Posted on February 16, 2018

We've got big news- DCFOF now has a Transitional Housing program! 

We are best known as the emergency shelter in the area, but for years now our agency has been building our capacity in order to provide transitional housing. When you think about everything that goes into a survivor of domestic violence thriving on their own- enough money saved for a deposit on a house or apartment, a stable job earning enough to make ends meet, transportation to get herself and her kids to/from work and school, and a support system to help her through it- 30 days in emergency shelter is just not enough. 

That is where our new program comes in! We know that for many survivors of family violence, for their life apart from their abuser to be sustainable they need more time to build a foundation. After exiting our emergency shelter, clients can now move in to their very own apartment thanks to our Transitional Housing program! We are able to help victims of sexual and domestic violence secure safe housing options as they transition out of the emergency shelter, flee from an abusive home or are recovering from the financial abuse that 98% of victims of domestic violence experience. The transitional housing program provides safe housing combined with comprehensive services to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in their path to independence and emotional well-being. 

The launch of our transitional housing program will meet a critical need for domestic violence and sexual assault victims as they struggle to achieve financial stability. The program is funded by awards from the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and the Criminal Justice Division Grant (CJD). ESG offers short term housing assistance for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. CJD offers financial assistance for 6-18 months and additional services such as counseling, life skills, budgeting, and employment. 

Our First Client 

Dr. Nicole Roberts Ph.D, DCFOF, Executive Program Director announced last week that "we placed our first transitional housing client into a safe and comfortable home. She is a single mom with small children so the needs for her move in were significant".  

Included in the vision of this program is that the homes are furnished, decorated and stocked with essentials as families move in. DCFOF Executive Director, Toni Johnson-Simpson, had this to say about the vision: " families should be able to maintain their dignity even in their most desperate of times". In an effort to achieve this objective DCFOF has partnered with Latter House Décor. 

Shalonda Waggoner is the President and Founder of LatterHouse Décor and a survivor of domestic violence. Shalonda works to help clients access “a beautiful beginning to their best life”. The mission of LatterHouse Decor is to provide no cost interior decorating services to women and families who have been hurt due to domestic violence. The LatterHouse crew helped DCFOF furnish and decorate our client’s home with donated items. 

It took an enormous amount of teamwork to make all the details come together and make this house a home for our client. We are grateful for the community partners that made this happen. 

How Can You Help? 

Become a Housing Partner! The support of donors and volunteers are the difference in a child sleeping on an air mattress or in a toddler bed. You are the sofas, dishes and groceries that make the families we serve find hope again. Without your support we could not aide in the positive change in the lives of the women and children we serve. 

If you would like to learn more about how to support the efforts of our transitional housing program with time, talent or treasure and become a Housing Partner email donate@dcfof.org. 

Thank you for investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention for victims of sexual and domestic violence in our community. 

Check out our first client's gorgeous home! 

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Posted on February 15, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day! It's a day where we all sit surrounded by Cupid and pink hearts, and take time to be grateful for our healthy and supportive relationships. Those significant others can definitely make life sweeter, but here's a thought: Is there any relationship more valuable than your relationship with yourself? 

Loving yourself can be a struggle that stays with you for your whole life, especially for the population we serve that have experienced abuse or assault. Finding the things that you love about your friends and family for some of us is way easier than finding the things you love about yourself. We are all imperfect beings; but after experiencing the kind of tear downs that survivors of abuse have, it can feel like you are made entirely of flaws.  

Let's go ahead and clear this up- you are the perfect and only version of you in the world, and you deserve to love and be loved by others! And not just because of the great things about you, but because of your imperfections too. Because those little scars and insecurities, those embarrassing and painful experiences you have had in your life- those things have made you who you are today. And you are perfect. 

Loving yourself despite your flaws is a lot easier said than done, I know. So here's some suggestions of a super important thing for you to work into your daily schedule- SELF CARE! Actively put time and energy into your relationship with yourself, and you will start to see your best self blossom. 

Tips for Self-Care from DCFOF Staff: 

  1. "I like to bake. Sometimes when I am stressed I will bake something and make it as beautiful and decorative as I possibly can. It's a feeling of accomplishment when I can look at something and say- 'I made that, and it's awesome'". -KS 

  2. "In order for me to be in a good space for myself and for others I have to carve out time in my schedule to be creative. I know that sounds weird to say "carve out time" to do something like this but it is very important for me. It is my one way to unwind and be purposeful in something I enjoy the process and the result." - CW 

  3. "I make egg and chorizo burritos and take my kids to the park to have a breakfast feast. The kids play, I watch them play, I relax a bit and then join in the play session myself...I make an awesome mud pie :)"  - CS 

  4. Remind yourself these things:- KR 

    1. "Who I am is enough. What I do is enough. What I have is enough." 

    2. "I owe myself the same love I give to others so freely." 

  5. "My self care is all about me which is fitting. Anything involving essential oils, bath products or spa activities is my #1 self care go to." -RS 

More Self Care Ideas

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Posted on February 9, 2018

Driving To Safety

There are many roadblocks impacting our client's ability to get the help they need and access safety. One of those roadblocks oftentimes is transportation. 99% of domestic violence victims experience financial abuse and transportation is one of the many challenges that arises. #DrivingToSafety helps give clients their freedom back by assisting with transportation needs.  But, we need your help!  

Help support our clients who need access to transportation by donating to the #DrivingToSafety campaign! Consider giving $5 or $10 on a recurring monthly basis. That small amount will help our clients travel safely to work, court, counseling and even drive their kids to school. Your small gift makes a huge impact!  

Help Support 

You're not giving her a ride, you're giving her freedom back. So, let's talk about this.  

The Facts

According to the Purple Purse Foundation (a non-profit foundation fighting against financial abuse), 99% of abuse victims experience financial abuse. This means that their abuser keeps them from being able to obtain and maintain financial resources. They will do things like not allow the victim to work (which makes them rely on the abuser to live), not allow them to have access to a bank account (which makes them rely on the abuser to give them an allowance), and even intentionally ruin the victim's credit (which means the victim could not qualify for a loan). This is so detrimental to a person being able to lead a functional adult life, that it is reported as one of the top barriers many victims experience when they are trying to leave an abusive relationship. 

So how does transportation fit into all this? Financial abuse affects every part of a person's life, including their ability to own a car and pay for gas. If their abuser has cut them off from any source of income, how can they keep up with car payments or afford gas?  

Finding Freedom 

Think about this- what really makes you feel free?  One thing is certainly the ability to get yourself to and from a destination, now that is a sign of freedom. Remember how you couldn't wait to turn 16! Before we could drive we were "controlled" (presumably by parents or guardians), and had to have permission before going anywhere or doing anything. Maybe you still were supposed to get permission once you had a car, but you didn't really HAVE to. When you got the keys, you got the control over your own life. When the keys are taken away from victims of domestic violence, it is all part of the power and control that the abuser exerts over that person.  

It's more than just a feeling of powerlessness- it's the inability to do things like take your kids to school and visit friends and family. It's the inability to go to the grocery store without permission from your partner, or take yourself to the doctor. Real world things that victims and survivors need to be able to do to thrive on their own. 

So here is where we come in! At Friends of the Family many clients experience financial abuse, and oftentimes due to those circumstances do not have access to a reliable form of transportation. They may be out of the relationship, but they are not as free as they deserve to be. We currently purchase bus passes for clients but often times the schedule may conflict with a client's needs or the route may not get them to where they need to go. So we need to be able to provide more resources. Here's where you come in!

How You Can Help

Our new campaign, #DrivingToSafety, is aimed at bringing in funds for gas gift cards, Uber gift cards. Lyft gift cards and bus passes for our clients who have this need- all things transporation. It's not the same as a new car, but for someone who has had everything taken away, it is a slice of freedom that they should have had this whole time.

Help support our clients who need access to transportation by donating to the #DrivingToSafety campaign! 100% of the proceeds from this campaign will be used to help our clients who need assistance with transportation.  

You're not giving her a ride, you're giving her freedom back. 

We ask that you consider giving $5 or $10 on a recurring monthly basis. That small amount will help clients travel safely to work, court, counseling and even drive their kids to school. Your small gift makes a huge impact!  

GIVE NOW

Thank you for supporting our client's road to freedom with the #DrivingToSafety campaign! 

If you have any questions get in touch with us.  

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Posted on February 7, 2018

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. When we think of the term "domestic violence," teen dating violence is not usually the first thought that comes to mind. We think of married partners or adult partners who are living together with their children. When we think of the children and teens involved we think of them more as witnesses to the violence, but that is not always the case. In fact, teen dating violence is much more prevalent than most people realize, with nearly 1.5 MILLION high schoolers nationwide suffering physical abuse from an intimate partner each year. 

What are the signs of dating violence?

Let's Talk Stats

1 in 3 adolescents in the US is a victim of intimate partner violence (verbal, emotional, sexual, or physical), exceeding the adult statistic of 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men. In fact, teens are more likely to be a victim of intimate partner violence than any other form of youth violence. Teens and young women are the most at-risk population for domestic violence, almost half (46%) of dating college women are victims of dating violence, and girls ages 16-24 experience the absolute highest rate of dating violence (3X the national average). 

Abuse is a form of violence that never really goes away. The bruises may heal and fade, but many of the effects of dating violence are felt long-term. Being a victim of dating violence as a teen puts survivors at high risk of developing eating disorders, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, and experiencing more/further domestic violence. Physically and sexually abused teens are 6 times more likely to have a teen pregnancy, and twice as likely to contract a STI than non-abused teens. They are also at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, which can significantly affect all aspects of a survivor's life. 

What does counseling for a teen survivor look like?

Let's Talk Prevention

So what can we do about it? Spread awareness! An astounding 81% of parents do not think that dating violence is an issue! We must talk to our kids about what dating violence can look like and who to turn to for help. Only 33% of teens in an abusive relationship will disclose the abuse to anyone and part of the reason is that they may fear they will not be believed or that it is their fault. It's on all of us to create an embracing culture that supports victims and survivors of violence. That starts with spreading awareness and access to resources. 

Community Education is a big part of what we do here at Denton County Friends of the Family. In fact, in 2017 we educated over 28,956 community members throughout Denton County. We offer programs about the prevention of relationship violence and sexual assault to all parts of our community. From our Bumbles presentations with children as young as kindergarten-aged to healthy relationship presentations for teens. We cover the whole spectrum of education for youth about teen dating violence, relationship violence and sexual assault. If you would like more information about scheduling a presentation or partnering with our community education team then let's get connected.  

