The police chiefs of Irving and Grand Prairie are partnering to raise awareness of domestic violence during the holidays.
Both chiefs are on the Board of Directors of Brighter Tomorrows, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency shelter for abused women and their children.
"They're fleeing domestic violence, which could be sexual, emotional, physical violence," said Diana Franzetti, executive director.
Franzetti said the shelters in Irving and Grand Prairie are at or near capacity on most days. She also said the age of the abuse survivors is getting younger.
"Statistics show that about age 13 right now and it's dropping to age 12 for any kind of violence, dating violence or sexual assault," she said.
Brighter Tomorrows has been around since 1989 and has helped about 15,000 people so far. The shelter location in Grand Prairie house about 700 women and children last year alone.
"It's serious across the country," Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said. "I mean, we saw what happened with the Kansas City player recently, and they're very volatile circumstances."
Boyd said the holidays are always the most active time for family violence calls.
"Family groups that don't always spend as much time as they might around Christmas and Thanksgiving, and sometimes that creates for volatile circumstances," he said.
Domestic assault reports in Irving have risen over the past three years. More than 2,600 cases are projected for this year.
The story is also troubling in Grand Prairie. Police there responded to more than 4,700 calls for family violence issues during the past year.
"By having a safe haven for these victims, it removes them from the offender, and it provides a higher level of accountability for these offenders to be prosecuted," Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye said.
The chiefs said emergency shelters are crucial in helping to protect people in their communities.
"It's one of the worst problems that we face in law enforcement, and it's critically important that our community comes together to support these domestic violence shelters to help these victims break that cycle," Dye said.
Brighter Tomorrows operates primarily on donations.
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