When shelters are full, victims in dangerous situations have a harder time finding protection. They may minimize their level of danger, which makes it even more complex. SafeHaven doesn’t want to turn victims away, but unfortunately, options for additional space are very limited. Shelters in Dallas are full as well so, according to Hafley, referring victims to other domestic violence organizations isn’t always possible.
Having full shelters across North Texas is putting a strain on local non-profit’s bottom line. Multi-faceted agencies such as SafeHaven are calling in extra staff, food bills are increasing and other unanticipated costs are affecting its financial resources.
“It has happened in the past, but it is rare for it to occur this early in the summer and for the shelters to be over capacity on a day in/day out basis,” said Hafley.
Research shows that victims typically try to leave abusers during the summer since children are out of school and neighbors are on vacation, so there are fewer questions to answer. The timing allows victims to minimize their shame and embarrassment. Higher temperatures may also drive heated exchanges outside, which results in more calls to police.
Despite the recent increase in families in need of its services, Hafley said she hopes the message that SafeHaven is a place of refuge has resonated with victims, their friends and family and community professionals so that more accurate information/referrals connects women to SafeHaven’s services.