Get Connected

If you feel you or someone you know may be experiencing dating violence, please call our 24-hour crisis line at 940.382.7273 or 800.572.4031. Crisis line calls are an anonymous and confidential way to get more information and ask questions you may have been afraid to ask anyone else. 

*Statistics courtesy of loveisrespect.org 

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Posted on February 1, 2018

Human Trafficking

Guest Author: Dr. Nicole Holmes, DCFOF Director of Policy and Training

When people think of Human Trafficking or the more appropriate term, sex slavery, they typically think of it as something that happens elsewhere.  It is seen as a problem in places such as India, Cambodia or the Philippines.  We are often reluctant to recognize the prevalence of this horrific human rights violation in our own back yard.  When Americans do acknowledge that sex slavery occurs in the United States, it is still seen as an international crime.  It is viewed as “others” kidnapping white women and children to be taken across seas or women brought from other countries to be forced into prostitution in the United States.  While these crimes do occur at an alarmingly high rate, a large proportion of sex slavery in the U.S. falls under the category of Domestic Human Trafficking.  Domestic Human Trafficking can take many forms, but the end result is an individual being forced into sexual servitude with their liberty, safety, humanity, dignity, and choice taken from them.  Here are some common examples of Domestic Human Trafficking:

  • A mother sells her 11 year-old daughter to a child pornography and prostitution ring for money to support her drug habit.
  • A father consents to the marriage of his 12 year-old daughter to an adult male for a “bride price,” where the child experiences ongoing rape, abuse, and control.
  • A husband forces his wife into prostitution; controlling the money, partners, and settings.
  • A “boyfriend” or predatory male blackmails a teen girl into prostitution, continually increasing threats and control until the teen is adequately isolated from her support systems.
  • A runaway teenager is offered food/shelter/compassion as a trade for sex and is then groomed to provide more sexual acts for continued support until they are eventually deep under the abuser’s control.

Any of the above situations can and often do lead to forced pornography and selling of the individuals to other “pimps,” often across state lines.  The victim is often provided with drugs, given under the guise of care or fun, but in reality used to further maintain control over the victim.  The victim becomes increasingly dependent on the trafficker as they are further isolated from support systems and normal life.  The victim is taught to believe that they have no value beyond providing sex, would be rejected by anyone they turned to, and need the trafficker for food, shelter, protection, and drugs.  The trafficker may additionally blackmail the victim with threats of disclosing what “they have done” to their family or threatened the victim with increased violence and/or harm to their loved ones.  The victim’s fears of others are often reinforced when they are arrested for prostitution or possession of drugs and treated as a common criminal.  The victim may try to reach out for help and be rejected because of a criminal history of prostitution or because of their drug addiction.  Each of these incidents is proof to the victim that the trafficker is right and they give-up seeking a way out.  Unfortunately, these women and children often have a very short life, with high incidents of murder, suicide, and drug overdose.

Despite the sad and helpless tone of this narrative, there is hope!  There are agencies across the nation, like Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF), which provide services to victims of human trafficking.  DCFOF has an emergency safety shelter for victims who need a hidden and comfortable place that provides secrecy and protection from the trafficker.  DCFOF provides transitional housing, advocacy, legal assistance, case management, career, school, and financial guidance, and other resources to assist victims in finding independence and a new life.  Additionally, DCFOF provides professional counseling for adults, adolescents, and children to help victims heal from the traumas they have experienced and find true recovery.  If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking/sex slavery please reach out for help. 

You can call the Denton County Friends of the Family Hotline at 940-382-7273/800-572-4031 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.

Get Help

*Image from eglin.af
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Posted on January 25, 2018

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, first observed by the National Center for Victims of Crime in January 2004. Denton County Friends of the Family works diligently to inform and educate our community about the possibility of intimate partner stalking escalating into intimate partner violence. #NSAM

Every year in the United States, 7.5 million people report occurrences of stalking. The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know, with half reporting that the incidence occurred before age 25. 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner, and 67% of women who are stalked by their intimate partner also report having been physically abused by them.

The Texas penal code defines stalking as when someone knowingly engages in behavior that someone else would find threatening, and that would cause a reasonable person to be afraid. A stalker tries to control his or her victim through behavior or threats intended to intimidate and/or terrify.

Myths and Facts about stalking:

Myth: It can’t be stalking if you’re dating the person.

Fact: Even if you’re dating, if your every move is being tracked by your partner and it causes you fear, that is stalking.

Myth: Only celebrities deal with being stalked.

Fact: The majority of the 7.5 million people who are stalked every year are ordinary people.

Myth: Stalking is annoying and inconvenient but it is not illegal.

Fact: Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Texas, stalking is a 3rd degree felony, and with a prior stalking conviction, it becomes a 2nd degree felony.

If you are being stalked, notify local law enforcement (and possibly the district attorney offices), keep a record that includes names and addresses of witnesses, seek a protective order, record telephone conversations, take pictures of the stalker, and tell as many people as you can. Then, keep telling. Be sure to develop measures to help yourself stay safe. Be alert, vary your routes to and from places you often visit like work or the grocery store, park in secure and well-lit areas, maintain privacy on social media and anywhere conversations could be overhead, and work with agencies like ours to develop a safety plan for yourself and your family members in case of emergency. Most importantly, do not dismiss any threat. A stalker’s behavior has potential to escalate quickly.

If you are a victim of stalking, alert local law enforcement as soon as possible. Denton County Friends of the Family is dedicated to helping our community stay safe through prevention, education, awareness, intervention, and advocacy. For more information, visit http://victimsofcrime.org/our- programs/stalking-resource-center. Stalking is not romantic and it is not a joke: it is a crime.

Not sure if this applies to you/your relationship?  Call our 24-Hour Crisis Line for anonymous information and advice: 940-382-7273 or 800-572-4031

Crisis Line Information

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Posted on January 18, 2018

At DCFOF, our Board of Directors is a very important part of our agency's leadership. With professions spanning from teaching to real estate, our volunteer board members donate their time, talent, and treasure to make our agency as successful as possible. They oversee the agency's development, financial health, and even help with our biggest fundraising events. Meet the amazing leaders of the 2018 DCFOF Board of Directors! 

2018 Board Chair: Celisa Willson 

Classifying Celisa as a “Texas girl” is a bit of an understatement.  In her family, she represents the 6thgeneration to be born and raised right here in Denton County.  As a REALTOR®, being involved in her community is very important, and DCFOF gives her the ability to help with what she considers a necessity: empowering women.  Celisa has been happily married to her husband, Rob, since 1995 and enjoys traveling, networking, re-doing furniture and rooting for her Dallas Cowboys! 

2018 First Vice Chair: Charles Marinello 

Charles became a Friends of the Family board member in 2016 and brings executive general management and strategic focus to the board. He is currently the CEO of Strategic Growth Partners, LLC, and is a retired VP from Texas Instruments and Raytheon. He has a BS, MS, and MBA. 

2018 Second Vice Chair: Susan Stout 

Susan Stout is the Store Director for Tiffany & Co. at the Dallas Galleria.  A Dallas native, she graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Radio/Television & Film, and spent her early career in the hospitality industry with Four Seasons Hotels.  Susan joined the DCFOF Board after working with them for many years as a corporate sponsor. Tiffany & Co. and DCFOF have a very special partnership, and it was through this that Susan learned about the important and meaningful work that DCFOF provides to the community.   Susan has also served as a professional mentor and business internship host with the SMU Alumni Association, ICIMS mentor with the Frisco Independent School District, scholarship reviewer for the Irving Schools Foundation, Board Member with Chamberlain Performing Arts in Plano, member of the Metrocare Auxiliary, event committee chair for both The Taylor Hooton Foundation Gala and the North Texas Energy for Life Walk, and is a current member of the DCFOF Women’s Auxiliary. 

2018 Secretary: Kim Guertler 

Kim has worked for the Denton County Criminal District Attorney’s Office for 20 years.  During her time of working in the Family Violence Unit, she had the opportunity to work closely with Friends of the Family staff and she became passionate about helping victims of domestic violence.  She joined the Board in 2017 and she is excited about having the opportunity to serve DCFOF in this capacity.  Kim is a longtime Denton County resident and a graduate of Texas Woman’s University.  She and her husband, Peter, have two children and they enjoy travelling, riding their Harley-Davidson motorcycle and spending time with their kids.  

2018 Treasurer: Brandon Reed, CPA 

Brandon is a practicing CPA at KHA Accountants, PLLC in Denton with a focus on taxation and business consulting. He and his wife, Alex, enjoy the outdoors and hitting a few balls at the tennis courts whenever they have some free time. He also enjoys spending time with his two nieces and two nephews on the weekends. 

Brandon moved back to the North Texas area from Abilene in 2016 and has been active in the community ever since. He caught wind of the amazing things Denton County Friends of the Family does for the victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and wanted to help in any way he could. He has a passion to help create a safe community and serve those that have been affected by violence. 

2018 Board Development Chair: Gene Cherrnay 

Inspired by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Gene has spent his career in architecture and remodeling. He is proud to serve on the DCFOF board for seven years, as he has seen first-hand how domestic violence wreaks havoc in the lives of the children and adults who have been impacted by it. He is an avid camper and spends his "off" time doing so on the Brazos River and adoring his two grand children (Asher and Ellie Joan), as well as his loveable beagle, Leah Matilda. 

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Posted on January 16, 2018

Get ready for an evening of raised awareness at our Black History Month Kickoff Event!

We are hosting “An Evening of Raised Awareness with Dr. Yamma Brown”, on February 1st , from 7:00pm-8:30pm at the Patterson Appleton Arts Center. Dr. Yamma Brown is an author and daughter of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. The evening will be an observance of Black History Month and will explore the history of domestic violence within the African American community.

Event Name: AN EVENING OF RAISED AWARENESS WITH DR. YAMMA BROWN
Date: Thursday, February 1st 2018
Time: Volunteer Social: 7:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Patterson Appleton Arts Center/GDAC

​Get Tickets

Dr. Brown had this to say about the upcoming awareness event, “It’s important for us to promote healthy relationships in our families and communities.  As a survivor of domestic violence, I am committed to continuing to raise awareness and to combat this global issue.  I am excited to partner with organizations like Denton County Friends of the Family that are committed to support victims and garner the community involvement to eradicate violence in our families.  We must be vigilant in making sure the next generation fosters respect for themselves and others.  We are stronger together.”

