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Inside TFP

Stay up to date on the latest happenings at The Family Place, news about family violence in our community, and what we’re doing to keep victims safe.

Inside The Family Place

  • Dallas County steps up to keep guns from domestic abusers

    by Emily Roberts | Jun 06, 2014

    Dallas County steps up to keep guns from domestic abusers

    June 5, 2013
    by Jennifer Emily and Sarah Mervosh
    The Dallas Morning News

    Alarmed that Dallas County fails to enforce laws that forbid certain domestic abusers to have guns, state and county officials vowed Thursday to take stronger steps to keep guns away from batterers.

    The commitments come after The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that county officials weren’t enforcing state and federal laws that prohibit convicted domestic abusers and subjects of protective orders from having guns.

    Criminal court judge Roberto Cañas said Thursday that he would oversee Dallas County’s efforts to impose the law, filling a vacant leadership role that experts say was holding the county back from creating an enforcement plan.

    Also, Dallas Rep. Rafael Anchia is considering whether the law needs changing to help officials confiscate firearms, and plans to address the issue in the Legislature next year, his chief of staff said.

    “This is something we think everyone should get behind regardless of party or political viewpoints,” Liz Zornes said. “No one is in favor of domestic violence.”

    Because Dallas County officials didn’t follow the law, guns stayed in the hands of abusers like the man who police say killed his pregnant girlfriend and shot a police officer last year while he had a protective order against him.

    Officials blamed their inaction on the law, which doesn’t clearly indicate who is authorized to confiscate weapons. But The News found that other Texas counties had discovered ways to impose the gun ban anyway.

    Cañas, who mainly handles family violence misdemeanors, said he was inspired to take action because of the story and will take the lead on making sure Dallas follows suit. “I’m going to be that person,” he said as he spent part of Thursday looking over plans for how other communities remove guns. “I’m putting it on myself to be that.”

    Officials said the newspaper’s story spurred conversations and meetings this week — from the courthouse to Dallas City Hall to Anchia’s office — about what could be done to make sure guns stay out of the hands of abusers.

    It is the first time since preventing domestic homicides became a countywide priority last year that enforcing the gun ban has moved to the forefront of discussions.

    Most women killed by intimate partners in Texas are shot, and research shows that access to a gun increases a woman’s chance of being killed by her partner by five times.

    Judges involved

    On Monday, Dallas County protective order court judges met to discuss whether they could help impose the law, said Judge Linda Thomas, one of four senior judges who rotate on the bench.

    “This week is the first time that I sat down with the other judges and actually talked about the weapon issue,” Thomas said.

    They also discussed enforcing the firearm ban Tuesday during a roundtable discussion about protective order court.

    She said the judges are now looking at how other counties effectively enforce the law. Travis and Bexar counties, for example, have programs that require abusers to hand over their guns in exchange for a receipt.

    Thomas said the judges are also ironing out differences about whether the law gives them authority to confiscate weapons. Police, too, have expressed reservations that the law doesn’t say who can take guns.

    Anchia’s chief of staff said his office hopes to tackle those concerns.

    “We would like to do legislation that would put some teeth into the law,” Zornes said Thursday. “We need some sort of enforcement mechanism that is statewide so people aren’t being told to turn in their guns and then that’s the last anybody hears about it.”

    Anchia, a Democrat, was out of the country on a business trip Thursday, but Zornes said the office contacted The Family Place shelter and the Dallas County district attorney’s office this week. She said they also plan to host a meeting with judges and advocates later this month.

    “We just want to sit down and pick everyone’s brain — all these folks who see this stuff every day — and ask them what can we do to make the law better and make it more enforceable,” she said. “Because right now, it clearly isn’t.”

    As the new point person, Cañas said he plans to look at how other communities answered critical questions, such as where to store confiscated weapons and how to pay for it. But he said some changes could be made quickly.

    “There are things that are in our power now. We need to get the things that we as judges control to start working,” he said. “Like asking the offender, ‘do you have guns?’”

    The News reported that a Florida county asks abusers to sign an affidavit about whether they have guns. Cañas said that could be easily implemented here, and state District Judge Rick Magnis, who runs a program for domestic violence offenders on probation, said he has already written a draft of an affidavit to use in his court.

