Of the 29 shelters surveyed in Texas, 83 percent say the number of hotline calls, walk-ins and/or families staying at their shelters has dramatically increased this year. Walk-ins at one shelter jumped 240 percent. Crisis hotlines calls have doubled in some cases, and the number of women and children staying at shelters has increased by as much as 71 percent in some instances.
"Every year the stresses of the holiday season send women and children fleeing for safety," said Paige Flink, Executive Director of Family Place in Dallas. "But this year, the financial pressures of the holiday season are compounded by the weakened economy. This is a recipe for disaster and I'm afraid we will see more tragic stories on the news if we don't prepare women today."
Unfortunately, this increased demand for emergency services won't disappear with the New Year. More than 70% of the shelters surveyed explain many battered women try to keep their families together so the children can have holiday memories. The stresses of the holiday season come to bear eventually, however, and shelter beds are overflowing throughout the month of January, as well. Editors: To locate a program in your community, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.