This event highlights one of our agency's unintentional best kept secrets- The Our Community Matters program at Denton County Friends of the Family. Statistically, African American women are 35% more likely to experience domestic violence than women of other races. The Our Community Matters program at Friends of the Family focuses on engaging the African American community and bringing increased awareness to the resources available for victims of domestic violence. Cassandra Berry, coordinator of the Our Community Matters program at Friends of the Family, said, “I’m looking forward to kicking off the observance of Black History Month with Dr. Yamma Brown. It’s extremely important for us to acknowledge and celebrate survivors of domestic violence. Dr. Brown is a survivor and her life experiences help keep at the forefront the need to support our agency in providing compassionate and comprehensive services to our clients. As we know the observance of Black History is not specific to only African Americans’ participation, it’s a part of everyone’s history. So we look forward to everyone from all cultures joining us in the celebration and the raising of our awareness.”

Get Tickets

ABOUT DR. YAMMA BROWN

Dr. Yamma Brown is the vice president of the James Brown Foundation and president and founder of Daughter of Soul Productions. She is the youngest daughter of Deidre Jenkins and James Brown. It is her life's mission to right the legacy and maintain the work of her late father. Dr. Yamma Brown is the author of Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me. Being the child of a global superstar is never easy. Being the daughter of the Godfather of Soul- that's a category unto itself. Like every little girl, Yamma Brown wanted her father's attention, but fame, drugs, jail, and the complicated women in James Brown's life set a stage for an uncommon childhood. Cold Sweat is about how Yamma rose to meet every challenge. Dealing with a complex and famous father eventually took a backseat to coping with her own abusive and deceitful marriage. Cold Sweat is about how Yamma got caught in the same trap as her mother, doing things in her adult life that, as a child, she'd promised herself she'd never do. 

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Posted on January 3, 2018

How Can I Be Equipped in 2018? 

equip yourself in 2018- sexual and domestic violence

How you can be prepared, or prevent yourself from being a victim, is a question that is too common and frankly it is a problem. This concept is one that many people have read, been a part of, or are at least familiar with. Maybe you've taken the self defense classes highlighting how "not to be a victim", or ways to protect yourself. Which is great, we're not knocking self defense classes! Let's just think about this for a second- with this type of messaging the responsibility or burden for safety is put on the victim. This mentality is known as victim blaming. We would like to take a moment to clarify that no matter the circumstances the victim is not responsible for the actions of an abuser, and therefore this concept of prevention efforts for victims is misaligned.

Here's why- abuse is a choice. A choice the perpetrator or abuser makes. They make a choice to physically, emotionally, psychologically, or sexually harm the other person. Enabling behavior often echoes stories about how the abuser can't help it or something happened (whatever the story is) and that's why the abuser hurt the victim. At the end of the day abuse is not a cause and effect concept, it is a choice. Ask yourself this- why can someone go to a job they hate with coworkers they cannot stand and a demanding boss, and not harm their co-workers or boss, but then comes home and reacts completely differently around their partner? Because this is a choice they make. They actively choose not to hit their boss in the same way they actively choose to hit their partner.

So domestic violence 101 question of the day- what is the cause of abuse? Choice. Now, there are certainly variables that impact safety concerns or risks and our team of advocates are trained to help navigate these with victims/survivors. But at the end of the day blaming the victim in anyway is part of the problem not part of the solution.

How To Be Equipped

So that brings us to our tips on how YOU can equip yourself in 2018. Like we mentioned above, you can't necessarily equip yourself to not be a victim but you can equip yourself to be an advocate. So here's 2 of the top things you need to know this year in order to be an advocate for victims of sexual and domestic violence right here in Denton County. 

1. Don't Judge Her 

It is not your job to tell her what to do or try to understand the reasoning behind her decisions or actions. First of all, you can't make reason out of something that doesn't really make sense to begin with. To put it simply, someone that she loves is hurting her, that alone does not make sense. We often hear people asking why a woman doesn't just leave an abusive situation. There are many barriers to leaving. You can read a more comprehensive list of barriers to leaving an abusive relationship in this past blog post but for now let's just talk about one: her safety. The most dangerous time for a victim of violence is when she is trying to leave her abuser. The Honoring the Texas Victims report, distributed annually by the Texas Council on Family Violence, is one place we see this safety risk come to life. In 2016, 146 women were killed by their intimate partners. Many of these stories share this in common- "forty percent of women killed in 2016 had made attempts to end their relationships or were in the process of ending the relationship when they were murdered." As you can see there are extreme dynamics and safety risks within an abusive relationship. Keep this in mind and don't judge her when she is brave enough to come forward with her story. 

2. Connect Her With Friends of the Family 

At Friends of the Family our team of experts provide compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with the community to promote safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention. If ANYONE, child or adult, is currently experiencing sexual and domestic violence or has experienced this in the past, we can be a resource! You can provide them with our 24-Crisis Line number, 800-572-4031. They can call this line anonymously and have questions answered or talk through some options with our team of trained crisis line professionals. In addition, someone can call our Outreach Office at 940-387-5131 to schedule an appointment in order to meet with one of our staff members and learn about the services available to them and their family. We are the sole provider of comprehensive services throughout the entire County of Denton. We are the local experts and can help connect your family, friends, neighbors and loved ones to the right resources to help them access safety. 

You may not understand all that goes on behind closed doors, but you can know how to help someone if they are brave enough to come and share those stories of fear, anxiety, and abuse.You are not there to tell them what to do, you are there to empathize and give them resources. Listen, don’t judge and direct them to our agency! This is how you can equip yourself to be an advocate in 2018. 

Our team at Denton County Friends of the Family is here for our community, ready to help victims/survivors access safety and navigate the road to hope. 

Contact Us 

What Services Are Available at Friends of the Family

At Friends of the Family we provide access to comprehensive services. More information about the type of services available can be accessed through our website under our Get Help section or by calling our Outreach Office at 940-387-5131. Services available include: 

  • Safety Planning 
  • Individual and Group Counseling 
  • Play Therapy for Children 
  • Activity Therapy for Adolescents
  • Emergency Shelter 
  • Legal Services
  • Advocacy 
  • Access to Crimes Victim Compensation 
  • Help Navigating the Legal System 
  • Food Pantry 
  • Education Programs
  • And more, based upon the needs of the client... 

Thank you for investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention for victims of sexual and domestic violence. 

Contact Us

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Posted on December 13, 2017

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The first year of The Holiday Express, one of Denton County Friends of the Family's signature events, was a resounding success! Over 350 people from all over Denton County flocked to the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center in Denton on the bright morning of December 2nd, with the event raising over $20,000

Families came in to the "North Pole" in their Christmas morning best (pajamas, character costumes, holiday sweaters and more!) and were transported to a winter wonderland. Santa and Mrs. Claus merrily took photos with families; brunch tables piled high with everything from pancakes and mimosas, to a DIY hot cocoa bar; a Christmas cookie decorating station; and fun kid-friendly activities like making reindeer hats and marshmallow catapults! Mom and Dad had some cheer waiting for them as well with an elaborately decorated silent auction. We are so grateful to all of the local businesses that came together to make the North Pole a ton of holiday fun: Eric Gilmore with DFW Photography, Wildhorse Grill, Hypnotic Donuts, Cartwrights Ranch House, Fossil Creek Liquor, Café Brazil, Starbucks, Emler Swim School, Exploreum Denton, and SCRAP Denton!  

After an exploration of the North Pole, families ventured over to the Holiday Express (AKA the A-Train). In partnership with DCTA, Friends of the Family decked out half a train car with holiday tinsel and stockings! Families jumped on board and were magically entertained by performers in association with Musical Theatre Denton. The ride was an interactive performance full of carols and holiday fun. When they all jumped off at the "Elf's Playland", they were greeted with a bounce house, playground, and more activities! 

We were very blessed to have State Senator Jane Nelson as our top "Rudolph Sponsor" of the Holiday Express! She had this to say: "When victims of domestic and sexual abuse have the assistance they need to heal, they go on to lead happy, healthy lives. I'm proud to support an organization that invests in victims’ healing by providing shelter, advocacy, counseling and intervention services for Denton County families. This safe, fun holiday fundraiser will become an annual tradition for my family." 

We would like to give a big jolly thanks our top sponsors of The Holiday Express: Senator Jane Nelson, Denton County Transit Authority, Blue Steele Solutions, Bali Mendels with Supreme Lending, Mrs. Sheila Haley, Market Street, Wallace Accounting and Advising, and Sean Kilgore, Attorney at Law and candidate for Judge in Denton County Criminal Court #2. 

VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

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Posted on November 25, 2017

You've probably heard all about the Holiday Express train ride by now, but have you heard about all the excitement waiting at the North Pole?? Get ready for crafts, snacks, and Santa! 

Santa is coming to town on December 2nd! Bring your kiddos to the North Pole to get their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. BUT that's not the only photo you will take home that day. There will also be a photo booth full of fun and exciting props for you to make goofy poses with. Who knows, you may even want to take your pictures with your new reindeer hat on- which you will make in one of the North Pole activities! 

Grab some brunch with delicious breakfast food from Wildhorse Grill, Cartwright's Ranch House, and Hypnotic Donuts, and pair it with your DIY hot cocoa bar! Marshmallows, peppermint, chocolate- you choose and dress up your cocoa. While you take a seat and enjoy your breakfast of champions you will be entertained by live performers! Their holiday themed tunes performed on the stage at the North Pole will keep you in the holiday spirit all day long. 

But don't sit too long- you've got lots of activities to do at the North Pole! Take a walk outside to pet a "Reindeer", decorate your own Christmas cookies, create a holiday card, make a Santa beard to take a picture in at the photo booth, and even get your nose painted like Rudolph! Once you've made all of your crafts you will be set to kick off the holiday season! 

Mom and Dad- don't think we've forgotten you. Grab a mimosa on your way in to get your day started and spend your time perusing the silent auction! Items are family friendly and holiday themed, ranging from fun activities you can all do together, to holiday décor, to the perfect stocking stuffer for your kiddo. The North Pole will be buzzing with excitement, we hope to see you there! 

