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Women and Children Fleeing Domestic Abuse Find a Safe Spot at SafeHaven

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

In a county where one in every four women is suffering a violent home situation, a cry of alert is sounded. Everyone deserves freedom from domestic violence. That's where SafeHaven steps in to help "create safety for women and children: immediate safety for now, permanent safety for the future."

A merger in 2006 of the Women's Haven of Fort Worth and the Women's Shelter in Arlington created SafeHaven. Vice President of Development Megan Bent states, "SafeHaven is Tarrant County's largest, oldest and most comprehensive domestic violence agency." The short-term goal of the agency is to help women and children escape violent situations, while the long-term goals is to eliminate domestic violence altogether.

Just how does the organization handle this huge issue? By providing a 24-hour victim crisis hotline in English and Spanish, two 24-hour secure emergency shelters in both Arlington and Fort Worth with a combined total of 164 beds so those women and families fleeing violent situations have a safe place to stay, children's programs, counseling, legal help and support. SafeHaven provides survivors with a safety net of services and support to establish and sustain self-sufficiency, says Bent. "Through housing programs, families can move to a secure environment while simultaneously obtaining life skills, education and improved employment opportunities."

Believing that getting to the root of the problem is critical to ending domestic abuse whether the abuse is physical, emotional, sexual, or financial, the agency continually educates the public through their professional education staff. A domestic violence prevention program is given to high school students in Tarrant County. In addition, "SafeHaven provides Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP), a psychoeducational service to perpetrators through state-approved batterer intervention and prevention program, to work to achieve the social change necessary to eliminate domestic violence," states Bent.

Volunteers are always needed to support the cause and keep the organization running. As long as you can fill out an application, pass a criminal background check done to protect those SafeHaven serves and attend a volunteer orientation, you can be a volunteer. Whether you prefer administrative work, children's programs, retail work in their Berry Good Buys shop, answering hotline calls or other tasks, there is always something for you to do.

Even if you don't want to be part of the organization's over 440 volunteers each year, you can still do something. Donate food or funds to SafeHaven, attend their fundraising events or give public talks. Bent explains, "It is important to speak up and raise awareness about this serious epidemic."

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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