• Executive Director Paige Flink Talks With Brad Watson of Inside Texas Politics

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 26, 2013

    Brad Watson, Host of Inside Texas Politics, talks with Paige Flink, Executive Director of The Family Place after Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' rally against domestic abuse this weekend.

    Read the full article on WFAA.

  • The End of Domestic Violence in Dallas Ends 3.23.13

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 26, 2013

    On Saturday, March 23, 2013, thousands of men joined Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at City Hall for his Dallas Men Against Abuse Rally. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, celebrities, religious leaders together came together to inspire men at Saturday's rally. It was an amazing sight to see Dallas Men Against Abuse Leaders promising to help end domestic violence in Dallas.

    2013 Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' Rally Against Domestic Violence

    Read more coverage from WFAA and The Dallas Morning News.

  • Family Place client speaks out - I am proof that abuse can stop

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 23, 2013

    Orenthal McRae: I am proof that abuse can stop

    21 March 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    “If I had known then what I know now ….”

    How many times has that phrase run through our minds after we had a lot of time to painstakingly reflect on the past and experience a different way of thinking?

    Through just that kind of personal reflection was I able to understand that continuing a pattern of abuse toward my wife would harm her and my entire family in ways that were completely out of line with my core beliefs and values. Being accountable for the person I had become and taking the steps to change has made me a better husband, a better father and a better man.

    Domestic violence and abuse is far more prevalent than anyone can ever comprehend or imagine. Trying to justify that abuse is not as bad as all-out physical violence is not acceptable.

    Many words are associated with abuse and violence — blackened eyes, scratches, scars, bruises and abrasions. Just because a man hasn’t resorted to physical violence doesn’t mean he’s in the clear.

    Change is a difficult task to master. The stigma and shame associated with abusive behavior often cause men to shy away from seeking help.

    Attending a Battering Intervention and Prevention Program, such as the one offered at the Family Place in Dallas, is a valuable option that needs to be introduced as early as possible — especially to young men — to prevent and/or stop abusive behaviors.

    It’s a program that can also save a man from the painful experience of having to say, “If I had known ….”

    One of the most difficult tasks is to look in the mirror at the man you’ve become. The second is to honestly accept what you see, be willing to change and take steps to make that change.

    Abuse is a conditioned response. It is a learned behavior. And it is behavior that’s always taken at the expense of others. Our challenge as men is to step out the shadows of shame and embarrassment. Allow the light to shine on our issues and show ownership of the negative behavior.

    There are movements all across the country to address these shameful behaviors, and these days men have the chance to find encouraging environments and unprecedented opportunities where changes in attitude can happen.

    The stigma of abuse has hindered the willingness to come forward and seek help. No man wants to be an island or an outcast.

    You’ve heard the statements: “Any man who hits a woman is not a man” or “If he puts his hands on you, he’s not a man.” The bottom line is that those statements are true. More important, we can break free of the shackles of those phrases. We can end the stigma and break the cycle by joining together and starting anew.

    So in large numbers, let’s be the Clark Kent who loves and rescues our Lois Lane in ways that are just as important as Superman-like deeds — whether that’s the power of taking out the trash at home or reassuring and taking away our loved one’s fears.

    Abuse is a behavior that we can change by simply going into the booth of reality and becoming who we are meant to be: REAL MEN.

    Orenthal McRae completed the Dallas Battering Intervention and Prevention Program at the Family Place in 2012. He asked that his full name not be published. The Family Place provides comprehensive programs that stop domestic abuse. To learn more, go to familyplace.org.

    Read the full article on Dallasnews.com.

  • Hansen Unplugged - Real Men Dont Hit Women

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 19, 2013

    Dale Hansen Unplugged: Real Men Don't Hit Women

    by Dale hansen
    February 18, 2013

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is trying to put a stop to domestic violence in the city, and it's long past the time someone did.

    The mayor says we live in a country where we disagree about almost everything, and he's right about that. We argue about gun control... birth control... the money our government spends... and the taxes we pay.

    We disagree about the religion we choose (or no religion at all). We even argue with people about the people they choose to love.

    But as the mayor says, how can we argue or disagree about this:

    Dallas police Chief David Brown says his officers handle 13,000 domestic abuse calls every year.

