Domestic Violence Shelters Expect To See Increase Next Few Weeks

The next few weeks at domestic violence shelters are expected to be busy ones.

The holidays are over and typically, across the nation, the first few weeks of the new year bring lots of victims seeking assistance.

Newschannel 6 Lindsey Rogers talked with the heads of first step in Wichita Falls to see if the same is true here.

Data from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence shows fewer calls coming in over the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and the volume picking up again in the first two weeks of January.

But, that doesn't mean the abuse stops, victims are just less likely to call during the holidays.

"Since the holidays are over now we have had an increase. We are full to capacity with clients," First Step Shelter Manager Chakeria Dalton said.

First Step in Wichita Falls can serve up to 600 people.

That includes those living in the shelter and those who are only using their services.

"We try not to turn anybody away. If we can help them, we're going to help them," program director Mary Franco said.

First Step has seen an increase in victims the over past few years.

Much of the blame goes to the economy, with the tension caused by financial stress and many loosing their jobs.

Along with that, a survey done by the Allstate Foundation shows this past year many families are having to stay in shelters longer.

"We do give extensions. Whatever it takes for them to get back on their feet. We're going to try and help as much as we can," Franco said.

First Step serves both men and women in 12 Texoma counties.

It is an emergency shelter providing food, clothing and counseling to victims of domestic violence and their families.

"We are here to help. If you're in need of a safe place, need to talk with someone. They can always call," Dalton said.

You can contact the closest domestic violence program in your area by calling 800-799-SAFE.

To reach the First Step emergency line call 940-692-1993

To reach the First Step shelter line call 940-692-4494

To reach the First Step administration office call 940-723-7799

You can also go to their website,

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6