Tickets are live for the North Pole, and are only $15- get yours now!

GET TICKETS

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Posted on November 8, 2017

Introducing our brand new Director of Residential and Crisis Services, Taylor Cameron! 

Taylor graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Developmental and Family Studies from the University of North Texas and a Master of Science in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University. She has worked in crisis intervention for the past 4 years, and is passionate about supporting individuals and families on their path towards healing. Prior to moving into leadership at Denton County Friends of the Family, she has worked within our agency as a counselor in the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program as well as the Children’s Advocate and Counselor for the Emergency Shelter. Now as the Director of Residential and Crisis Services, she oversees the operation of our Emergency Shelter, which includes advocacy services, children’s program, 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling services, and the management of the facility.  
 

An aspect of shelter that Taylor is proud of are the partnerships within the community that truly benefit DCFOF clients. Latterhouse Decor is currently working to redecorate our shelter, and create a beautiful living space for our residents. Another wonderful partnership that has recently developed has been with a local realtor and landlord, Tim Anderson, who is working to get our clients into safe and affordable housing.  

 

Taylor is excited to lead a team of staff members who are dedicated to holistically meeting residents' needs and creating an environment that is welcoming, safe, and full of hope for those seeking shelter. She is passionate about the shelter program working towards the agency’s mission to provide compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with our community to promote safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention. 

  

Shelter Needs 

If you are interested in supporting our shelter, please consider donating needed client items. Immediate needs include: 

  • Professional and casual women's clothes 

  • Women's underwear 

  • Children’s leggings (size 6 and 7) 

  • Razors 

  • Deodorant 

  • Brushes 

  • Body wash 

  • Shampoo 

  • Conditioner 

  • African American haircare products 

  • Contact solution 

  • Toothpaste 

  • Adult and child closed toed shoes 

Learn more about shelter

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Posted on November 1, 2017

It's Turkey Time!

It's almost time for turkey, stuffing, football and family so you know what that means- Thanksgiving!  

Denton County Friends of the Family has been working hard to provide Thanksgiving meals for over 600 clients who have been impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault, but we know that we can't do it without the incredible support of our community members. 

 "Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year for many people and we want to ensure that also stands true for our over 600 women and children who are counting on this drive", says Desiree Melkovitz, Community Relations Coordinator. "Supporting our clients during Thanksgiving is about more than food- it is providing that wonderful memory for their families. It is giving the moms and kiddos we serve, who have already been through so much, with the chance to relax and appreciate each other without having to worry about where they will get the supplies." 

"I have been overwhelmed at the compassion our community has shown in working towards this goal. Whether it is High School Honor Societies, Churches, Offices, Daycare Centers, or individuals who have donated they have all done it with the continuing refrain of, 'I love Thanksgiving and I'm glad that someone else will be able to experience it too!'" says Desiree.

But, don't worry because the work is never done! We are deep in the drive and as such, we have identified some of our greatest needs!

We are desperately needing the following:

  • $10 gift cards- we want our clients to be able to choose the protein of their choice for their holiday meal

For a full list of food items that are needed and to commit to supporting our drive register below: 

Register to Give 

If you have any questions, please reach out to our Community Resource Coordinator, Desiree Melkovitz, at DMelkovitz@dcfof.org

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Posted on October 26, 2017

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is coming to a close. Bev Gooden said, “I believe in the power of community. I believe there is strength within us as a collective.” Denton County Friends of the Family started as a domestic violence shelter in 1980. Domestic violence is the unfortunate reason for our agency’s existence, so bringing awareness to what we do and shining the light onto the darkness of this issue makes October that much more important for our community. Denton County is not exempt from the impact of such a prevalent crime. In fact, just released this week in the Texas Council on Family Violence’s “Honoring Texas Victims” report, there were three women killed in Denton County by their intimate partners last year. There were six in Collin County, thirteen in Tarrant County, and thirteen in Dallas County. Many people view domestic violence as a secretive issue, one that is personal, therefore not anyone’s concern but the person experiencing it. It is beliefs like these that make community involvement in Domestic Violence Awareness Month events even more important, necessary, and valuable. The purpose of the awareness events should always remain centered around three main goals – to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, to celebrate those who have survived, and lastly to connect those who work to end violence.  

Denton County Friends of the Family hosted a Kick Off Event on October 6th on the Courthouse on the Lawn in Denton, which included a candlelight vigil to remember the Texas women killed at the hands of an intimate partner the previous year – 146 in 2016 – 35% wives of the men who murdered them, 32% were girlfriends murdered by their boyfriend, 18% were ex-girlfriends of their murderers, 12% were wives separated from the abuser who then murdered them, and 3% were ex-wives of the man who killed them. The Kick Off Event also included The Clothesline Project; According to their website, The Clothesline Project originated in Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1990 when members of Cape Cod's Women's Defense Agenda learned that during the same time 58,000 soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War, 51,000 U.S. women were killed by the men who claimed to love them. The Clothesline is made up of t-shirts created by survivors of violence, or created in honor of someone who has experienced violence. It is a powerful witness of the violence many in which many live. The Clothesline Project provides evidence that incest, domestic violence, and sexual violence exists in our communities. It is a visual reminder of statistics that we often ignore. It gives a voice to those who have been forcibly silenced. Hopefully, it stirs us to action. A public must be informed about violence in order to act to prevent it. Most importantly, this project provides survivors with a venue to courageously break the silence and make us aware. This Clothesline Project is a tribute to them.

The agency also had its annual Rock N Stroll awareness concert at Denton’s Harvest House, which partners with local bands to raise awareness about domestic violence and notify people of Denton County Friends of the Family’s services in the community. Rock N Stroll has grown over the years through relationships with the amazing folks at Musicians Hub who connected us to the bands Remain and Puddin Taine (which this year linked us to In Spite of Madness). These bands believe in the mission of DCFOF and are not afraid to say so publicly. They kindly and generously donate their time and talent in order to make this issue more salient in the eyes of Denton County residents.

There were also many amazing groups and churches that hosted us and partnered with us this month to bring awareness to their specific communities – St. James AME Church, University of North Texas’ Football Team, Newton Rayzor Elementary School, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, SAFRAN, Morse Street Baptist Church, Flower Mound High School, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Town of Lakewood Village, North Central Texas College Corinth Campus, Little Elm Zellars Alternative School, McNair Elementary School, St. Andrew’s Church of God in Christ, Flower Mound Elementary School, Denton Feminist and Queer Collective, Flower Mound Police Department, Aubrey Police Department Block Party, Legacy Salon in Keller, Good Samaritan Society – Lake Forest Village, Antioch Christian Fellowship Church, The Village Church, and Lamda Theta Chi of UNT.

Domestic violence is never just about those experiencing it or witnessing it. It is about all of us. It takes all of us to make a difference. This is a community issue. We must stand together in solidarity for those being hurt to show that we will not accept or tolerate violence in this community.

Guest Author:

Hillarye Hightower

Director of Prevention, Community Education, and Awareness Program

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Posted on October 19, 2017

We are very excited to introduce our new Executive Program Director, Dr. Nicole Roberts!  

Dr. Roberts is licensed psychologist with a PhD in Counseling Psychology from New Mexico State, with a passion for the work that we do at Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF). We wanted to give you a little more insight into Dr. Roberts and the work she's doing here at DCFOF. So, here’s what Dr. Roberts had to say:   

"My FIRST job out of grad school was Director of Adult Counseling at DCFOF in 2003. I left about 3 years later to be Clinical Director at a community counseling center. I came back to DCFOF as Executive Program Director in 2007 until I had my twin boys. In the interim, I have worked at Hope’s Door, private practice, and at a behavioral hospital. I’m so happy to be back (again!). Most days it feels like I never left!" 

As the Executive Program Director Dr. Roberts supervises 30 staff in 5 program areas -  Adult & Child/Adolescent Counseling, Advocacy, Transitional Housing, and Shelter. She has already made an impact creating increased efficiency in numerous program areas.  Her credentials and experience are impressive, but it is her passion to help victims in our community that continues to fuel her career in this field. Her vision for the future of the programs she supervises is for them to be "responsive to the needs of our clients and to be an outstanding community partner in the fight for safety and healing from domestic violence and sexual assault." 

"In all walks of life, people are affected by domestic violence and sexual assault, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not", she says. "The impact we can make - awareness, advocacy, intervention - creates a better world for all of us. The ability to affect so many lives in a positive way each day is what continues to draw me back to this work." 

Dr. Roberts was our guest on the last Talks with Toni! Check it out-

Learn more about our programs here

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Posted on October 12, 2017

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Thank you for supporting Taste for a Cause! We had an awesome evening of tastings, auctions and fundraising. Over 350 people from across Denton County came out to Witherspoon Distillery on September 23rd to attend the SOLD OUT event of the season that raised over $75,000

VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

Live music from Bonnie and Nick Norris complimented the casual vibe of the event. In the rustic venue, guests casually perused silent auction items and bid on items straight from their phones. Everyone snacked on creative cuisine from Boca 31, Rachel's Riding Lawn Mower, Hannah's, Fresco's, Roma's Italian, and Prohibition Chicken while listening to music and tasting delicious mixed drinks made with whiskey and vodka distilled by Witherspoon. The best drink of all was the Impact Maker! Made by Witherspoon specifically for Taste for a Cause, the impact maker had hints of blueberry, lemonade, and hibiscus. 

VIP guests had exclusive access to the barrel room, where they had an open bar and poker tables!  

Connected to the barrel room was the distillery room, where all guests could get a fun tour with information about how the whiskey is distilled. Lining the walls of this room were silent witnesses with stories of victims of domestic violence in Texas who have been murdered by their partners. They stood as a powerful reminder of the importance of the work that we do at Friends of the Family. 

The program featured an inspiring video of our clients with how Denton County Friends of the Family impacted their life. We are so grateful for the support the community provided at this year's event and inspired by the courageous women who shared their story. 

 We were able to raise $75,000 to support victims of sexual and domestic violence right here in our community. Thank you for investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention for victims of sexual and domestic violence.  

VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

VISIT OUR WEBSITE

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Posted on October 6, 2017

"Our client will be moving into her own apartment this month."

These are some of the happiest words for us to read here at Denton County Friends of the Family. Often times our clients climb extremely long uphill battles to arrive to the point where they have a safe home to call their own, and it is most certainly a moment of celebration when they do.

