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Texas Domestic Violence Centers: Unfortunately, They're Busier Than Ever

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Business continues to boom, sadly, at Texas centers that deal with family violence, with more cases than ever and longer stays becoming necessary, according to a study released today.

The Allstate Foundation surveyed 39 centers statewide and almost all said the need for services had increased over a busy 2009. More calls, more counseling, and more stays: Some report doubling the amount of total days victims stayed in their facilities.

"The increase in length of stay is most likely attributed to the economy, lack of affordable housing options, financial insolvency, and very serious complex cases like multiple incidences of abuse over a person's lifetime," said Julia Spann, Executive Director of SafePlace in Austin.

Even worse, the report noted that more than half the facilities had been forced to cur staff or services because of budget constraints.

And things are not likely to get better:

"We typically see a slight lull in demand during December, but just after Christmas demand is heavy," said Marta Pelaez, President and CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services located in the San Antonio area. "Victims, particularly those with children, often attempt to keep the family unit intact during the holiday season, though financial strain and substance use are notoriously heavy. The aftermath leads to increased demand during January and February."

The Houston Area Women's Center, by the way, is always grateful for donations or volunteer work.

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