidly. That’s probably good news for victims.

    Those who review local family violence murders say if victims can just get to the shelter and seek help, they have a far lower chance of being killed by their abuser. It’s the ones who never make it into the system that tend to become homicide victims.

    Read more and see the infographic at Dallasnews.com.

     

  • Read what we do wrong with boys before they grow into men from Upworthy

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 09, 2014

    There's Something Absolutely Wrong With What We Do To Boys Before They Grow Into Men

    Upworthy.com

    "Be a man" is something we've all heard at one time or another, even a few of the women reading this right now. Being a "man" in that sense means something completely different to me (and maybe you, too) than what that phrase implies.

    I can't even begin to describe the toll that the concept of masculinity has taken on my life. And it's felt everywhere. It's time we make changes, starting from within ourselves.

    Click here to watch the video.

  • Run or walk or Volunteer at the 2014 Too Cold to Hold

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 08, 2014

    2014 Too Cold to Hold benefiting The Family Place

    Brave the cold and run, walk or volunteer at the 2014 Too Cold to Hold 5K, 5M and 10M on Sunday February 2nd, 2014 at Norbuck Park (Northwest Hwy & N. Buckner Blvd.), White Rock Lake! Stick around for all the after-race fun.  Live music and a beer garden will be waiting for you after the race, as well as coffee, massages, and lots of samples and treats.

    Registration Fees:

    TooColdtoHold Registration Fees 
    Register online at http://www.runproject.org/too-cold-hold-5k15k!

    Race Schedule:
    7:00 AM - Packet Pickup
    8:30 AM - Start 5K/5M/10M
    10:00 AM - Awards

    Interested in volunteering at the run?
    Click here to sign up to be a volunteer.


    For more information about the event or sponsorship, please contact Nicole Farrar at 214-443-7717 or events@familyplace.org.
  • Check out The Family Place Video courtesy of the Giving Library

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 08, 2014

    The Family Place Video provided by Giving Library

  • Read Deadly Affection - Part 1 of Series in The Dallas Morning News

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 08, 2014

    Deadly Affection: January 2014 - A look back

    January 5, 2014
    by Sarah Mervosh
    The Dallas Morning News

    When Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings first began publicly denouncing domestic violence a year ago, he asked police to focus on serving arrest warrants to the most chronic, dangerous abusers.

    In two months, police reduced the 877 outstanding warrants by about half — even as new ones arrived. But by year’s end, the backlog remained. About 500 warrants are waiting to be served.

    That’s just one example of the difficulties in effectively fighting domestic violence, even when the city’s mayor is leading the charge. For all Rawlings accomplished in 2013, the vast and complex problem continued to destroy families throughout the city and North Texas.

    Still, the mayor and others promised not to give up.

    “There’s too much momentum, and this is too important,” Rawlings said last week. “This shouldn’t fade away.”

    The measurable impact of last year’s work was a mixed bag: There were 23 murders in Dallas, which is about in the middle of the two previous years’ totals. Overall domestic offenses remained level at around 13,000. Local shelters, though, saw an increase in clients, and more victims were willing to take their abusers to court, which experts say is encouraging.

    “This is a big issue. It isn’t something that is going to change overnight,” said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter in Dallas. “We just have to look at the wins we have.”

    Experts say there are many reasons eradicating domestic violence is so hard: An effective approach must intervene when abuse occurs and also create social change so the cycle doesn’t continue. Success is also dependent on a coordinated commitment from all the key players, from police to prosecutors to advocates.

    Ultimately, though, it is the abusers who have to change their behavior, Flink said.

    “As a community, we’re going to try to make it hard to get away with it and we’re going to give the victim the support when it happens,” she said. “But in the end, we’re talking about people being different than they are right now.”

    Advocates hope that a series of changes rolling out in the next few weeks — from the police station to the courthouse — will help make a lasting difference.

    “What we’re going to see is more coordination, more collaboration, more education,” said Jan Langbein, executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas. “I’m excited about 2014.”

    Dallas police have added five family violence detectives, beefing up the unit to 34. Police also will begin making home visits to the highest-risk victims, which they hope will help prevent some deaths.

    “There are a lot of things we’ve fixed in the last year and a half, and my biggest goal is to make sure they work the way they’re supposed to,” said Lt. Miguel Sarmiento, who oversees the family violence unit.