Sarah (client's name has been changed for confidentiality) came to our agency following the arrest of her ever increasingly abusive husband and was left with the challenges of healing from her trauma. Sarah was left with the consequences of the night her abuser came home and made the decision to physically abuse Sarah and their children.

Knowing that her abuser had made the decision and choice to abuse their children Sarah knew that she needed to act quickly to ensure that her children grew up in a home where they were safe.

Unsure of what to do next Sarah came to Denton County Friends of the Family where she was able to get access to our emergency shelter and began to have our team of experts help her navigate her court case, CPS, job searches and an array of other challenges and barriers.

Sarah has shown determination and grit working two jobs, completing her GED courses and successfully securing her own home.

As we all know, it's incredibly hard to furnish a home from scratch and Sarah needs the help of our community partners! If you could donate any of the following items please reach out to our Community Resource Coordinator, Desiree Melkovitz at DMelkovitz@dcfof.org

Items Sarah Needs:

Queen size mattress, box spring and frame
Toddler bed and mattress
2 Cribs and mattresses
2 twin sized box springs and frames
Stroller
Living Room Couch
Washer and Dryer set
Kitchen Table and Chairs
TV
Sheets and blankets for all beds
Toys and books for the children

Thank you for helping Sarah and the many women who share Sarah's story. You are investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention.

I Can Help!

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Posted on October 4, 2017

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month! This month is all about education and spreading awareness of the impact of domestic violence in our community. To kick it if off we want our Prevention, Community Education, and Awareness Program to tell you a little bit about their department, and how education is paving the way for prevention of domestic violence.

Our Prevention, Community Education, and Awareness Program counters domestic violence and sexual assault through educational and professional programs starting in pre-K. By teaching things like respect for boundaries, effective communication, how to recognize unhealthy behaviors, and recognizing and understanding what to do when someone does something unsafe or unhealthy, we work to prevent future violence. 

Despite our best efforts, we know that abuse is still happening in our community, and there is still a lot of work to be done. We host awareness events throughout the year, but our main focuses are Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) and Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April). Not only do we raise awareness of just how common these issues are, but we educate the community on what to do, if they or someone they know is confronted with domestic violence and sexual assault.  By educating the community, we're encouraging individuals to not turn away from the signs of abuse they may see in a friend or family member and instead encourage that person to get help and reach out. We also address common myths about domestic violence and sexual assault making it safer for those who have been affected to come forward and seek help.  

Without an understanding of the dynamics of abuse, it's often difficult for well-meaning professionals such as law enforcement and CPS to take the right course of action to help someone. For example, they may mistakenly assume that the victim is actually the perpetrator of abuse due to manipulations by the abuser. Perpetrators of intimate partner violence and sexual assault often have multiple victims in their lifetime. If someone recognizes the abuse and stops them, the perpetrators can be sent to a BIPP program where they'll learn healthy coping mechanisms. We rely on professionals such as law enforcement to recognize the signs of abuse and refer the victim and perpetrator to the appropriate services, but doing so requires an understanding of the dynamics of abuse. 

While activists in the field of sexual assault and intimate partner violence have been advocating and educating for centuries, prevention education like our program is relatively new. Take Back the Night, a yearly march to raise awareness of sexual assault, began in the sixties and still continues today. In 1981, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Week was celebrated. In the nineties, a push for prevention education in schools began, but in many places such education remains optional. Last year, we presented over 900 presentations to over 25,000 people, and have even bigger plans for the future. Our team is expanding and with legislation like Texas HB 1342, which would make sexual assault prevention education mandatory starting in kindergarten, and the growing awareness of the importance of prevention education we hope to continue to present in more schools and bring awareness to the entire community. 

Guest Author: Nicole Owens, Community Educator 

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Posted on September 15, 2017

Don't miss out on the fun- join us at Taste for a Cause! 

Get Tickets

So you've heard a lot about Taste for a Cause so far- how we will have an auction and a distillery tour. But what are the REAL details of the event? Check out what is going to make Taste for a Cause an experience to remember! 

BONNIE AND NICK NORRIS 

Like fun fiddle music? While you sip your hand crafted cocktails Bonnie and Nick Norris will serenade you with upbeat and energetic music. They have quite a following- you get to see why! 

CREATIVE CUISINE 

Get a taste of Denton County with the elaborate spread at Taste for a Cause! We partnered with some of your favorites.. 

  • Boca 31- Tasty ceviche shooters and a taco station 

  • Hannah's on the Square- A gourmet spread of eclectic bites 

  • Fresco's-  Crispy brisket taquitos and chicken flautas with guacamole ranch 

  • Rachel's Riding Lawn Mower- Gourmet french fries with a ketchup flight! 

  • Prohibition Chicken- Chicken oysters (basically fancy chicken nuggets)  

And more...  

These fun bites pair perfectly with Witherspoon Distillery hand crafted cocktails! 

EXPERIENCES 

Ever been to an auction where the most "exciting" thing they had was a gift card to a restaurant? Not here! Our silent and live auction items are packaged to be full experiences for you to share with your friends and family. Here is a sneak peak.. 

  • A Slice of Paradise- Take in a full week of sunshine at a luxury Mexican resort! Swim up bars, massages sent straight to your room, crystal clear waters and beautiful golf courses- priceless. 

  • Fun Flight- Hop on a Delta Charlies flight with your favorite person for a private flight tour over Dallas paired with a three course meal! 

  • Sips- Wine and dine with your whole group of friends (up to 20 people!) with tasty bites to pair with your drinks 

And that's just the preview!  

Don't miss out on the fun- join us at Taste for a Cause! 

Get Tickets

WHAT YOU'RE SUPPORTING 

Of course, Taste for a Cause will be a fun-filled event but even more it's an opportunity to show your support for women and children who are victims of sexual and domestic violence right here in our community. Your support ensures we can continue providing comprehensive services like emergency shelter, counseling, play therapy, legal advocacy and the ability to connect victims with resources.  Thank you for investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention! 

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS & SUPPORTERS!  

Dennis and Daniel Bloom

The Wright Firm

Teri Watkins

Your Home Free

Wheelhouse Realty

Doug and Bonnie Robison

Regions Bank

Navarrette Bowen Family Law

Full List of Sponsors

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Posted on September 6, 2017
No matter how many statistics you memorize, imagining what actually goes on in a day in the life of a victim of domestic violence is a whole other ball game. Understanding, objectively, the effects of trauma and violence is the first step to creating a better world in which to live, but the reality of life after abuse is something completely different. Survivors know this. As many times as they may try, it can be so hard to open up to their support system(s) about the daily struggles they deal with – because they know that as much as someone may want to, how could anyone else possibly understand? 
 
 
Our theme for North Texas Giving Day is #ADayInTheLife to highlight some of those daily struggles and enable our community to better empathize with survivors of violence. While you read this blog I want to ask this of you: take off the lens through which you see the world and try to put yourself in this woman's shoes. 
 
A Day in the Life of Samantha  
30 years old, recently-divorced survivor of domestic violence 
 
Tuesday 
 
7:00 AM: You hear the alarm clock go off and sleepily hit snooze. Getting up is difficult in the mornings because you rarely sleep well. Most nights you have at least one nightmare reliving past experiences of abuse. Some nights you wake up with a jolt of anxiety after them and are unable to go back to sleep.  
 
 
8:00 AM: You pour yourself coffee while you cook your son's breakfast. He is 7 years old and has been having a hard time with the divorce. In an effort to protect him, you did everything you could to hide the abuse from him while it was happening and booked a million play dates to get him out of the house. His sweet friends' parents – he spent more nights at their houses this summer than he did at yours! But that was intentional. As a result, he does not know a lot about the abuse and does not understand why the family is not together anymore. He has become sullen and withdrawn, and you are worried about what to do. 
 
 
10:00 AM: You have dropped your son off at school and have spent the last hour at work. You hate your job, but you know that you are lucky to have it. Your ex-husband had not allowed you to work in years, so that he could keep you financially dependent upon him, so your résumé was far from impressive. The only job that you could get on short notice with little experience was at a call center, so you have the fun job of working in customer service (lucky you!).  
 
 
11:00 AM: On days like today your job is hard. REALLY HARD. You know that you perform much better at this job when you are happy and upbeat on the phone, but it is almost impossible when your depression is kicking in. Your brain feels foggy and sluggish and all you can think is – I hate this job, what was I thinking trying to go out on my own? Will I ever find someone who loves me again? Is this life any better than the one I was living before? You try to ignore these negative thoughts and get through the day, but every second there is another self-doubt on your mind and it weighs you down like an anchor. Your coworker notices and asks you what is wrong. You say you're just tired and that you will do better tomorrow. What else could you say? 
 
 
12:30 PM: It's lunch time and you make your way out of the office. You get in your car and pull out your phone to check your bank account balance. $50. Yikes. You have worked with someone to help you budget your money and spend it wisely, but with your lack of job experience there is just not a lot that you can be making. Paying rent and putting food on the table for yourself and your son takes a large toll. Looks like another day of cheap fast food. People keep telling you to eat better and take good care of yourself, that it will make you feel better. You know that they're right, but on your budget what choice do you have? 
 
 
3:30 PM: You take a quick break from work and check Facebook. On your News Feed are status updates from people you haven't spoken to in years. Your ex-husband pretty quickly cut you off from your friends and family after the wedding. You have spent years feeling isolated and dependent, without having anyone you truly call a friend. If you ever dared to reach out to someone and get connected again, you knew there would be retribution waiting at home, so you didn't. You scroll down and come across the update from your former best friend – she just got engaged! You want to post some congratulations and yearn to reach out but are too embarrassed to know where to start. How could you explain to her why you cut her off before; would she even want to be your friend again? 
 
 
5:00 PM: FINALLY! You bolt out of the office and make your way to your son's school. You are starting to feel a little better that you got through the day and look forward to spending some time with your son. When you walk in the classroom to pick him up his teacher stops you and asks for a few minutes of your time. For the next 10 minutes, she tells you about some behavioral problems your son has been exhibiting. She is concerned that he may be depressed and asks if everything is okay at home. You tell her about the divorce but leave out the abuse. Teachers are mandatory reporters, right? If there is any sign of abuse anywhere near a child, aren’t they required by law to report it to CPS? You're not sure exactly of the rules, but you know that there is no way you will ever put yourself in a position to lose custody. Your son is all that you have and vice versa; no one is taking him away because of the choices that your ex-husband made. Whatever needs to be done to help him, you feel like you have to do it alone. 
 
