Posted on May 4, 2017
The Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP) at Denton County Friends of the Family is one of the best, and not purposefully kept, secrets of our agency.  The majority of clients served at DCFOF are victims and children, but BIPP clients are those who’ve chosen to use violence (be that physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual) to hurt their partners.  What we know is: abuse is a choice, 100% of the time. Each choice we make is a unique decision and at any point we are completely capable of making better ones. 
We have BIPP groups available to both men and women in our community who need help learning to make better decisions about how to treat their families, specifically intimate partners. About 98% of clients in our BIPP are court-ordered to be here as part of their probation or parole. During the 30 week psycho-educational program, perpetrators of domestic violence discuss topics nine topics: accountability, respect, sexual respect, parenting, communication, trust, non-violence, partnership, and non-threatening behavior. 
"I have had so many clients over the years who thought abusive behavior was normal," says Hillarye Hightower, Director of BIPP and Community Education. “They've shared that their fathers or uncles were abusive, their friends' fathers, and so many other men in their lives set that example for them.  We know domestic violence is a learned behavior.  There are times when it can feel difficult to work with those who choose to use violence, but I believe in the power of change, and education is what really changes the future for our community." 
Many folks who choose abusive behavior believe that they need anger management treatment instead of BIPP. Although anger management is a great tool for some people, it is not the tool most helpful for abusers. Statistics tell us that battering/abuse are not about anger but instead are about one person believing it is their right to maintain power and control over an intimate partner (or former intimate partner).  If a person does not abuse their coworkers, parents, or strangers, but does hurt their partner, that does not lend itself toward an anger management problem but a domestic violence problem.  If someone does not say/do violent or abusive things to other people, but does them to a partner, then they ARE capable of controlling their anger, and are CHOOSING not to when it comes to their partner. It is very important to take responsibility for those choices and work to change them. 
Every day is a new opportunity to improve oneself and one's relationship. No matter what has happened in the past, people are capable of change. 
Do you hurt your partner, or does someone you know hurt their partner?  Would you like help changing that behavior? Call 940-387-5131 and ask to sign up for or for more information about our BIPP program. 
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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted on April 20, 2017

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and at Denton County Friends of the Family we are working to raise awareness. Events are happening across the county, many of which are hosted by or partnered with Friends of the Family, and our Facebook has been bombarded with shades of teal. #GoTeal  

Sexual assault is defined as any forced, coerced, or unwanted sexual act. Sexual assault can include, but is not limited to, rape, sexual threats and intimidation, incest, sexual assault by intimate partners, child sexual abuse, human sexual trafficking, sexual harassment, street harassment and other forms of unwelcome, coerced or non-consensual activity.  

The secret that many do not know about sexual assault is that it is not really about sex at all. It is a crime of power and control, and taking that power away from another person. It is about the feeling of power and superiority a rapist gets when they hold another person's life and safety in their hands.  Sex is not the motive; it is the weapon that a rapist uses to get the power and control that they are looking for.  

This is why it is so important to know that sexual assault is NEVER caused by alcohol or the way a person is dressed. Most importantly, sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault. All adults have the right to consent or not consent to any person or sexual activity at any time, for any reason. You always have the right to consent or not consent regardless of your relationship status with that person, or if you have consented to sexual activity with them before.  

Denton County Friends of the Family was created to give resources to people who have been through traumas such as sexual assault. With 2 in 5 women in Texas experiencing sexual assault in their lifetime, we know that there will always continue to be more women that need our help. We provide victims/survivors with counseling, play therapy (if under 12), a safety plan, emergency shelter, legal advocacy, a 24 hour crisis line, a career resource center, and a food pantry. In addition, we will continue to shine light on this issue in the hopes that we will one day live in a society where sexual assault is not as prevalent as 2 in 5.  


Resources Available:  

Check out our programs here.  

Schedule an intake appointment at our outreach office by calling 940-387-5131.  

Want to talk? Call our 24-Hour Crisis Line at 1-800-572-4031 or 940-382-7273  


Click here for more information about sexual assault.  


I want to support victims/survivors of sexual assault by making a donation.  

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Shelter Van Update- Thank You Classic of Denton

Posted on April 5, 2017

Check out the update below from our Shelter team! 

Car dealership Classic of Denton has generously donated a brand new 2017 van to the Denton County Friends of the Family shelter. The luxury 15 passenger van is valued at $75K, and after the CoServ Charitable Foundation made the generous contribution of $15K, Classic of Denton donated the remaining $60K to Friends of the Family.

The van is being used for grocery shopping, dropping child residents off at school, giving clients rides to the courthouse, and much more. Unlike other company vehicles, this van does not have any kind of logo identifying it as a Denton County Friends of the Family vehicle with the intention of client safety and confidentiality.