    Dallas police said they are working on reducing the outstanding warrants. More officers are on the job, but there are still more than 300 new warrants each month to keep up with, police said.

    Flink, of The Family Place, said police should consider a dedicated domestic violence warrant squad to expedite the average of 70 days it takes to serve them. Police said they could consider that, but staffing limitations pose a challenge.

    At the criminal courthouse, state District Judge Rick Magnis has pledged to personally supervise felons who get probation as part of a plea bargain. Starting in mid-January, offenders will have to report to him in person each week, and may be subject to ankle or alcohol monitoring to ensure they don’t abuse again.

    “It’s going to be a zero-tolerance program,” Magnis said.

    Authorities also are trying to get the most egregious cases through the system faster. In February, advocates, police and prosecutors will start screening Dallas County domestic cases for the 15 most deadly. Those will then be fast-tracked to be prosecuted within six months, Magnis said.

    “The more we figure out how to make the system better, the better the results are going to be for victims,” Flink said.

    At Dallas City Hall, Rawlings is relying heavily on the domestic violence task force, headed by City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates. Her committee is planning an awareness event for the spring, though it will likely be different than last year’s rally.

    Rawlings said he would personally like to increase his fundraising for shelters, while maintaining his talks to young men and regular meetings with players from the criminal justice system.

    “This [movement] has got a life of its own, and I am part of the life of it,” he said. “I’ve got to do my part.”

    While many of these upcoming changes are the result of work done because of the mayor’s campaign, pressure to improve the city’s response to domestic violence has been building for at least a year and a half.

    Domestic violence murders doubled to 31 in 2012. One of the victims was Deanna Cook, who police say was killed by her ex-husband while on the phone with 911. The circumstances of her death sparked changes within the 911 call center, including new police procedures for handling domestic disturbance calls.

    That same year, police started doing lethality assessments with victims to determine who was most in danger of being killed.

    Then, 2013 began with a string of domestic violence slayings. Karen Cox Smith, one of the first victims of the year, was gunned down Jan. 8 in a UT Southwestern parking lot by her estranged husband. Police had planned to arrest him the next day.

    Her death got to Rawlings, who said he couldn’t stand to think of her being killed in the same garage he had been in while visiting his sick mother at the hospital. He launched his Dallas Men Against Abuse campaign and in March he hosted a rally where about 5,000 men committed to nonviolence.

    Meanwhile, change rippled throughout the criminal justice system.

    Dallas County state district judges started prohibiting alcohol and deadly weapon possession as a condition of bond for family violence felonies. They also agreed to freely exchange cases so victims don’t have to wait on a particular judge’s schedule to go to trial.

    Looking back at 2013, Rawlings said he’s happy with the progress made, particularly in putting domestic violence on the community’s radar. But he said the work isn’t done.

    “I like what we accomplished last year on the awareness level,” he said. “I probably give us lower grades on how much substantive work we did. … That’s what we’re moving to in this next act.”

    Notable domestic crimes in 2013

    January: Karen Cox Smith was gunned down in a UT Southwestern parking lot, the night before police planned to arrest her abusive estranged husband. Ferdinand Smith was sentenced to 50 years in prison for her death.

    February: Former Hunt County Constable Anthony Dewayne Lewis killed his former girlfriend in Rockwall and then led police on a three-county chase along Interstate 30. He is serving a 60-year prison sentence.

    April: A man who police say fatally shot his pregnant girlfriend and killed her unborn child led police on a lengthy, high-speed chase throughout Dallas. Tyrone Christopher Allen is awaiting trial.

    June: Lydia Soto of Plano fatally shot her 4-year-old son and then herself in what experts say is the rare act of a mother killing her family. Police say she was unhappy with her identity as a single mother.

    July: A mother of two was killed by her ex-husband just hours after she called Grand Prairie police twice, complaining that he was harassing her. The man also killed her boyfriend and then himself. The incident was one of several domestic slayings in Grand Prairie this year.

    August: A grenade-wielding veteran went on a shooting spree in Dallas and DeSoto, killing his estranged wife, an ex-girlfriend and their two daughters. Erbie Lee Bowser, a former Dallas Mavericks ManiAACs performer, also injured four others. He is awaiting trial.

    Read the full article at Dallasnews.com.


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