Friends of the Badge

Posted on May 10, 2017

The Friends of the Badge Luncheon was an event to honor and thank local law enforcement, justice officials, and the District Attorney's office for everything that they do on a daily basis to protect and serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Taking place on National Superhero Day, the luncheon was packed with the truest superheroes there are: the men and women who spend every day making our world a safer place. From local police department chiefs, to prosecutors at the District Attorney's office, to judges presiding over local district courts, the turnout was a spectacular array of people who have changed our clients' lives forever. 

One of those clients is Rachelle Pinkerton, a survivor of domestic violence and former client of Denton County Friends of the Family.  

"One police officer made a difference in my story", says Rachelle. "On the night of his [her ex-husband's] last vicious assault, the time that Officer Stevenson took to help me impacted my entire life...I was trying everything I could to get safe and keep my daughter safe and I didn't know how to do that. I was terrified of calling the police because I didn't know what kind of retribution would be waiting for me at home if there was no cause to arrest him. I felt paralyzed. When Officer Stevenson arrived that night she wasn't being mechanical. She took the time to help me understand what my options were, and made me feel like I had someone in my corner for the first time." 

Dale Hansen, weeknight sports anchor of WFAA-TV and host of Dale Hansen's Sports Special on Sundays at 10:20 pm served as the keynote speaker at the luncheon. Once named TV Personality of the Year, Dale earned that title twice over at the Friends of the Badge Luncheon, keeping our guests laughing and enjoying themselves. Dale has a way of story-telling that gets any crowd inspired, especially as he recounted his own experience with domestic violence as a child. 

When he was a young boy his father punched his mother and broke her nose. His father was a very large and strong man that he had looked up to, and that inspired admiration in a lot of other people. Dale said, during his keynote at Friends of the Badge, that this experience changed the way he looked at his father forever. "Never has such a strong, big man looked so small in the eyes of a young boy".  

There were no domestic violence shelters when Dale was a child, and domestic violence was not something that was discussed in public. A bright light has shined on the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault since then. Batterers are being held accountable more and more, and victims have access to more resources than ever before. That is all because of the collaboration between agencies like Friends of the Family and local law enforcement! 

At Friends of the Family we see stories like Rachelle's and Dale's every day. The collaboration between law enforcement, the justice system, and our agency is absolutely crucial for our clients. We were honored to be able to present awards to the awesome people below! 

  •  Super Partner- Little Elm Police Department 
  •  Superhero Advocate - Charley Smith 
  •  Heroic Partner - ADA Caitlin Milmo 
  •  Infinity and Beyond – Family Services Division, Denton Police Department 
  •  Community Crusader- Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell 
  •  Mental Health Partner- Sergeant Cari Coker, Denton County Sheriff's Office 
  •  Community Defender- City of Corinth Police Department 
  •  Avenger of Safety- Sergeant Ramona Rosborough, UNT Police Department 
  •  Guardian of Justice- The Honorable Jonathan Bailey, 431st District Court 

A word from our Congressman about the Friends of the Badge luncheon:

Thank you from Friends of the Family!

Thank you to our sponsors! 

Julian, Crowder, & Shuster 

Congressman Michael Burgess, MD 

Village Designs and Remodeling 

Texas Health Behavioral Hospital 

Larry and Ann Tubbs 

Image Center 

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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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Typical warning signs of abuse

1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence

591 clients were served through legal services in 2017