Friends of the Family Shelter Van Making an Impact in 2017"To understand the direct need of this van, you first need to understand the dangers that our clients face," says Rebekah Woodland, Assistant Director of Residential Services. "Many of them have recently left an abusive partner, who may still be looking for them. Many of them have previously been stalked by their abusers, and sometimes have even had their cars tracked with GPS. Our ability to get their children to and from school, provide them with groceries and other basic needs, and even get them to a court appointment safely is crucial to their ability to survive on their own. Thanks to Classic of Denton and the CoServ Charitable Foundation, this new van has enabled us give them the resources to thrive again!"

"Safety and support are common luxuries that many of us are lucky enough to take for granted," says Randi Skinner, Friends of the Family Director of Marketing and Development. "Driving ourselves to an appointment without having to look over our shoulders is normal to us, but our clients have to be constantly on the lookout for their abuser. Classic of Denton has not just given our shelter a van, they have given shelter clients the freedom to take care of themselves without having to worry. That gift is priceless for them, and we are eternally grateful to Classic of Denton and the CoServ Charitable Foundation for giving that gift to our clients!"

For more information about Denton County Friends of the Family visit:

For more information about Classic of Denton visit:

For more information about the CoServ Charitable Foundation visit:

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Community Education Department

Posted on August 14, 2015

Denton County Friends of The Family Programs & Activities Spring 2017 

Creating a Community Free of Violence:  The Community Education department is available to present the following programs, trainings, activities, and workshops to your school, organization, or agency for FREE!! 

Pre K-5th Grade 
Bumbles * W.H.O. * Be the Change * 5S Program 

Middle School 
Real Kids Getting Real * 5S Program 
Coaching Boys into Men (athletic specific) 

High School 
Expect Respect * In Their Shoes * Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes 
Killing Us Softly * Tough Guise * The Dating Game 
The Clothesline Project * Coaching Boys into Men (athletic specific) 

Relationship Violence/Sexual Assault 101 * Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes 
Killing Us Softly * Tough Guise * The Dating Game * The Clothesline Project 
In Their Shoes (Teachers/Counselors) * Health/Community Fairs or Events * 
Coaching Boys into Men (athletic specific) 

Our grant funders require 30 students or less per presentation. 


Bumbles (30-45 minutes): Bumbles the Magic Bumblebee teaches children about the following topics: their bodies are special and belong to them, safe and unsafe touches, identifying safe adults; as well as secrets. Bumbles also uses an interactive song to recapture all the different topics discussed. 

WHO (30-45 minutes): Students will learn behaviors and strategies for staying safe at home and in the community. WHO teaches children to know, say, and use certain skills to avoid and reduce dangerous and/or hurtful situations such as bullying, child and/or sexual abuse. 

Be the Change (45 minutes): Be the Change is designed to give students the tools to create positive changes in their own lives. We seek to empower students through healthy boundary setting, communication, and beginning to understand socialization. 

Real Kids Getting Real (3 part series): This series teaches middle school students to recognize how society impacts our relationships and the definition of relationship violence, while at the same time providing curriculum-based, age-appropriate activities and information that encourage students to form healthy relationships, respecting themselves and others. 

5S Program (1 to 3 part series): This program focuses on teaching students and parents about: planning and decision making, choices and consequences, resistance skills, peer pressure, self-esteem, goal setting, peaceful conflict resolution, communication, boundaries and respect. 

Expect Respect (3 part series): Expect Respect is a program for preventing teen dating violence and promoting safe and healthy relationships in high school. It consists of three parts: socialization, relationship violence, and communication/boundaries. 

In Their Shoes (1– 1.5 hour): A scenario-based training designed to help participants learn what dating is like for today’s teen - from their perspective. This is intended for adults who interact with teens as well as teens themselves. It provides a snapshot of unhealthy teen relationships and generates a thoughtful discussion about how adults and teens may better understand teen dating violence. 

Hip Hop - Beyond Beats and Rhymes (2 hour): The documentary based program explores the issues of masculinity, violence, hip hop music, gender stereotypes, and culture through interviews with artists, academics, and fans. 

Killing Us Softly (1-1.5 hour): The documentary based program provides a critical analysis of the advertising industry’s effect on the image of women and femininity, and the unrealistic portrayals of beauty, perfection and sexuality it presents to young women and girls. 

Tough Guise (2 hour): The documentary based program examines the relationship between media and the idea of masculinity, violence, and what it means for young boys. 

The Dating Game (1-1.5 hour): The dating game activity points out to youth that we are influenced by a variety of messages regarding personal interactions, and we bring those attitudes and behaviors into our relationships. 

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault 101 (2 to 4 hour): This program examines and discusses a wide variety of information relating to relationship violence & sexual assault. Educating the community on the following subjects: types of abuse, facts/figures, what the law says, myths/facts, red flags/warning signs, effects of relationship violence/sexual assault, and more. 