    Thirteen thousand.

    Every year.

    And imagine how many women are too battered or too scared to even call.

    My dad hit my mom once (at least only once that I ever knew about), but he broke her nose. My dad was a big man, a truck driver with huge arms and one of the strongest men I've ever known.

    But never has such a big man looked so small in the eyes of a little boy.

    We need to change the culture of domestic violence. I've laughed at the jokes; I've told some of the jokes; I've seen the T-shirts some men wear.

    But it's not funny.

    It never should have been funny.

    And it's time we change.

    Just like we stopped the jokes about drinking and driving; just like we changed the culture about smoking the cigarettes that kill so many; we can change this, too.

    I know it's not popular to quote liberals in Texas, but former Sen. Ted Kennedy said, "We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make."

    And we start making that better future now.

    We make a better future for our moms and our wives... better for our sisters... a better future for our daughters and granddaughters.

    We have been quiet too long, saying, 'It's none of my business' when it's everybody's business.

    It is a blight on our city that has no boundary. It knows no color. It's a problem in some of our poorest neighborhoods, and a problem in the richest neighborhoods as well.

    Real men... who are gentlemen... don't hit women.

    Real men... who are gentlemen... we need you to join us and stand up now.

    We stand together Saturday, March 23 at Dallas City Hall to say we won't stand quietly by any more; we won't condone it any more; we won't look the other way any more; we won't defend you any more; we won't listen to your excuses any more; and we will not accept it any more.

    Let's join together and raise our voices together as we tell every man in our city, every young boy who will soon be that man — it stops today.

    We change the culture of domestic violence.

    We change the future.

    And we live on in that better future we make.

    Email dhansen@wfaa.com.

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announces Men Against Abuse Rally will be on March 23

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    Mayor Rally: Men Against Abuse - March 23

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announces "Men Against Abuse" Rally will be on March 23, 2013.

    Men Against Abuse - Putting an end to Domestic Violence in Dallas

    Mayor's Rally - 3/23/2013 at 10:00AM

    Take the first step to ending domestic violence in Dallas

    Join event by going to this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/476095059118773/!


  • BREAKING NEWS: VAWA Passes the Senate

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    BREAKING NEWS!! VAWA passes the Senate by a vote of 78-22!



    S. 47, VAWA reauthorization, passes the Senate by a vote of 78-22 on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. Neither of the Texas Senators voted yes but thankfully, it didn't matter.

    Statement from the President on the Senate Passage of VAWA


    Office of the Press Secretary
    February 12, 2013

    Statement from the President on the Senate Passage of the Violence Against Women Act

    Today the Senate passed a strong bipartisan bill to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act. This important step shows what we can do when we come together across party lines to take up a just cause. The bill... passed by the Senate will help reduce homicides that occur from domestic violence, improve the criminal justice response to rape and sexual assault, address the high rates of dating violence experienced by young women, and provide justice to the most vulnerable among us. I want to thank Senator Leahy and his colleagues from both sides of the aisle for the leadership they have shown on behalf of victims of abuse. It's now time for the House to follow suit and send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.


    We will have our work cut out for us in the House of Representatives. Every one of you who support the reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act will have to call your Representative.

  • Mayor Rawlings expects more than 10,000 men at rally next month

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    Mayor Rawlings expects more than 10,000 men at next month’s rally against domestic violence

    by Christina Rosales
    February 12, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced this morning that he expects at least 10,000 men to show up to City Hall Plaza for a rally next month to show they will not tolerate domestic violence in the city.

    Athletes including Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr and former Cowboy Troy Aikman plan to attend the rally, as well as city leaders and religious leaders such as T.D. Jakes and Catholic bishop of the Dallas diocese Kevin Farrell.

    “Most of all, I want fathers to bring their sons,” Rawlings said. “We have an intergenerational teaching moment here because, undoubtedly, this is a learned behavior.”

    The rally, which was planned to take place at Klyde Warren Park, will now take place in the plaza to accommodate all of the campaign’s supporters, Rawlings said. It is set for March 23 at 10 a.m.

