DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As Ray Rice fights to get his job back, domestic abuse shelters in North Texas are fighting to find the money to provide services to victims.
“We did not plan to keep these people in hotels, we didn’t plan to have to shelter 25 more people than we ordinarily do,” says Paige Flink, CEO of The Family Place in Dallas. “But, we did it because they’re in danger and they asked for help… and you have to say `yes’.”
Flink says The Family Place will spend $100,000 on hotels by the end of the year putting victims in hotels as they flee dangerous abusers. Officials at other North Texas shelters also say that the attention and awareness generated by the Ray Rice case created an immediate impact.
“I would say we’re probably doubling our hotline calls,” says Aimee Ziegler at Hope’s Door in Plano. “We have certainly seen an enormous increase in women calling for help, in family members calling to talk about it,” says Flink.
The online reaction to the release of the video showing Rice punching his then fiancée was instant and angry—but, many local advocates say the outline outrage never translated to additional resources.
“Outrage is not enough,” says Flink.
Emily’s Place, a Plano shelter, was already in the midst of an expansion project when the Rice scandal hit. But, they can’t get it built fast enough. Executive Director Lori Conley says they now have a wait list. “When the Ray Rice thing happened, our calls increased tenfold,” says Conley. But, there was no corresponding increase in donations.
Faced with scathing criticism over the handling of the Ray Rice case, the NFL has promised to donate millions to national domestic abuse hotlines. And while experts say that will help get more calls answered, the donation will do nothing to provide the services that victims need next… services that the agencies provide free of cost.
“We can’t do it if the community doesn’t help support our work or the work of any of the other shelter organizations,” says Flink. “We need resources—and not just Halloween candy and Christmas presents.”
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