    Magnis also said he considering having abusers testify whether they have weapons. Both methods would be considered sworn testimony and lying could mean adding criminal charges or revoking probation.

    Cañas had previously tried but failed to to confiscate guns in his court. He said now there is more community support.

    “He can count on me as his right hand,” Magnis said. “I will do anything I can to assist.”

    City Hall discussion

    At Dallas City Hall this week, representatives from the city, police, shelters and the district attorney’s office sat around a large table for a regular meeting of the domestic violence task force.

    City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates, the panel’s chair, brought up this week’s movement to better enforce the ban. “We are looking at how we can possibly deal with it,” she said.

    The task force is also set to begin tracking certain measures that would give a data-driven glimpse into how Dallas County could better handle domestic violence. The group is focused on preventing domestic homicides, particularly by shortening the time between when an incident occurs and when the case is resolved in the courts system.

    Dallas police will soon report to the task force a tally of domestic violence fatalities and the number of protective order violations, for example. Shelters will count how many people they turn away because their beds are full. And the district attorney’s office will report how many cases it rejects or no-bills and how many repeat offenders they prosecute, among other metrics.

    Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter, was encouraged by the discussions this week. She said she hopes Dallas County can create a system that will withstand changes in leadership and protect victims for years to come.

    “Our community is committed to reaching a solution that will work,” she said. “I’m not going to stop fighting until we figure out a way to follow these laws that were set up to protect victims of domestic violence.”

    But judges cautioned that large-scale change will take time. There are 17 felony courts and 13 misdemeanor courts that operate independently. Prosecutors, advocates and the county’s police departments will also have to work together.

    Mary Murphy, administrative judge over judges in 34 counties, including Dallas, said she wants to be a resource.

    “We’re on it,” she said. “I’m trying to get everyone talking.”

    Read the full article at

  • Pepper Smash Says Domestic Violence Is No Joke

    by Emily Roberts | Jun 02, 2014

    Pepper Smash Says Domestic Violence Is No Joke

    Popular ‘cocktail kitchen’ in Shops at Legacy hosts fundraiser for The Family Place all day Sunday, June 1

    PLANO, TX (May 29, 2014) -- Domestic violence is no laughing matter, and the team at Plano's Pepper Smash is doing their part to make sure that message is heard loud and clear.

    On Sunday, June 1, the trend-setting "cocktail kitchen" in Plano's Shops at Legacy is hosting a daylong fundraiser benefitting The Family Place, the Dallas-area’s leading non-profit agency serving families torn apart by domestic violence.  Pepper Smash will donate 100% of the day's profits to the charity, beginning at 11 a.m. with its popular Sunday brunch and continuing through closing at 11 p.m.  

    “We thought the time was right to invite our loyal customers, and folks that haven’t tried us yet, to come out, enjoy our distinctive food and drink offerings, and support the great people at The Family Place,” said Chris DeMers, operating partner for Pepper Smash. “It’s way past time to put an end to the cycle of violence in our homes, and that starts by acknowledging the gravity of the issue, not by making it a punch line.”

    For victims of family violence, The Family Place delivers proven programs that address emotional and physical abuse and incest. The Family Place provides free, comprehensive services that prevent violence and fully support women, children and men on their path from fear to safety.

    “We’re very grateful to the fine folks at Pepper Smash for taking a bold stand against domestic violence,” said Paige Flink, CEO of The Family Place. “We hope everyone in and around Plano will stop by on Sunday, enjoy a delicious brunch or dinner, and help generate funds to support the critical services we provide every day to families from all across the Metroplex.” 

    Pepper Smash is located at 7200 Bishop Road in Plano’s Shops at Legacy.

  • Read about the 2014 Partners Card Kickoff at Galleria Dallas in CultureMap Dallas

    by Emily Roberts | May 21, 2014

    Family Place fans flit around Galleria Dallas for Partners Card party

    May 21, 2014
    by Diana Oates
    Culture Map Dallas

    It's hard to believe it’s time for the Family Place to kick off another year of Partners Card, but just as soon as one successful philanthropic season comes to an end, another one begins.