    Last month, Rawlings was moved by the handful of recent murders that involved domestic abuse and held an emotional press conference at City Hall to encourage men to change the culture of acceptance of domestic abuse.

    And many men in the city have responded to that, Rawlings said, surrounded by dozens of men on stage at the press conference at the Dallas Museum of Art: athletes, business and religious leaders and city councilmen and Dallas police.

    Casey Cox, brother of Karen Cox Smith, also stood among the men. He wore a purple ribbon on his lapel, commonly used to raise awareness of domestic violence. Police say his sister suffered years of abuse at the hands of her estranged husband before he shot her to death in early January.

    Cox spoke to the crowd at the press conference and said silence needs to be broken when it comes to domestic abuse.

    “I’m speaking for my sister,” Casey Cox said. “Her story needs to be heard by the many women who are victims of domestic violence.”

    The brother said his sister was smart and caring, but above all, courageous. He referred to her several reports to police about her estranged husband’s abuse.

    “She had the courage to say enough is enough,” he said. “She’d want me to share her story to tell women ‘if I had the courage, you too have the courage.’”

    It is unclear what’s next in the advocacy campaign once the rally is over, though the mayor promised there will be more awareness events. Rawlings said the whole campaign is a movement that will change the culture of domestic violence.

    “We’re making this a grass roots movement,” the mayor said. “And we’ll take it back to the community. In the past this has been viewed as a women’s issue, but it ain’t. It’s our problem.”

    Read the full article at DallasNews.com.

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to announce downtown rally against domestic violence

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    Rawlings to announce downtown rally against domestic violence with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith

    by Robert Wilonsky
    February 11, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News - City Hall Blog

    Tomorrow morning Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will start making good on his promise “to change the male culture,” per his remarks at a city hall press conference last month dealing with Dallas’ spike in domestic violence.

    A press conference has been scheduled for Tuesday during which Rawlings, Dallas Police Chief David Brown and city council members will be joined by former Dallas Cowboys Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith and current Cowboy Brandon Carr, among other local celebrities. The topic, according to this afternoon’s media alert: “Announcement of advocacy campaign and rally against domestic violence.” This is the event to which Brad Watson referred last week, when he said Bishop T.D. Jakes and WFAA-Channel 8 sports anchor Dale Hansen would also participate, in the hopes of drawing more than 10,000 to the rally.

    Paula Blackmon, the mayor’s chief of staff, says the event will more than likely take place at the Klyde Warren Park: “That’s the direction we’re heading,” she says. The date of the event will be announced tomorrow.

    “And it will be a multi-generational event,” says Blackmon, “meaning we want grandfathers, fathers and sons.”

    But, she cautions: “It’s not just a rally,” because rallies alone don’t end domestic violence.

    “It’s a movement,” she says. “You’ll see tomorrow.”

    Read more at Dallasnews.com.

  • Be Project Tells Students to Let Your Hearts Rule for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 11, 2013

    Teen Dating Violence Month 2013

    Be Project Tells Students to Let Your Hearts Rule
    February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

    February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness Month. One in three students reports experiencing some form of abuse. Every young person deserves a safe and healthy relationship, no matter who they are or who they love.  Be Project, an initiative of The Family Place, will feature its Let Your Heart Rule Campaign throughout the community this month, supporting the National TDV Awareness Month Campaign from Love is Respect and Break the Cycle.

    Be Project will be distributing heart-shaped stickers and buttons in high schools so that students can decorate and wear on their sleeves during the month to raise awareness. This includes Coppell HS, Creekview HS, Ranchview HS, R. L. Turner HS, Madison HS, and Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School.

    In addition, high schools are raising the bar and creating their own plans.

    • Coppell High School Be More Group – Students plan to create a video about healthy relationships to show throughout the school and distribute table tents at lunch to raise awareness of TDV and get students talking about the issue.
    • Ranchview High School Be More Group - Students plan to create a music video where they will parody a current, popular song to educate and raise awareness of TDV.
    • Creekview Be More Group – Students will design video skits to raise awareness of TDV and show at school.
    • Seagoville High School – Students will compete in a poster contest.

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Ferrigno at 972.243.1611 or beproject@familyplace.org.

