If you see a risk of abuse …

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation - Jennifer Emily

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.

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