 
6:00 PM: You are home and cooking dinner. You try not to let yourself go there, but your mind keeps wandering back to what the teacher was telling you. Is my son depressed? Is he angry with me for leaving his father? He must be so confused. And then the worst thought – is this my fault? Did I do this to him and cause him this pain? Did I make the wrong choice? 
 
 
Survivors of domestic violence are at high risk for depression and anxiety, which makes all these little bumps feel drastically harder with which to deal. This is why Friends of the Family is here! We are here to walk a client and their son through counseling and play therapy and start working through some of that depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We are here to provide food from our pantry so that they can eat healthy foods and take care of themselves. Our advocates are here to walk through CPS reporting and begin connecting them with opportunities to provide for themselves and their children. No one deserves to be abused, and for anyone who has or is experiencing these things – it is NOT your fault! 
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Posted on August 30, 2017

It is our pleasure to introduce the newest member of our Prevention, Community Education, and Awareness Department - Cassandra Berry!

Cassandra is the Our Community Matters Program Coordinator.  The Our Community Matters Program (OCMP) is focused on providing community education and awareness information/events to the often underserved population of African-American victims and survivors of family violence, domestic violence, or dating violence and their children in the Denton County community.  

Each ethnicity or race has its own unique personality and inclination (or not) towards the therapeutic and healing process.  As service providers, it is our job to recognize these sensitivities as well as any barriers we contribute that might hinder a successful outcome. The OCMP is designed to help discuss these sensitivities and barriers in a genuine and validating way; this program hopes to shine light onto statistics and conversations that are often not discussed. This program can’t thrive without community partnerships and stakeholders such as churches, businesses, schools, etc.  

Cassandra would love to tell you more about Denton County Friends of the Family and the Our Community Matters Program. If you would be interested in scheduling a time to meet in person about the overall purpose of this program or any additional services we provide, or if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, she’d be happy to answer them. 

Cassandra can be contacted at CBerry@dcfof.org or 940-387-5131 x241. 

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Posted on August 17, 2017

(Denton Bridge Studio members with Lin Jones holding the check)

Denton, TX- Denton Bridge Studio Club is a local organization whose "goal is to enjoy and promote the game of duplicate bridge. Bridge combines socializing with competition, luck with skill, and individual flair with partnership cooperation." In addition to having a fantastic time playing what they will tell you is "beyond doubt the best game in the world" the Denton Bridge Studio gives back to the community through charity games. This year Denton County Friends of the Family is honored to be the recipient of those funds!

Lin Jones, Facility Manager of the Bridge Club and all around great person, was the one who really went above and beyond to secure the winning prize of $500 for Denton County Friends of the Family. Lin is a retired police officer, and spent her career witnessing and fighting against violent criminals. After seeing the crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault repeat themselves over and over again, she understands the critical importance of the work DCFOF does for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

"We wanted to choose the charity that did the most good and benefitted the local community", says Lin. "[Denton County has been growing exponentially in the last decade], and we know that the more people that need help the more resources you need, and cops need all the help they can get to make our community safer".

For more about Friends of the Family visit: www.dcfof.org

For more about the Denton Bridge Studio visit: http://www.dentonbridgestudio.com/

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Posted on August 10, 2017

When you shop at the DCFOF Thrift Store you are directly contributing to the lifesaving services provided to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. All proceeds of the store go right back into services for our clients, and directly impacts our ability to help more women and children. Your purchase helps us continue to provide emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, play therapy, sexual assault advocacy, a career resource center, food pantry, and 24 hour crisis line. 

In addition to being a source of income for our agency, the DCFOF Thrift Store is a great resource for our clients. 99% of domestic violence victims have been financially abused, meaning that they do not have access to financial resources. Their abuser may not have allowed them to work, not allowed them access to a bank account, or ruined their credit intentionally to make them dependent on the abuser. After being financially abused the road to self sufficiency can be long and difficult. Buying themselves and their children clothes many times is the last thing on their list of expenses. 

This is where the thrift store comes in! When we have clients that need new clothing or household items we are able to give them gift cards to the DCFOF Thrift Store. After a time of not having the ability to shop for themselves and their children, being able to walk up to that check out counter and buy themselves something new can be so empowering! 

Our thrift store manager, Eva, will be publishing a quarterly Trend Alert blog to keep you up to date on what’s new at the thrift store! Check out the first one- 

  

Trend Alert: Pantsuits and spaghetti straps are back! 

 Pantsuits and spaghetti straps: With several weeks of summer left it’s not too late to get into this hot summer trend and pull off this haute look. You don’t have to go out and spend hundreds for a terrific 70’s inspired style that is so comfortable. No need to pay $75-$100 at designer stores when I found this great look at Denton County Friends of The Family Thrift Store for $6.00.  

Besides my obsession with the pantsuit, summer spaghetti shoulder dresses have me going bananas. Pair either of these styles with a wedge sandal and large hoop ear rings.                    

Come by and shop our great looks or donate your gently used items. Our staff is here to help you Monday- Saturday 10-6 at 1614 W. University, Denton, TX. 76201. Your donations provide valuable services to Women, Children and Men in our community. Please call us at 940-387-1750 if you need to schedule a furniture pick up.  

Learn More

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Posted on August 2, 2017

Denton County Friends of the Family is excited to be participating in North Texas Giving Day! According to the Communities Foundation of Texas, "North Texas Giving Day is Communities Foundation of Texas' annual 18-hour online giving extravaganza for North Texas nonprofits that is powered by creative nonprofits, social media activism, [and] area wide collaboration. North Texas Giving Day's goal is to help build awareness and support for nonprofits in the North Texas region." 

This day is extra special because YOUR DOLLAR GOES FURTHER! When you give on North Texas Giving Day, those funds are bonused by the Communities Foundation of Texas- so Friends of the Family will get even more support for our lifesaving programs. 

Check out all the fun our community had last year! 

DCFOF is celebrating this campaign with the theme "A Day in the Life". From now until the event on September 14th, we will be posting about various barriers that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault face every day. Thriving after suffering abuse is not an easy feat, and every day can be a new challenge. But that's why we're here- and why we are so proud of the services that we provide! 

SAVE THE DATE 

September 14th, 6:00am-midnight 

(Giving Available September 7th-14th, and will be processed on the 14th) 

Sign up for our newsletter and like the Facebook page to stay up to date on the campaign! 

Newsletter

Facebook

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Posted on July 26, 2017

Our Advocacy Team

At Denton County Friends of the Family the work our legal advocates do ensures clients facing the risk of harm have access to safety, hope, and justice. Our expert advocates provide support, access to resources, court accompaniment and overall help clients navigate the legal system. Last month alone we provided 478 legal services to victims of violence right here in Denton County. All of these services are provided at no cost to the victims.

Let's dive in a little more about talk about the type of legal services we provide.

At Friends of the Family we have a team of legal advocates and an on staff attorney. Let's talk about the difference between the two.  A legal advocate screens clients and then will refer them to legal services. They work to consult with clients and help them access the legal system. An advocate does not give legal advice but will refer them to our staff attorney or other legal resources based upon their individual needs. Our advocates will also discuss safety planning, shelter options, counseling opportunities, and all the available resources to each victim/survivor during the initial appointment.  

So, why is this important? 

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence report - Honoring Texas Victims, in 2015 there were 158 women killed by an intimate partner, 37% of which had taken steps to end the relationship. Young women between the ages of 20-39 made up more than half of those victims. We know that oftentimes the most dangerous time for a victim is when she is trying to leave her abuser. TCFV explains that "leaving does not equal safety & safety is much more than leaving." That's where our advocates come in! Ensuring that a legal safety plan is in place for a victim of violence is just one of the many ways our advocates work with clients. 

The legal advocacy team at Denton County Friends of the Family works to help clients navigate the complicated laws around family violence and connect them to the proper resources. Think about this-  it's not like a Law & Order episode where everything can be solved in an hour. Understanding the legal system is much more complex. Knowing what is available, what paperwork needs to be completed, who you need to talk to, where you can get help, all while balancing the trauma occuring in your family...it can be confusing and overwhelming. Our advocates help clients with all of these things and more based upon their individual family needs.  

Friends of the Family legal advocates work closely with the District Attorney's Office and our licensed staff attorney Donna Bloom. Ms. Bloom consults on legal questions, provides training on relevant legal issues, and collaborates with legal service providers to help increase the availability of resources for our clients. Based upon information gathered during the initial appointment our advocates will refer clients to best resource whether it's our staff attorney or outside attorneys or organizations.

We want to give a huge thank you and shout out to some of the organizations who help our clients access legal resources:  

Legal Aid of Norwest Texas  

Texas Rio Grand Legal Aid  

Texas Advocacy Project 

Texas Legal Services Center  

Catholic Charities   

Legal advocacy is an incredibly important part of a victim's safety planning. Leaving an abusive relationship is very dangerous, which is why it is so important to speak to an advocate beforehand so that there is a safety plan in place. If anyone discloses to you that they are in an abusive relationship encourage them to call our 24 hour crisis line to learn more, 800-572-4031.  

How Can You Help? You can support our advocacy work by making a donation today.  

Donate 

Want to learn more about legal advocacy, check out TCFV's resources here

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Posted on July 18, 2017

Back to School Drive 

A Note from Our Executive Director 

The new school year is often a very exciting time for children. They have the anticipation of selecting new backpacks, school supplies and cute outfits for the first day. While the children are filled with excitement and anticipation moms on limited income feel stressed and anxious. Often times, mom are stretched with paying all of the “regular” expenses, such as housing, utilities, gas, and food. While many attempt to save a few dollars back prior to school starting the rising costs of schools supplies is a daunting challenge- especially for those with multiple school age children. As a parent, we certainly do not  want to send our children to school with inferior items.  At DCFOF we recognize so many of our clients are not only struggling with the emotional scars of the trauma of the abuse, but also diminished resources. Our back to school drive helps to alleviate that burden. For nearly two decades, DCFOF has been grateful to have the support of our community to help us to meet yet another critical need for the children receiving services in our program.

Our Why

Getting ready for the school year can be an exciting time in a child's life. As much as we didn't look forward to homework again, it was often fun to go to the store with our parents and pick out the coolest new backpack and journals. Even more exciting was getting to pick out brand new clothes!  