    The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be Part of the Solution to End Relationship Violence

    The Be Project, an initiative of The Family Place, provides age and culturally appropriate classroom and therapeutic groups to children and youth in 3rd-12th grades, as well as to college students. To learn more about Be Project, visit www.familyplacebeproject.com or https://www.facebook.com/thebeproject.

  • The Family Place Partners Kicks off 2013

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 30, 2013

    The Family Place Partners toast loyalists and new members at 31 in Highland Park Village

    by Rachael Adams
    CultureMap Dallas

    Last year, the Family Place celebrated the 20th year of Partners Card, the largest fundraiser for the charity. Partners Card holders receive a 20 percent discount at participating restaurants and retailers throughout the area during the much-anticipated 10-day event.

    To celebrate its new members, the Family Place Partners president Jennifer Burns welcomed devotees — Kim Lewis-Gleason, Laura Pitlik, Annika Cail, Katy Duvall, Jennifer Tobin, Kaycee Holmes, Sarah McKee, and Fran and Jim Wallace — to 31, Alberto Lombardi's chic Highland Park Village lounge, for cocktails and small snacks.

    In one corner guests noshed on popcorn, nuts and fried calamari. In another, attendees shared stories about their life-long commitment to the Family Place, Dallas' largest domestic violence agency for more than 35 years. "I've been a volunteer for as long as I can remember — since I moved to Dallas," one guest told us.

    Jamie Singer, events and catering manager for Village Marquee Texas Grill & Bar and the Highland Park Village theater, talked about the Partners Card and how people fly into Dallas from out of state just to shop.

    That reminded us to mark our calendars for October 25, the start of the 21st annual Partners Card event.

    Read the full article and see pictures on CultureMap Dallas's website

  • Read more about how Dallas is making unprecedented domestic violence reform in The Dallas Morning News

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 24, 2013

    Advocates praise Dallas’ domestic violence reform, eye opportunity for further change

    By Sarah Mervosh
    23 January 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    City leaders’ recent resolve to stop domestic violence has made the issue a priority in a way that’s unprecedented in Dallas, but officials can’t let up if they want to address the problem comprehensively, experts say.

    After a jump in domestic violence slayings in 2012 that hasn’t seemed to slow down so far this year, leaders in Dallas have said enough is enough.

    As part of the charge to raise awareness, advocates, city officials and police gathered Wednesday for a candlelight vigil at City Hall for domestic violence victims.

    Mayor Mike Rawlings has also appealed to Dallas’ men to stop domestic violence, a City Council member announced efforts to help curb the problem and the police chief has been asked to make it a priority to serve domestic violence warrants.

    Local advocates praised the city’s coordinated response that puts the responsibility where it should be: on the abusers. Jan Langbein, the executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter for 22 years, said she has never seen a mayor take such a strong stand on this issue.

    “Just in the past two weeks, we’ve seen our city turn the corner … from blaming a victim to holding accountable the perpetrator,” Langbein said. “That’s a message that’s heard loudly throughout our community.”

    But advocates say it’s only part of the solution.

    The voices of city officials play a part in reducing domestic violence by helping sway public opinion, said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter.

    “It is not going to stop it by itself, but it is an important part of stopping family violence,” Flink said. “We need to look at the whole system.”

    The city’s response came days after a man was accused of killing his estranged wife in a UT Southwestern parking garage. Police say Karen Cox Smith, 40, was gunned down by Ferdinand Smith on Jan. 8 while an abuse warrant was outstanding for his arrest. He had been accused in December of trying to strangle his wife.

    Police say Smith’s slaying is part of the troubling trend of domestic violence murders, which jumped from 10 to 26 between 2011 and 2012. So far this month, police have reported four in Dallas, as well as several others in surrounding areas, including the murder-suicide of an estranged couple outside their daughter’s birthday party Saturday in Grapevine.

    Rawlings’ chief of staff said the mayor had been troubled by recent violence, including the Connecticut school massacre and the uptick in local domestic violence deaths. Smith’s death spurred him to action.

    “That tragic incident really kick-started it,” Paula Blackmon said. “That moved it along.”

    Smith’s brother, Casey Cox, said he will fight to make sure his sister is not forgotten.