    Galleria Dallas was just the right spot to launch the most-anticipated shopping extravaganza in Dallas. The signature fundraising event for the Family Place, Partners Card offers cardholders a 20 percent discount at more than 750 participating shops and restaurants throughout Dallas, including quite a few Galleria favorites. All proceeds from card purchases go directly into the Family Place coffers.

    While listening to remarks from chairs Lisa Bhattacharya, Andrea Cheek and Diana Hamilton, supporters — including Family Place executive director Paige Flink, Lynn McBee, Maggie Kipp, Sophie LeBlanc, Lauren Levi and Katie Hunzinger — enjoyed hors d’oeuvre, cocktails and entertainment in The Alley, adjacent to The Grill on the Alley. No doubt they were already plotting their Partners Card shopping strategies too.

    Over the past 21 years, Partners Card has become the largest fundraiser for the Family Place. In 2013, the nonprofit sold 14,600 Partners Cards, raising $1,150,884.

    Since 1978, the Family Place has counseled more than 201,000 clients in residential and outreach programs. In addition, the agency has provided life-saving shelter to more than 21,000 women and children and has answered more than 530,000 calls for help.

    Read more in CultureMap Dallas.

  • Inspiring Story from Former TFP Client

    by Emily Roberts | May 14, 2014

    CSU propels music grad far from painful past

    May 14, 2014
    by Maeline Novey
    The Coloradoan

    Soon-to-be CSU graduate Sierra Hayden's thin, nimble fingers rise and fall upon flute keys in a coordinated dance with her mouth to make music where there was none before.

    A sense of calm appears to take hold as she works her way through the first movement of Georg Philipp Telemann's "Fantasia" in D minor. It's times like these that offer solace from life's challenges; it's moments like these that helped her through pain in her younger years.

    Escaping an abusive father and husband, Hayden and her mother, Angela, sought shelter at The Family Place, a safe house in Dallas, Texas, for victims of family violence. While in the program, Hayden saw a flute-playing therapist who would perform songs from "Harry Potter" and other movie soundtracks for her.

    Hayden was young, a fifth-grader, when she started seeing the therapist. She doesn't remember her name, but she'll never forget her gift, she said recently, wiping tears from her bright eyes as she recounted her life's journey.

    One day, the therapist gave Hayden a beaten-up, old flute. After leaving The Family Place, Hayden and her mother lived in a neighborhood where Hayden couldn't play safely outside because of gang-related and other violence. But she got a videotape teaching how to play the flute and, day after day, watched and mimicked the virtual teacher who sat in front of a rainbow-colored tapestry playing eight musical notes. When she and her mother moved into a better area in Richardson, Texas, Hayden joined the middle school band as a seventh-grader.

    Middle school band blossomed into marching band in high school, after which Hayden studied teaching and flute performance at Texas Tech University. There she studied under flute professor Lisa Garner-Santa, who became a mentor, friend and model for what Hayden wants in the future.

    "I someday hope to have a job like hers," said Hayden, who, while in Fort Collins, has shared her love of music with young children and teens through private lessons and classes at various Poudre School District schools.

    Talking with her other mentor, Michelle Stanley, an assistant professor of music at CSU, it's apparent Hayden is well on her way to accomplishing her teaching goal.

    Stanley, who's watched Hayden grow into a thoughtful, expressive and curious musician, said she's impressed by Hayden's teaching, not only within university walls, but with middle and high school students in the community.

    "Her personality just sucks in the students. ... They're connected to her very rapidly," in a way that Stanley said she doesn't often see in her graduate students.

    Stanley, too, said she admires Hayden's ability to put aside her upbringing to embrace a present and future marked by success.

    "She really rose from a place where most people would spiral," she said of Hayden, who she sees as a strong, smart and talented woman who doesn't take grief from anyone.

    Now 25, Hayden will graduate on Saturday with a master's degree in music performance. She is one among the 3,044 undergraduate and 1,058 graduate students who will be honored Friday and Saturday during Colorado State University commencement ceremonies.

    And after that? Hayden has applied to several doctoral music programs and ultimately would like to teach music at the collegiate level.

    Asked where she'd be without music, Hayden laughs. "I think about that all the time," she said from her seat at a cafe table in CSU's University Center for the Arts. Environmental sciences might have be one route, but she generally can't come up with an alternative to her current path.

    That's how she knows music was — and always will be — the right choice.