Purchasing back to school supplies and clothing is a luxury that many of our clients do not have. For those who have been financially abused (99% of domestic violence victims are financially abused), income is limited and every penny is stretched as far as possible. We want to make sure our kids start the school year off strong and don’t have any distractions like worrying about having the right tools. In an effort to support our clients and their kiddos, DCFOF created the Back to School Drive. 

The Back to School Drive has been a effort coordinated by our agency for over 12 years. Desiree Melkovitz, our Community Resource Coordinator, is heading up this year's Back to School Drive. When talking about the Back to School drive with community members Desiree explains that "this is something that helps alleviate stress on our clients as they get their kids back to school. It's expensive and it's hectic and if we can help in a small way to empower our moms then I've done my job." 

We have supporters across Denton County pitching in by bringing as many school supplies as they can for our kids. From backpacks, to pencil cases, to calculators, any amount of support is appreciated. The smiles on the faces of the children when they get their very own brand new backpack full of supplies is priceless! 

More Info

Back to School Drive Details: 

We are working to put together 400 backpacks full of school supplies for kids of all ages. Please reference the flyer above for our most needed items.  

Donations Due: August 4th 

Volunteer Opportunity: We will be packing backpacks the week of August 4th-8th . Interested in volunteering?  
Go to the volunteer portal to sign up OR Contact Desiree at DMelkovitz@dcfof.org  

We will be giving the backpacks out to the kids the week of August 14th. Make sure your contributions get to our office before then! 

Want to give financial support for this drive?

Donate for Back To School 

Questions About The Drive? Contact Desiree at DMelkovitz@dcfof.org 

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Posted on July 12, 2017

"For the creative shopper who treasure hunts with a purpose" 

1614 W. University Denton, TX, 76201

Denton County Friends of the Family is best known for our emergency shelter and outreach services, but did you know that we have a thrift store? Located on 1614 W. University in Denton, the DCFOF Thrift Store is a great resource for both our clients and the community. Our clients many times will not have access to financial resources, and buying themselves and their kids new clothes is the last thing on their mind.  

Any time our clients are in that position, DCFOF will give them gift cards to our thrift store! Clients can comb through the aisles and make purchases without having to disclose themselves as a client in front of the employees and other shoppers. Not only is this an ease for their purse strings, but retail therapy can be very empowering! 

Our thrift store is open to the community, and is a very important fundraising piece for our agency. The net profits from the store all go right back into the programs that we offer victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at DCFOF. So when you buy anything from a blouse to a couch from our store, you are contributing to programs such as emergency shelter, counseling, play therapy, legal advocacy, sexual assault advocacy, 24 hour crisis line, community education, food pantry, and career resource center. 

To stay up to date on DCFOF Thrift Store happenings, join our Facebook page! 

DCFOF Thrift Store Facebook Page

Agency Facebook Page 

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Posted on July 5, 2017

Friends of the Family is excited to welcome a new member to our leadership team, David Almager! David is now the Director of Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP), bringing with him years of expertise and passion for this work. 

David is a veteran in the field of family violence having served as a counselor and program director in three separate state funded Domestic Violence programs. David has worked with both incarcerated and court ordered family violence offenders for over 16 years and was instrumental in the development of the Dallas County Felony Domestic Violence Court Program, specializing in the treatment of high-risk batterers. He has presented at state and local conferences in the area of battering intervention and prevention, high-risk offender treatment, group facilitation, and cultural competency. David holds a master’s degree in counseling/health from West Texas A&M University. 

We are happy to have you David, welcome to the DCFOF Family! 

Learn more about BIPP

Visit our website

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Posted on June 30, 2017

Childcare Assistance Funds Needed 

We have a special request this week for one of our clients. Check out her story below and help if you can! Every dollar makes a difference. 

Support Jennifer

Jennifer (client's name has been changed for confidentiality) came into shelter with her two small boys. Her flight into the Friends of the Family shelter was a frantic and urgent one. The abuse she and her children experienced had been escalating over time, and she was becoming more and more worried about both her and her children's safety. One night, her abuser came home enraged and made the choice to strangle her. Strangulation is one of the biggest red flags we look for to determine if a case is high risk; if a person is willing to temporarily cut off another person's oxygen supply, it is a sign of high risk behavior and that they would be more likely to go even further and cause permanent injury or death. 

Jennifer does not want her two boys to grow up in a home where they are taught that it is okay to abuse women. She has overcome many obstacles and worked very hard to start a new life for herself and her children. She found a job and is finishing up her training and needs help with childcare for the next few weeks to get through her transition to self sufficiency. 

Jennifer is needing assistance with two more weeks of childcare while she finishes up her training. She has already overcome so much, and deserves this chance at a life free from violence and abuse for herself and her children. Childcare assistance is just one more barrier we are able to help Jennifer and her family overcome. 

As many of us know, childcare is one of the highest rising costs for any parent. When you think about victims of domestic violence, 98% of which are financially abused, the cost is increasingly hard to meet. Although this is Jennifer's story the barrier is something that many of our clients face and is a recurring need for the women and children that we serve. 

If you are able, please contribute to our Childcare Assistance Fund, and 100% of those dollars will be put toward our client's childcare needs. Thank you for supporting Jennifer and other mom's like her in their fight against domestic violence. 

Support Jennifer


You can read more about other barriers many victims face in our blog "Defining the Barriers Victims Face"

Domestic violence is never the victim's fault, even if they are currently staying in the relationship. If someone discloses abuse to you, please do two things – first, please don't judge them and make sure they know that the abuse is not their fault (yes, even if they are wanting to stay). Secondly, give them the DCFOF 24-hour crisis line number 800-572-4031

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Posted on June 28, 2017

Last Thursday we shared laughs, stories, and agency goals with our Faithful Friends at the #FaithForFreedom Kick-Off Social. #FaithForFreedom is an interfaith campaign within the faith community of Denton County to support Denton County Friends of the Family through raising awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault and raising funds to support our programs.   

View the Photo Album

We started the social with a tour of the agency. It was a really great experience teaching our Faithful Friends more about the comprehensive services and programs (some of which they had not heard about at all!). We were able to give attendees more insight into what life is like for many of our clients. For example, we have multiple avenues for our clients to get little essentials here and there (food pantry where they can come once a week, donations sitting out in the waiting room for them to take, professional clothing, and children's books).  Due to financial abuse (where the abuser does not allow the victim access to money) many victims of domestic violence have a hard time making ends meet. Every penny counts, and these extra donations can go a long way. Unfortunately. about 98% of domestic violence victims are financially abused, which is one of the reasons we are proud to offer all victim services free of charge! 

After the tour, we spoke in more detail about the campaign. 

#FaithForFreedom has three goals. 

  1. To raise awareness of domestic violence in congregations across the county, and make our services known to any potential victims   

  2. To raise funds for the clients that we serve through special offerings in those congregations  

  3. To build a relationship of trust between the faith communities and our agency in order to know how to connect clients with a congregation of their faith and access to community resources  

Request the #FaithForFreedom Resources 

At the end of the day, our Faithful Friends were not decided by the amount of dollars that these congregations bring in or the number of item drives they host. Being a Faithful Friend means that they answered the call. They were called- by an agency that some of them had never met before- to help make our community a better place, and they made the choice to come and make a difference with us. Their open minds and willingness to lend a hand set them apart! 

View the Photo Album

Our Faithful Friends:

Bethel Temple Fellowship 
Christ Community Church 
Congregation Kol Ami 
Denton First Seventh-Day Adventist Church 
First United Methodist Church of Denton 
Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church 
Redeemer Church of Denton 
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church 
Trinity Presbyterian Church of Flower Mound 
Valley Creek Church 
Venture Community Church 

Your congregation can become a Faithful Friend too! Join the #FaithForFreedom campaign and add your voice to the chorus of congregations that answered the call. 

Join the #FaithForFreedom Campaign

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Posted on June 22, 2017

From the outside looking in, the solution to escaping domestic violence can appear to be so simple. If you're not feeling safe and happy, then just leave, right? 

Wrong. Every story of domestic violence is different, but they have an important thing in common: it is never that simple. There are many barriers that victims face should they try to leave the relationship that may not be obvious to the people outside of the relationship. We will explore a few of those barriers in this blog, and we want to make sure that if you take anything from this at all, take this: 

Domestic violence is never the victim's fault, even if they are currently staying in the relationship. If someone discloses abuse to you, please do two things – first, please don't judge them and make sure they know that the abuse is not their fault (yes, even if they are wanting to stay). Secondly, give them the DCFOF 24-hour crisis line number 800-572-4031. Please do not tell them that they have to leave immediately or try to take control of the situation in any way, doing so may put them in more danger than you realize.

What are some of the barriers that victims face when they try to leave?  


(Note- this is not a comprehensive list. More barriers than this exist.) 

  1. Immediate Danger 

The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the victim is attempting to leave. In fact, more than 75%* of victims killed by their abusive partners are killed as they are trying to leave or shortly after they have ended the relationship. The danger that goes along with attempting to leave is very real, and victims know it.

  1. Financial Abuse 

About 99%** of victims of domestic violence are financially abused. This means that the abuser has kept the victim from being able to maintain financial resources to survive on their own. Some examples could be:  not allowing the victim to hold a job, not allowing them access to a bank account, or intentionally ruining their credit (so they could not qualify for a loan or housing without the abuser). If the victim feels that they will not be able to financially support themselves and their children on their own, that can feel paralyzing and make it difficult to leave.

  1. Isolation 

If a victim is thinking about leaving the relationship, one of the first things to think about is where they will go. Abusers spend a lot of energy keeping the victim isolated from their friends and families with the intention of making them feel like they have no one else to turn to but the abuser. Abusers will not allow the victims to call friends and family, not let them out of the house to see them, and/or intentionally cause arguments and rifts between the victim and their support systems. The victim may feel like the support system they once had does not want to hear from them anymore and have a very hard time reaching out to anyone.