    “She would have wanted the next woman suffering from a similar situation to know that silence is not an option,” he said at the vigil Wednesday.

    Since Smith’s death, the city has announced that police will prioritize domestic violence arrest warrants for repeat offenders and those who pose an immediate threat. Council member Delia Jasso’s office is also working to put up billboards advertising assistance for victims and to engage places of worship in outreach efforts.

    Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said Dallas’ response has laid a strong foundation to combat domestic violence.

    “It sounds like an aggressive intervention approach,” she said. “But how are we going to address the prevention angle?”

    City officials say they plan to round out their response with prevention, but those initiatives could take time.

    Rawlings is planning a rally in the spring to launch an awareness campaign focusing on men, his chief of staff said. Jasso is working with police to raise domestic violence awareness in Dallas schools, but that probably won’t begin until next school year.

    The Family Place’s Flink said she, too, has never seen such a promising response from the city. But she also knows it’s important to build on the initial changes.

    She said she’d like to see the city impose stronger penalties for domestic violence misdemeanors to deter abusers from escalating violence.

    She also sees an opportunity to prevent abuse by reducing unemployment, which she says can play a role in domestic violence.

    “It’s something we’ve wished for — for family violence to be a priority, to have it be something that’s a City Hall priority,” Flink said. “They’ve made this commitment, and I just want to see them follow through with it and keep pushing the pedal to the metal.”

    Read the full article at Dallasnews.com.

  • A former victim of domestic violence speaks out in The Dallas Morning News

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 24, 2013

    Family Place's cause close to home for woman who endured 25 years of domestic violence

    By Sarah Mervosh
    23 January 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Connie Nash says she hadn’t been married for even a week before her husband hit her for the first time. She had burned the beans. What followed was 25 years of abuse, bruises, broken bones and jail stays for her husband, she said.

    Then a day came when their 16-year-old son stood up for her. Her husband got angry and left but returned with a gun and put it to Nash’s head. If her son hadn’t jumped on her husband’s back, he would have killed her, Nash believes.

    “So often women die in that situation,” she said. “So I consider myself very blessed.”

    Nash’s experience is fairly typical for situations that escalate into extreme violence or death, said

    criminologist Denise Paquette Boots, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    “There’s something that’s happened that puts … [abusers] over the edge,” she said.

    Often, the flash point comes when a victim stands up to an abuser or decides to leave, Boots said. In Nash’s case, it was her son who took a stand.

    “Things were going to be different. He just couldn’t accept that,” Nash, 53, said of her husband. “If he didn’t think he had control over his family in all situations, he was just going to end it.”

    Nash met her husband in church and got married at 16. She said she never pressed charges or left him because she’d made a commitment to God to stay married forever. Her pastor also counseled her not to leave him, she said.

    “I really thought I’d be married until death do us part, until it almost happened,” Nash said.

    After the incident with the gun, police arrested her husband, she said. He spent less than two years in jail, but he died several years ago, she said.

    Nash had never worked outside the home until he was jailed. Now, more than a decade later, she’s a senior tax processor and serves on the board of directors for The Family Place shelter, she said.

    Nash would like to see harsher laws for domestic violence to help deter abusers. She also suggested a policy under which the city or police could press charges on victims’ behalf.

    “I can’t even believe I’m saying it,” Nash said, because she would have been terrified of the consequences when she was married. But from her perspective today, it seems like a good idea. “It could save a lot of lives.”

    Read the full article at Dallasnews.com.

  • Stiletto Strut Makes the List of the 10 most anticipated spring events on the Dallas Social Scene

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 23, 2013

    The 10 most-anticipated spring events on the Dallas social scene

    by Rachael Abrams
    CultureMap Dallas

    The sun has emerged from behind the clouds, and spring is just around the corner. That means the Dallas social set is back in philanthropic action. We are marking our calendars, sending in our reply cards and readying our wallets for charitable donations. From lively luncheons to the city's most formal affairs, these are the 10 most anticipated spring events.