    Read the full story online at

  • The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Is Revealed

    by Emily Roberts | May 14, 2014

    JUST IN: The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Is Revealed

    May 14, 2014
    by Jeanne Prejean

    Finally managed to get the rest of the new about The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon. You already know that Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and Stephanie Seay have arranged to have Joe Torre to be the keynote speaker for the September 17th event at the Hilton Anatole.

    But there has been a change of plans in the presentation of the Texas Trailblazer. In the past it has been awarded to a number of outstanding people and organizations that “have made a significant contribution to the community.” IN addition to The Family Place Texas Trailblazer Award, The Family Place Real-Life Hero Award, The Family Place Youth Service Award and Scholarship and The Family Place Advocacy Award. Past recipients have included Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Ebby Halliday Acers, Norma Lea Beasley, Anita N. Martinez, Nancy Brinker, Caroline Rose Hunt, Colleen Barrett, Dr. Carol Wise and Linda Custard. Why just last year Gloria Campus, Darlene Blakey, Kimberly Clark, Hannah Hinton and Karim Bryant were honored.

    Harold C. Simmons (File photo)

    Harold C. Simmons (File photo)

    Each of these people and organizations have made outstanding contributions to their community. For 2014, the decision was made to honor an individual, whose past endeavors not only supported numerous non-profits but also established programs that will continue for generations to come.

    This year’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon will honor and celebrate the “Legacy of Harold C. Simmons for his support of The Family Place as well as the many, many organizations, charities, hospitals and countless people who have benefited from his unprecedented generosity.”

    Despite Harold’s death less than six months ago, his legacy will continue for decades and decades for both neighbor and stranger alike. That is a true trailblazer.

    Read the full article at

  • Baseball Legend Joe Torre To Headline The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon On September 17

    by Emily Roberts | May 08, 2014

    JUST IN: Baseball Legend Joe Torre To Headline The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon On September 17

    May 6, 2014
    by Jeanne Prejean

    Ran into Carol Seay at the Salvation Army Fashion Show yesterday at Brook Hollow where former First Lady Laura Bush was honorary chair and the “experienced” clothes were disappearing from the racks.

    But more about the show and luncheon later. What was pried out of Carol is that former All-Star baseball player, four-time World Series champion manger of the New York Yankee Joe Torre will be the headliner at The Family Place’s September 17th Texas Trailblazer Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

    This summer Joe will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Oh, what’s the connection between the baseball legend and domestic abuse? Margaret’s Place.

    What’s Margaret’s Place? So many questions, but good ones!

    Joe and his wife Ali created Safe At Home Foundation and established Margaret’s Places in New York, New Jersey and California, where middle and high school students are provided with a “’safe room’ to talk to each other and a professional counselor trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention about violence-related issues.”

    The reason for creating such a program was because as Joe puts it, “When I was growing up, my father was a bully. My mother [Margaret] faced verbal and physical abuse from my father. If he didn’t like the food mom made, he would throw it against the wall. He used to make her get up in the middle of the night to cook for friends he brought home.

    “Although I did not get phys­i­cally abused myself, I grew up in fear because my mom did. I was shy and dad would make fun of me. When­ever I saw his car in the dri­ve­way, I didn’t want to go home. One win­ter, when I was 12, my older brother Frank (20) said to my father, ‘We want you out of the house. We don’t want any­thing other than the house we live in. We don’t want any­thing from you. Just leave.’ And he left.

    “Grow­ing up in a home where there was domes­tic vio­lence was very dif­fi­cult and left last­ing scars. Although I didn’t real­ize it then, I used to feel like the abuse was my fault. I felt help­less and alone. For many years, I felt ashamed and worthless.

    “In those days, no one in my neigh­bor­hood knew what was hap­pen­ing in my home, or if they did, nobody talked about it. I did not talk about it because I was afraid. I didn’t know who to turn to for help.”

    Carol along with daughter-in-law Stephanie Seay and Stephanie and Travis Hollman are co-chairing the event.

    More news will be developing. Stay tuned.

    Read the full article at!

