If you see a risk of abuse …
Lori Conley is the CEO of Emily’s House, a long-term Collin County shelter that helps women and their children get back on their feet after leaving a relationship fraught with violence. The shelter has 32 beds. Next year, a second shelter will open, doubling its capacity. But it won’t fill the need. The shelter had a waiting list 150 people long earlier this year.
At Emily’s House, women and children come after stays in an emergency shelter. The immediate threats have passed, but risk remains.
If you are in an abusive relationship, “as soon as an individual started showing aggressiveness, you need to start an action plan,” Conley said.
An action plan is an outline of what to do and where to go when someone leaves an abuser. People who are worried that a friend may be a target of abuse should bring it up. Conley said to talk about it without being judgmental and to have specifics about where the person can get help. Work with the friend to create an action plan.
“If you see something, ask,” Conley said. “Let them know you care.” It’s not clear how quickly Spencer Hight began shooting. But, if there is time, call the police when someone is angry and violence seems possible. One in 4 women used to be affected by family violence. Now, Conley said, it’s 1 in 3.
“I would never wait. I would act immediately,” she said.
For help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-7997233 or visit thehotline.org.