  1. Fear of Custody Battles 

A big reason that some victims choose to stay in an abusive relationship is fear of what will happen to their children if they leave. If there is no documentation of the abuse, then it can feel like one partner's word against the other and losing custody of your children to your abuser is a huge risk to take. When this fear is combined with other barriers, one can start to see the whole picture:  If someone has been financially abused, they may not get a good paying job right away, which means they could be living in a small apartment or shelter. It will be hard to make ends meet, which means they may not be able to buy their kids everything that they need. Due to the constant abuse they have suffered, they may have emotional trauma to work through and may not always seem emotionally stable. When this is compared to the abuser, who has the house, money, stable job, and everything else, who do you think would have a better chance at getting custody of the kids?  As unhealthy as the home may be, that may feel easier to deal with than the thought of losing your children. 

  1. Gaslighting 

Gaslighting, or "crazy-making," is a form of emotional abuse which literally makes the victim feel like they are mentally/emotionally unstable. It could start with something small, such as hiding a book that the victim is reading or moving a lamp to the other side of the room, and then making the victim out to be forgetful or wrong when they notice these types of changes. Batterers will tell victims that the lamp was always there, or that they never touched the book, and act like the victim is foolish for thinking otherwise. After a while of this, the victim literally starts to doubt their own sanity. It starts to feel like they are losing their mind and can't trust your own instincts about anything. The world feels unsteady and difficult to navigate. So when someone does not trust their own sanity, can they trust that the abuse they thought they were experiencing is real? Or were they just remembering it wrong, like with everything else?

  1. Love 

Break-ups are hard for anyone, no matter how dysfunctional the relationship. No matter how unhealthy the relationship became, at some point, they did love this person. It is even harder if they are married to the abuser and/or have children with them. No one wants to get a divorce or end a relationship that once made them happy, and that decision can be a very difficult one to make even when abuse is present. 

Do any of these things sound familiar?

If you or someone you know needs help, call our 24 hour crisis line at: 

940.382.7273 

or 

800.572.4031 


*Domestic Abuse Shelter 

**Purple Purse Foundation

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Posted on June 20, 2017

We've have two positions that have recently been posted:

  • Bookkeeper 
  • Facitilies & Maintenance Specialist, Part-Time 

Read more about each position in the sections below. To apply submit your resume in person at our Outreach Office or via email

Denton County Friends of the Family 
4845 I-35E
Corinth, TX 76210

Email:  mecret@dcfof.org


Job Title: Bookkeeper

Position Description:

We are looking for a reliable and dedicated individual to join our Administrative Team. The ideal candidate will have experience in financial transactions, posting transactions, and ensuring compliance in legal requirements with strong attention to detail.

Potential Job Duties:

  • Maintain system to account for financial transactions by maintaining a chart of accounts, defining bookkeeping policies and procedures.
  • Balance general ledger by preparing a trial balance and reconciling entries.
  • Prepares financial reports by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing account information and trends.
  • Verify bank deposits and reconcile accounts.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, accounting or related field (preferred)
  • Experience in administration, data entry skills and account.


Job Title: Facilities & Maintenance Specialist Part-Time

Must be available to work evenings and weekends.

Position Description:

We are looking for a hardworking problem-solver to provide maintenance for all of our Agency facilities. The ideal candidate will have some experience in maintenance and strong attention to detail.
 

Hourly Rate: $12/hr

Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license and good driving record
  • Over the age of 23
  • Demonstrated ability to perform routine maintenance of household and office facilities
  • Willing to train.


To apply submit resume in person at our Outreach Office or through email to:

Denton County Friends of the Family 
4845 I-35E
Corinth, TX 76210

Email:  mecret@dcfof.org

*Denton County Friends of the Family, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.

**Both positions above are Grant funded and will continue only if sufficient grant or external funds are provided.

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Posted on June 15, 2017

Children's Program Overview

"The majority of our kids — more than 60 percent – have been exposed to crime, abuse, and violence within the past year — many in their own homes. Ten percent of children in the United States have suffered some form of abuse or neglect; one in sixteen has been victimized sexually….The problem of children’s exposure to violence is an urgent one, one we can’t afford to ignore."

-Former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder

The fact that you're reading this shows that you are making the choice to not ignore the impact that violence can have on children in our community. 1 in 4 women are victims of violence and their children are impacted whether they experience the violence directly or through exposure. At Friends of the Family we work to provide comprehensive services for women and children who are victims of sexual and domestic violence. In 2016, we provided 2,728 counseling services to children and adolescents who had been impacted by violence right here in our community. In March alone of this year our children's program expert staff provided therapy services to 132 children. Clients can access all of the services offered by the children's program at no cost. If you or someone you know needs help reach out. 

How To Get Help

The Problem

15.5 million children a year are exposed to domestic violence. That would be 40,000 children exposed to violence in their homes in Denton County in the year 2015. This type of crime is pervasive, and can make a lasting impact on not only the victim, but everyone that they know. For all of the people out there who have been impacted, please know that you are not alone. Together we will work to prevent violence through education, and our community's access to comprehensive services (like those at Friends of the Family) can make all the difference!

What Do Children Learn When Exposed to Violence? 

  • The world is unstable and unsafe
  • Violence is the best way to resolve conflicts, assert one's view, get one's way
  • Violence is a way to release stress and tension 
  • I have to be in control to be ok
  • "It is my fault my parents fight"
  • People sometimes deserve to be hit 
  • Violence is an inherent part of a loving relationship 

In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder launched the groundbreaking Defending Childhood Initiative to address a national crisis. They belive that "although the prevalence of children’s exposure to violence is overwhelming, there is clear evidence that simple solutions can help children to heal and thrive. We all have a role to play in preventing violence in our communities and supporting children who have been exposed to violence. Knowing the facts about children’s exposure to violence, as well as the factors that promote resilience, is the first step to changing the course for children in our communities." At Friends of the Family we work to provide just these type of solutions for children here in Denton County. 

What Does Our Children's Program Offer? 

  • Parent orientation is designed to introduce parents to our counseling program and to provide them with therapeutic skills to aid in managing trauma responses in their children.
  • Child-parent relationship training classes work to enhance relationships and increase attachment between caregivers and their children. 
  • Play therapy for children ages 3-10 
  • Activity therapy for ages 3-17 
  • Several groups for males ages 11 and 12, 13 and 14 and 15-17
  • Several groups for females ages 11 and 12, 13 and 14, 15-17 

What Is Play Therapy? 

At Friends of the Family we integrate different play therapy interventions based on the needs of each child. Our primary goal is to create a warm and safe environment where a child can learn to understand the wonderful things about themselves, come to believe there are safe places in the world, and some people will love you just the way you are and can be trusted. The University of North Texas' Center for Play Therapy, describes play therapy like this: "Play therapy is to children what counseling is to adults. Play therapy utilizes play, children's natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys instead of words."

Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development." 

Our play therapy programs start as early as age 3 and services are provided at no cost to the family. Any family who has been impacted by sexual or domestic violence is eligible for servies at our agency including our play therapy program.

How To Get Help

Ready To Make An Impact?

Donate 

Every $65 provides an hour of play therapy for a child who has been impacted by sexual or domestic violence. 

Volunteer 

Ready to get to work. Come volunteer with our Children's Program.

Advocate 

Get educated. Learn more about the impact of sexual and domestic violence in our community. 

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Posted on June 9, 2017

How Does This Impact Your Business? 

The effects of domestic violence are felt by a victim's family, friends, community and even her workplace. 1 in 4 Women are victims of domestic violence and 2 in 5 women in Texas are victims of sexual assault (1). Taking into consideration the high number of people in our community impacted by sexual and domestic violence it is no surprise that these type of traumas and violence would have an impact on careers and on our business community as a whole.  

Because of the historical stigma surrounding domestic violence, many employers are uncertain of their role in what has previously been viewed as a private family matter. Denton County Friends of the Family was established 37 years ago as a grassroots effort. Prior to that, there was no place for victims of violence in our community to get help like there is today. Having resources available like those that our agency provides help us to break the stigma of abuse being a private family matter and allows victims to get help. 

One of the ways that we work to break through the stigma at Friends of the Family is through our prevention and education programs. We will tell you more about these later, first let's read a little more about the economic impact of violence in the business community. 

"Sixty-four percent (64%) of victims of domestic violence indicated that their ability to work was affected by the violence. Among key causes for their decline in productivity, victims noted "distraction" (57%); "fear of discovery" (45%); "harassment by intimate partner at work (either by phone or in person)" (40%); fear of intimate partner's unexpected visits" (34%); "inability to complete assignments on time" (24%); and "job loss" (21%)(2). 

The impact of abuse feeds over into the work place in numerous ways and cannot be overlooked. As many as 75% of domestic violence victims face harassment from intimate partners while they are at work(3). This impacts the victims personally, the safety of co-workers and has an economic impact on the business itself.  

"Exerting control over victim’s employment is a form of harassment used by batterers to intimidate their partners. Although exact tactics are somewhat varied, they can be grouped into two categories: work disruption and work–related stalking. Work disruption is anything that prevents the victim from getting to work on time or at all, and typically takes place at home or outside the workplace. One national study indicates that abusers typically disrupt by depriving the victim of sleep, refusing to assist with child care, physically injuring the victim before work, turning off the alarm clock, or creating an embarrassing situation at the victim’s work. Work–related stalking includes following a person, coming to the victim’s workplace unannounced, looking into the window of the workplace, waiting for the victim at the end of the workday, as well as telephone calls and emails to the victim. It’s important to consider the workplace as a constant factor in the victim’s life. Although victims may change their residence, their work location and work schedule often remain the same (Swanberg, Logan, & Macke, 2006)." 

Toni Johnson Simpson, our Executive Director explains that "the lack of understanding businesses have about domestic violence can have serious consequences for victims and their families."

The effects of domestic violence can have direct monetary impacts on businesses, with $8.3 billion annually in lost productivity and higher medical bills according to Forbes magazine. Luckily, there are some businesses who recognize this issue and have taken steps to correct it. Companies like Verizon, Allstate, Prudential, Avon, Mary Kay, Macy’s and Home Depot have already taken significant steps forward by initiating domestic violence policy programs and collaborating with local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies. Our team of local experts at Denton County Friends of the Family are right here in Denton County we are ready to help your business do the same! 

Our Community Education program offers professional training and presentations for managers and employees on effective domestic violence prevention programs, as well as how to recognize, report, and respond accordingly in the workplace. We can provide educational resource materials for use in employee handbooks, resource materials, and orientations.  If you would like to schedule a training or receive more information about our programs let us know!  

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About Denton County Friends of the Family 

We provide compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic viol