  • Volunteers help United Way kick off 90th anniversary projects

    by Emily Roberts | May 08, 2014

    Volunteers help United Way kick off 90th anniversary projects

    May 6, 2014
    by Christina Rosales
    The Dallas Morning News

    More than 60 volunteers painted apartments and installed shutters Tuesday morning at a Dallas refuge for women and children victimized by domestic violence.

    The volunteer drive at The Family Place Safe Campus kicked off United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ nine service projects honoring the organization’s 90th anniversary. Each project will be led by a Dallas Cowboys legend who has advocated for United Way in the past.

    “We talk about the role of the Dallas Cowboys in this community,” former Cowboy Darren Woodson told the volunteers from Texas Instruments and Alliance Data as they rolled up their sleeves. “Today is not about the Cowboys. We’re here because of Family Place and what they do for our community.”

    The campus is where women and children receive services from The Family Place without fear of being discovered by their abuser.

    “You may never know the woman and child you helped escape,” said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place. “But you can imagine what it’s like to escape with nothing. You’ve made a difference to them.”

    United Way’s 90th anniversary is this year “but when you turn 90, you get to celebrate your birthday almost all year,” said Susan Hoff, the group’s chief strategy and operations officer. There will be a service project every month through January.

    “I can’t imagine what we’ll do for our 100th anniversary,” she said.

    Jennifer Staubach Gates, who leads the city’s domestic violence task force, said the effort to raise awareness about the issue is a community one and that the 60 volunteers will be among those helping to lead the effort.

    “It’s a passion of the mayor’s to make every woman feel safe at home, and if she doesn’t, that she has the resources to feel safe,” the City Council member said. “Domestic violence is hidden behind closed doors. We don’t want those doors to be closed anymore.”

    As the volunteers split into teams to get down to work, Lawaine Fairchild-Jokiel of TI helped her team paint a two-bedroom apartment at the campus.

    “I want to share my love with whoever lives here,” she said. “It’s inspiring, making a home for someone nicer. That’s special.”

    Read the full article at

  • United Way Nine for 90 Campaign Kicks Off Today at The Family Place Safe Campus

    by Emily Roberts | May 06, 2014

    "Nine for 90” community service projects kick-off with a focus on domestic violence prevention

    (DALLAS) – The first of the “Nine for 90”service projects celebrating United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ 90th anniversary kicked off today with a volunteer-driven event at the Family Place Safe Campus in Dallas.

    Dallas Cowboys legend Darren Woodson joined 60 volunteers from Texas Instruments (TI) and Alliance Data to roll up their sleeves and complete facility upgrades -- including painting, replacing shutters and transforming a backyard playground – that will allow the campus to continue to provide a welcoming and dignified environment for the families served.

    The “Nine for 90” series, presented by TI, includes nine monthly community service projects and brings together legendary Dallas Cowboys players with volunteers from TI and other corporate sponsors.  The projects with United Way’s partner agencies focus on United Way’s impact areas of education, income and health – the building blocks for strong families and thriving communities.

    “It’s an important issue,” said Woodson. “Mother’s Day weekend is approaching, and we naturally reflect on our childhoods – and for those of us fortunate enough to be raised in a peaceful, stable environment, we know how important that is. Organizations like the Family Place, do such important work. They protect, they shelter and they help rebuild lives. I’m grateful and inspired to have been out here today.”

    Woodson and the volunteers were joined at the event by: Susan Hoff, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas; Jennifer Staubach Gates, District 13 Dallas City Councilwomen and Chairman of the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Task Force; Andy Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Instruments Foundation; and Dana Beckman, Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs for Alliance Data.

    Through January, each of the “Nine for 90” projects will each be championed by one of the nine Dallas Cowboys legends who have participated in the United Way-NFL partnership over the years. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of United Way Worldwide’s historic partnership with the National Football League, promoting service and active lifestyles through public service announcements. The nine Dallas Cowboys who have appeared in United Way public service announcements over the years and who are championing the “Nine for 90” community service projects include Roger Staubach (1974, 1993), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (1976), Charlie Waters (1976), Tony Dorsett (1981), Randy White (1982), Emmitt Smith (1991), Troy Aikman (1992, 1998), Darren Woodson (1986) and Jason Witten (2007).