The Clothesline Project: The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program started to address the issue of violence against girls/women. It is a vehicle for girls/women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against girls/women. This program can be geared toward both girls and boys. 

Contacting the Community Education Department:  Hillarye Hightower, Director of Community Education, (940) 387-5131 x240 or  Schedules fill up quickly, please contact us to book 3-6 months in advance.

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Shelter Life

Posted on July 21, 2015

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Speak Up!

Posted on June 22, 2015

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be victims of intimate partner violence at some point in their lives[i]. On average, more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day[ii]. 20-25% of women in college reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape[iii]. Only 2% of rapists will ever spend a day in prison[iv]. These statistics clearly illustrate the severity and prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault in our society, and yet the violence rages on. A major factor in their unimpeded continuation is that we, as a culture, consider speaking out about domestic violence and sexual assault uncomfortable and taboo. At Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF), we believe that the first step in seeing a decrease in these crimes is to shine light on them in the public eye, and the best way to do that is by talking about them.

            The DCFOF Speaker’s Bureau is a group of volunteers committed to bringing attention to the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as the services that DCFOF offers to survivors and their families. Volunteers speak to community members at tabling events, as well as other community groups, and receive community service hours and/or internship experience. They have come together to make a commitment to speaking up about domestic violence and sexual assault and to urge others to do the same.

A shining example of a Speaker’s Bureau volunteer is Alecia Martinez, who kindly gave us permission to share her story. In an email interview, Alecia told us that she was “born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana.  I was the oldest of six children, raised in a very poor environment by abusive, addict parents.  In order to escape my dysfunctional home life, I married at 15 and had two sons.  I stayed married to their father for 19 years.”  After years of owning a salon and raising her children, Alecia has since joined the United States Navy, completed her Bachelors in Liberal Arts, and completed her MBA in 2011.

 She has spent the last 7 years working for Fannie Mae, and it is through her a volunteer work event that Alecia came in contact with the DCFOF Speaker’s Bureau: “I had been looking for a worthy cause for which to volunteer for quite a while, [and] because I live in Denton County I felt DCFOF was a good fit.  The fact that it was for the cause of domestic violence and sexual assault made it perfect for me, because I am passionate about the cause as I have been a victim.  I have been the child raised in an environment where little [girls are] molested and women and children [are] neglected and/or physically abused as a way of life.  I have been the woman in an abusive relationship, yet I stayed because had no one to help and nowhere else to go.  I have been fortunate enough to escape the cycle of abuse.  I have sincere empathy for the victims, and I know firsthand that there is hope.”

For many survivors, knowing that they have options and that their fellow community members care about what they have been through can be very comforting. At a tabling event at TWU, Alecia was “touched by the number of college students interested in the cause and volunteering.  I doubt there are many people whose lives have not been touched in some way by domestic violence and sexual assault.” In addition to volunteering her skills with Speaker’s Bureau, Alecia has also worked at the DCFOF shelter and headed up a clothing drive for women transitioning back into the workplace.  She said that she is planning to tutor clients of DCFOF who are studying for GED testing, and believes education is of great importance. She feels “like people are more likely to stay in an abusive environment if they believe they have no alternatives.  It is our responsibility as a community and as fellow humans to do what we can to initiate change.”

Most who consider volunteering for a cause like this imagine themselves working in a shelter, as a hospital accompaniment advocate, or perhaps in our thrift store. When Alecia was asked why she chose Speaker’s Bureau above those things, she said that “I feel I have overcome much adversity because people informed me that I had choices and that I could change my life.  I want to be that person for someone else.  If I can point them in the right direction to get the help they need at DCFOF I will consider it a great honor… Some people believe in Karma, some say you reap what you sow; others say what goes around comes around.  I believe we get back from the universe what we give.  That’s why I want to invest in the betterment of humanity.  I feel there is no worthier cause than to invest in victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.  I chose the Speakers Bureau specifically because I am grateful that I have a very different life now. I want mine to be one of the voices helping to empower people to change their lives for the better.  I want my voice to be one of hope and inspiration.”

To join DCFOF Speaker’s Bureau, email

For volunteering information in DCFOF shelter or thrift store, email

To make a donation, visit



[i] (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

[ii] Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003.

[iii] Fisher BS, Cullen FT, Turner MG. 2000. The sexual victimization of college women. Washington: Department of Justice (US), National Institute of Justice; Publication No. NCJ 182369.

[iv] Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

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<c>Typical warning signs of abuse</c> - Preview

Typical warning signs of abuse

1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence - Preview

1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence

4,405 adults and children received 94,065 services in 2019 - Preview

4,405 adults and children received 94,065 services in 2019