    Neiman Marcus Stiletto Strut
    Stiletto Strut is one of our favorite annual events — and not just because it's at the landmark Neiman Marcus Downtown. On April 25, hundreds of ladies, decked out in all manner of super-high heels, strut around the department store to support The Family Place. Sip cocktails and strap on our stilettos for a great cause? We're telling chairs Jenifer Strauss Dannhauser, Stacy Girard and Lindsay Jacaman to count us in.

    Read the full article at the CultureMap Dallas website.


  • City of Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force to host Candlelight Vigil on January 23, 2013

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 22, 2013

    Tomorrow night, Wednesday at 6:00 PM, the City of Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force is hosting a candle light vigil to remember domestic violence murder victims of 2012 and 2013. It will be on the plaza in front of City Hall, and is open to the public.

    The Domestic Violence Task Force is chaired by Councilwoman Delia Jasso, who... released three new initiatives to combat this problem last week. Mayor Mike Rawlings has also launched a new initiative to fight domestic abuse.

    For more information, please contact the office of Councilwoman Delia Jasso at (214) 670-4052 or gerardo.sanchez@dallascityhall.com.

    DVTF Candlelight Vigil - 1/23/2013

  • Paige Flink Responds after Recent Shooting

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 22, 2013

    Parents dead after gunfire at daughter's birthday party

    by Jonathan Betz
    January 20, 2013

    GRAPEVINE — An argument at a girl’s 16th birthday party in Grapevine late Saturday night ended with the child's father shooting her mother and then killing himself, according to police.

    Kelly Suckla, 43, shot his 44-year-old wife Kristi near the front door of her parents’ home in the 3100 block of Creekview Drive just after 10 p.m. on Saturday.

    Kelly Suckla then shot himself in the head a few moments later in the front yard.

    Kristi Suckla died about 40 minutes later at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.

    “It’s a quiet neighborhood, a family neighborhood,” said neighbor Ruth Cramer. “We're just speechless.”

    Police say Suckla and his wife were estranged, but appeared to be friendly. Friends said Kristi moved into her parents’ Grapevine home about two months ago, but investigators said Kelly was invited to his daughter’s celebration.

    “The family members were aware he was going to be there,” said Sgt. Robert Eberling with the Grapevine Police Department. “So I think it pretty much took everybody by surprise.”

    Police said they’re unsure what sparked the argument. Family members — including the couple’s teenage daughter and 21-year-old son — were nearby, inside the house, when the gunfire erupted, but they did not witness the shooting.

    Jeff Barr has lived next door to the Sucklas' home in Euless for more than 10 years. Just hours before the shooting, he chatted with Kelly Suckla about the party.

    “He said they were just going to do a birthday thing for their daughter, and that was about it,” Barr said. He occasionally visited with the Sucklas inside their home, and said they never gave any indication of problems with their marriage.

    “They seemed normal — never thought anything was going wrong,” Barr said. “Never gave me any reason to believe otherwise.”

    The number of domestic violence murders in North Texas has spiked recently. In Dallas alone, they more than doubled last year to 26, up from 10 the year before.

    “It just seems like it’s gotten more extreme,” said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place, a Dallas shelter for battered women. She said not only are the number of domestic abuse cases rising, but so is the viciousness.

    “In the past, what we would see is pushing, shoving, bruises... but not the use of knives and guns,” she said. “It’s extreme violence.”

    Flink worries the sluggish economy may be behind the spike in domestic abuse cases. “The majority of the victims have batterers who are unemployed,” she said.

    The violence even prompted Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings last week to urge the police department to step up efforts to catch known domestic violence abusers.

    “We’ve got to dial it up to the next level,” he said during a Monday news conference at City Hall.

    Dallas officers are now prioritizing cases involving domestic abuse, after the department launched a special task force of 100 officers last month to serve arrest warrants.

    Yet officers point out domestic violence crimes can be very difficult to predict or explain. That’s why victims’ advocates are pushing not only for stepped up enforcement, but also for women to feel more comfortable in seeking help.

    “There really is no hurdle we can’t help a woman overcome,” said Flink, the shelter director. “If it’s bad enough for you to be afraid, it’s bad enough for you to come seek services.”

    Read the full article at WFAA.com.