    The next two “Nine for 90” projects:
    • In June, another Cowboys legend will champion the cause of combating hunger and homelessness.  Volunteer projects will be held in conjunction with United Way service providers City Square and Jewish Family Services, and the United Way led Dallas Summer Meals Sponsor Council.
    • In July, fighting childhood obesity through health and wellness will be the focus of Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, who is also a United Way of Metropolitan Dallas board member and spokesperson for United Way’s Healthy Zone Schools program.  Volunteer projects will be held at AT&T Stadium in conjunction with the GENYOuth Summit & United Way Healthy Zone Schools Expo.

    Troy Aikman and Charlotte Jones Anderson serve as Co-Chairs of the 90th Anniversary Celebration. Honorary Chairs include Ruth Altshuler, Ebby Halliday Acers, Lyda Hill, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Caroline Rose Hunt, Margot and Ross Perot, and Marianne and Roger Staubach.  The “Live United. Forever.” Gala is chaired by Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO, AT&T; Tom Falk, chairman and CEO, Kimberly-Clark Corporation; and Rich Templeton, chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments.

    United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will culminate its year-long anniversary celebration with the “Live United. Forever.” Gala presented by Kimberly-Clark Corporation, at AT&T Stadium on February 7, 2015.

    # # #
    About United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

    United Way of Metropolitan Dallas brings people together to improve lives and create lasting change here in North Texas by focusing on education, income, and health -- the building blocks for strong families and thriving communities. We galvanize and connect all sectors of society – individuals, businesses, non-profits, and government – to create long-term change through investing in solutions that produce healthy, well-educated and financially stable individuals and families. We raise, invest and leverage over $50M annually in community-focused solutions serving Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties. We do more than help one person beat the odds – we are changing the odds for entire communities. Together, we LIVE UNITED. To learn more, please visit

  • Be Project Presents 3rd Annual MUSIC 4 CHANGE Concert on Saturday, May 10

    by Emily Roberts | May 05, 2014
    Dallas Teens Host FREE Concert to end Bullying and Relationship Violence 
    Be Project to Host 3rd Annual Music4Change Concert on May 10, 2014

    WHAT: Music 4 Change is back! Be Project, an initiative of The Family Place, will host its 3rd annual Music 4 Change (M4C) Concert at The Underground at South Side on Lamar this Saturday, May 10th, 2014. Music 4 Change is a FREE concert for youth, and will offer a fun way to come together, stand up against violence and celebrate healthy relationships. The concert features local, signed teen artists as well as up-and-coming youth talent who promote a positive message.  
    1 in 3 teens will experience an abusive relationship by the time they graduate high school and 85% of students witness bullying in their schools. This concert - planned by teens FOR teens - is instrumental in increasing the dialogue between youth about bullying and dating violence. It will offer them a safe place to stand up against violence and let their voices be heard.

    Since 1999, The Be Project has worked in the community to empower students to end relationship violence. Last year we worked with over 6,000 students - teaching them how to promote healthy relationships in their communities. For more information, please visit the Be Project website at or the Music4Change Facebook Event Page. 

    WHEN: Saturday, May 10, 2014 | 1:30-4PM

    WHERE: The Underground at South Side on Lamar | 1409 S Lamar Street, Dallas, TX

    CONTACT: Liz Ferrigno, Be Project | 972.243.1611|

    ABOUT: The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be Part of the Solution to End Relationship Violence

    The Be Project, an initiative of The Family Place, provides classroom-based education and therapeutic groups to children and youth in 3rd-12th grades, as well as to college students. For more information, visit 

  • 2014 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon Date and Location Revealed

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 29, 2014

    The Family Place Letter Signing Indicates Something Is Up For Trailblazer Awards Luncheon

    April 28, 2014
    by Jeanne Prejean

    Just back from a letter signing at Margaret Hancock’s dining room table. With Jack the itty-bitty Yorkie circling the table and baby Hewitt Seay doing the guy-thing of hanging out in his baby-mobile, the gals at the table were furiously providing their John Hancocks and notes to a passel of letters that will drop very soon.

    And what is the news that will be revealed? So far after bribing and begging, the only info provided is that the letter deals with The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, September 17. We managed to get out that it will take place at the Anatole. Then it was an “oops” moment, when a letter passed by and it was noted that the event co-chairs are Stephanie and Travis Hollman and Hewitt’s mom Stephanie Seay and grandestma Carol Seay.