  • Dallas to Ready to Battle Domestic Violence

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 22, 2013

    Police will prioritize warrants for repeat and dangerous domestic violence offenders, city officials announce

    by Sarah Mervosh

    In the city’s latest move to combat domestic violence, Dallas police will now prioritize serving arrest warrants to repeat offenders and to abusers of victims believed to be in imminent danger.

    Prioritizing arrest warrants for abusers who are flagged as particularly dangerous was one change announced Thursday afternoon at a city hall press conference. The chair of the city’s domestic violence task force, councilwoman Delia Jasso, said the city is working with Dallas police and local shelters to make changes to decrease domestic violence.

    Other plans included launching a more aggressive awareness campaign and implementing a domestic violence related program in Dallas schools.

    These announcements come just days after Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings held his own press conference to address the issue. They also come the week after a former school security guard allegedly shot and killed his wife as she left work after years of documented domestic problems.

    “We’ve always known that domestic violence is a big problem in our city,” Jasso said. “But within the last few weeks and even the last few days, we’ve seen the number of cases and victims rise at an alarming rate.”

    Deputy Chief Sherryl Scott said police have already begun working to serve warrants still outstanding.

    Police will use additional manpower, such as a special task force that addresses problem areas, to help address the backlog. Officers will use lethality assessments – 11 yes-or-no questions asked during domestic violence calls to ascertain whether the call is high-risk – to help determine which warrants to prioritize, she said.

    “We are going to do everything we can to get those warrants served as quickly as we can,” she said.

    In order for this to be effective, Jasso said officials will need to work closely with victims so police can get the information they need to make an arrest and so prosecutors can build an effective case.

    Jasso also announced a more aggressive awareness campaign to give victims and families the resources they need to get help. That includes reaching out to places of worship and extending outreach beyond domestic violence awareness month.

    Anti-domestic violence billboards will run more often and more consistently. They’ll also offer hotline phone numbers as a resource, Jasso said.
    “That seems to be the quickest way to help someone,” she said.

    Jasso also announced a Dallas police program called “Blue in School,” which is meant to help children feel more comfortable reporting domestic violence and also end the cycle of violence. That program is in the planning stage, Scott said.

    Jasso encouraged victims to seek help.

    “We need to know who you are to get you the help you need,” she said. “One time you’re hit is one time too many.”

    Read full article in Dallasnews.com.

    Watch New Dallas Initiatives To Battle Domestic Violence from CBS-Dallas.

  • CultureMap Dallas Sums Up Why Mike Rawlings Was Right to Call Out Dallas Men

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 15, 2013

    Why Mike Rawlings was right to call out Dallas men regarding domestic violence

    by Eric Celeste
    January 15, 2013
    CultureMap Dallas

    It was 7:30 am when Mayor Mike Rawlings called Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place. It was the day after the high-profile murder of Karen Cox Smith at UT Southwestern, and Rawlings was deeply troubled by the facts of the case. Especially that Smith’s husband, her accused killer, had a warrant issued for his arrest three weeks earlier but had not been arrested.

    “He was very sincere, very distraught,” Flink says. “He just wanted to know, ‘What should we do?’ Because he felt he had to do something.”

    Which led to yesterday’s press conference, in which the mayor promised support to help police combat domestic violence and chastised men to stop friends and family members from committing partner abuse.

    JFloyd gets it exactly right in her column this morning in which she admits wondering about Rawlings’ sincerity before the news conference began. She notes that she was initially cynical about his message (basically, men need to do more to stop friends and family from committing spousal abuse) and the details of his plan to combat this (100 more officers serving domestic violence warrants, plus a commission to determine how to change the culture of silence surrounding spousal abuse).

    I was too. It struck me beforehand as an empty gesture. But after watching Rawlings’ emotional pleas to Dallas men, and after talking to Flink, whose nonprofit for 35 years has helped the victims of family abuse, I’m convinced the mayor’s efforts are not only heartfelt but also worthwhile.

    If Police Chief David Brown says 100 more officers targeting domestic violence cases will help, I believe him. His oversight of the city as crime has continued to fall means he’s earned enough respect and trust to give him these resources.

    The emotional part of Rawlings’ speech came when he addressed men directly. He said it was “our fault” that spousal abuse is a continued blight on our city. And he challenged men to be man enough to do something to stop friends or family members whom we suspect are committing such crimes.