    Have offered a new squeeze toy to Hewitt to find out more deets. Hewitt claimed he had all the toys a guy needed. Nope. He’s holding out for toy plus a Kalfin black diamond pacifier. Stay tuned. His people are talking to our people.

    Read the full article and see photos at

  • 12 Incredible Things You Have Done - 2013 At A Glance

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 23, 2014

    12 Incredible Things You've Done

    Why The Family Pace? Because we will never give up.

    We wanted to share and celebrate what you made possible. In 2013, The Family Place provided 11,758 clients with 171,968 hours of service.

    One thing's for sure - we will never give up until all victims can lead a life free from violence.

    The end of domestic violence will not be a quick victory, but it can be done. Standing together with you, we are an unwavering force to end this epidemic.

    We would not have the opportunity to do what we do without you. Join us as we continue in our mission to end family violence.

    2013 At A Glance - Why The Family Place

    Thank you for being part of the solution to end family violence.

  • 2014 Partners Card Kick-Off Party and Shopping Dates Announced

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 23, 2014

    The Family Place Announces 2014 Partners Card Kick-Off Party & Shopping Dates

    April 23, 2014
    by Lisa Petty
    DFW Style Daily

    Few events are anticipated by North Texas shoppers quite like The Family Place Partners Card time. The annual program equals a Metroplex-wide shop-a-thon at more than 750 participating retailers. And it’s all for a wonderful cause.

    Since launching in 1992, Partners Cards have raised over $14 million dollars for The Family Place. Netting consumers a 20% discount for a 10-day period at hundreds of participating area businesses, the cards are good toward purchases at boutiques, restaurants, spas, and much more.

    In addition to a substantial boost for local businesses (participants all report sales “well above normal” during Partners Card time), proceeds from card sales benefit Dallas’ largest domestic violence agency. To date, The Family Place has sheltered more than 21,000 woman and children, and has answered more than 530,000 calls for help.

    On Thursday, May 1, join The Family Place and Bank of Texas to kick-off the 2014 Partners Card program at Galleria Dallas. On the Alley (adjacent to the Grill on the Alley restaurant), guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and entertainment from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Following this kick-off celebration, the 10-day Partners Card shopping event will take place October 24 – November 2, 2014. Cards will go on sale later this year. Congratulations to The Family Place from all of us at DFW Style Daily!

    For more information on next week’s kick-off event, visit or the DFW Style Daily Event Calendar.

    Read the full article at DFW Style Daily.

  • Deadly Affection Part 4 - Making Sense of the Unfathomable - in The Dallas Morning News

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 23, 2014

    Deadly Affection:Part 4 - Making sense of the unfathomable

    The Dallas Morning News

    Experts say children who lose a parent at the hands of a loved one struggle with anger, fear and loss

    Every day a half dozen Americans die at the hands of someone they love. Most of them are women. Many are parents.

    Kids who have lost a parent to an intimate partner know a peculiar kind of agony. They are hobbled by grief for the victim, bewildered by the killer and terrified of what it means. Where will they live? Who will love them? Are they destined to repeat the pattern and become an abuser or a victim? How do they relate to the killer?

    “You’re grieving the loss of the victim, you’re grieving the loss of the person who did it ... that the world isn’t just, it’s not fair, that bad things can happen to people who don’t deserve it,” said Nicole Holmes, a psychologist with Friends of the Family, which provides services to victims of domestic violence in Denton. “It shakes your whole world view.”

    Overcoming such a tragedy at an early age is possible but painful. The bloodstains fade, but the horror lingers. So do the questions. The following stories of three families at different stages of recovery offer a glimpse of the toll taken by domestic violence fatalities.

    “Why did they die?”

    LTTLE ELM – A little over a year has passed since “the incident.”

    That’s what David Chomitzky calls his daughter’s murder.

    He doesn’t call it an accident because he won’t lie to his grandson. But he hasn’t told the boy his father shot his mother before committing suicide, because that’s impossible for a 7-year-old to fathom.

    It’s not much easier for a 63-year-old man. “They say time heals all wounds,” Chomitzky said recently. “But right now it’s still bleeding. It’s hard to get up in the morning.”