    Flink says she spent time over the weekend working with Rawlings’ speechwriter as needed, but that the more they dove into it, the more Rawlings took control of the speech and made it his own. He specifically wanted to scold men to do more in seeking out clues that could shed light on domestic problems before they escalate, as so many do.

    “He really thinks men can help do something about this, and I agree,” Flink says. “Only men can stop other men. The Family Place was started by women, and we help many people in need. But men must stand up to those they think might be hurting women. We see it all the time. They think it’s not their place. But it is their place.”

    Changing attitudes won’t be easy. For one, the scope of the problem is hard to define. Spend any time searching for updated statistics on domestic violence, and you’ll see there aren’t many, and there are none that suggest authoritative certainty. (Are there 600,000 or 6 million victims a year?) But most studies suggest that three out of four people will know someone affected by such violence, and therefore it seems worth trying to reach them.

    Another problem is in changing cultures. Most of those studies will show a link between class and spousal abuse — the poorer you are, often the less educated you are, and the less educated cling to the feelings of power and control such actions provide.

    But that also means that some in higher economic brackets may wrongly feel as though they don't need to be drafted in this war. As Steve Eagar, Channel 4 news anchor, put it in an oddly defensive Facebook post:

    I just don't think 'friends and buddies' know. Not something you share with your golfing buddy. The idea of the news conference was right, the accusatory nature of it seemed weird. I want to see the stats.

    Really? Because the only stat I need to see is from Flink’s editorial, in which she said they turned away more than 700 women in 2011 at The Family Place because their beds were full.

    Of course, Eagar’s post generated more than 30 comments, including from women who’d been abused and whose friends and family knew but did nothing. Because it’s more prevalent than you think, which was the mayor’s point, which is why his sincerity and openness about this issue should be taken seriously. Especially by those of us who were callous enough to doubt him in the first place.

    Read the full article on CultureMap Dallas.

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings calls on Dallas men to stop domestic violence

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 14, 2013

    Mayor Mike Rawlings makes an emotional plea to Dallas men to stop domestic violence

    by Christina Rosales
    January 14, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Mayor Mike Rawlings, backed by Police Chief David Brown and domestic violence victim advocates, made an emotional plea to the city of Dallas, and the men in particular, to stop domestic violence.

    “It’s our fault,” the mayor said at the press conference Monday afternoon at Dallas City Hall. “It’s not the women’s fault.”

    The mayor spoke to media about the jump in homicides in Dallas in the past year, which Brown has said recently can be attributed to family violence.

    “We want to make it known that any violent act toward a woman will not be tolerated by the men in the city,” Rawlings said.

    The mayor also introduced his idea for a public awareness campaign, “to change the male culture” in the city, that will launch in the spring. He said he has an executive team selected already, including Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House, State Rep. Rafael Anchia and Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten and Marco Rivera.

    Read the full article on Dallasnews.com.

    Watch the full press conference on UStream.

  • PaperCity Shares Photos from the 2012 Partners Card Wrap-Up Party

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 14, 2013

    Take a look at the 2012 Partners Card coverage in PaperCity





    Click on the link to see all the photos from PaperCity -http://www.papercitymag.com/Parties/Archives/5937/2012-Partners-Card-Wrap-Up-Party/

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Reynolds Holds Press Conference on Preventing Family Violence

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 14, 2013

    In response to the recent acts of violence, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will be holding a press conference at 1:30 pm this afternoon, Monday, January 14 at the Dallas City Hall Flag Room. The Mayor is calling on the community to get involved with preventing family violence, that one murder is one too many!

    Tune in live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dallasmayorsofc!

    MEDIA ALERT: Press Conference moved to 1:30pm

    Mayor Mike Rawlings reflects on recent acts of violence

    WHAT: After the incident in Newtown and the rise in violent offenses in our community, especially domestic violence, Mayor Mike Rawlings announces plans for a strategy to reflect on our community’s role in dealing with these issues.

    WHO: Mayor Mike Rawlings

    WHEN: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    WHERE: Dallas City Hall (Flag Room) 1500 Marilla Ave., Dallas, Texas 75201

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