    He worries about raising his orphaned grandson. And he is haunted by the fact that even though he was just a few feet away when his daughter was killed, “I wasn’t there to stop it.”

    His daughter, Bethany, and her husband, Rob, had moved to Texas from Pennsylvania in the summer of 2012 for a fresh start. Bethany asked her father and his longtime girlfriend, Ellen, to join them in Texas. Since Chomitzky was close to his grandson, they agreed.

    The boy is being called “John” in this story because Chomitzky asked that he not be identified.

    When Rob and Bethany couldn’t work out their differences, the couple separated. Bethany, 33, and John lived with Chomitzky and Ellen.

    Chomitzky knew the separation had been tense but didn’t learn until later that Bethany was “deathly afraid” of her estranged husband. After Rob moved out, she wanted the locks changed so he couldn’t drop by unexpectedly. She switched phone companies to avoid Rob’s constant calls, but Chomitzky didn’t know Rob waited for her after work so often that she transferred to another location. Bethany sought a protective order but didn’t tell Chomitzky why.

    “I wish she would have told me more,” he said. “I might have been more cautious.”

    John was in the backyard playing with a friend when his father came to get his mother’s signature on some legal papers that day.

    Chomitzky was breading chicken in the kitchen for dinner when Rob shot Bethany behind the ear, then shot himself.

    Counseling helps, but Chomitzky struggles with his own grief while trying to be there for John.

    He worries because sometimes “I see his dad’s behavior in him.” John likes to hit him, he said, so his counselor suggested he buy a punching bag.

    Not long ago John had been playing “cops and robbers” with other little boys, when he ran to his grandfather and “shot” him in the forehead with his thumb and forefinger.

    Two years ago that wouldn’t have bothered Chomitzky, who is a gun enthusiast. This time it “really freaked me out,” he said. “He has no idea the connection that made for me.”

    John talks about his mom, Chomitzky said, but rarely mentions his father. Chomitzky suspects John does that because Chomitzky initially responded to such comments with silence.

    But counselors told him that “children tend to identify with their parents, so ‘if Daddy’s bad, that means I’m bad,’” Chomitzky said. So he tries to say something good about Rob when pressed.

    “It’s really hard,” Chomitzky acknowledged. “But I feel I have to.”

    Chomitzky wonders when and what to tell John about how his parents died.

    Not long ago the boy asked, “Why did they die just filling out papers?”

    “We will never ever know the real, true reason,” Chomitzky replied. “All we know is it’s tragic.”

    Blood and brains spattered all over the dining room. As Chomitzky wailed, “No, no, no,” and punched a hole in the wall in anger, the boys ran into the house.

    John “saw his mom,” Chomitzky said. “He didn’t see his dad right away.”

    Chomitzky sent the boys upstairs.

    That night, John stayed with a friend; the next day he went to day care. “We tried to keep his routine as normal as possible,” Chomitzky said.

    Maintaining normalcy is hard. Even though the crime scene was cleaned by a forensic service, John “used to go to the chair where his mom died when he was upset,” Chomitzky said.

    Chomitzky said sometimes he still detects a slaughterhouse smell when he passes the room. He would like to move but doesn’t know if it’s a good idea to take John away from his friends and school.

    The past year has drawn the two of them closer, but he’s still not sure how his grandson feels. “Outwardly he seems happy,” he said. “But most people who see me think I seem happy too. I can’t see inside his head.”

    How to help a child after a domestic violence homicide

    • Place the child with other family members in a stable home. Shuttling a child between relatives or foster care can be traumatic.

    • One steady person, not necessarily the caregiver, who stays in touch with the child on a regular basis provides a much-needed anchor.

    • If a child wants to talk about what happened to their parent, let him do so. Silence is more traumatic.

    • Don’t make negative remarks about the killer. He or she is related to the child in some way, and the child may feel the comments pertain to him as well.

    • Find a counselor for the child and the caregiver who is trained to deal with trauma cases.

    • Counseling as an adult is helpful.

    Read the full article at

  • Thank you to all for 2014 Easter Baskets

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 22, 2014
    Thank you to all of the individuals, companies and groups - including Aon Hewitt, Citibank US Employee Network Groups, Behringer Harvard Residential and Dallas Building Owners and Managers Association - that donated hundreds of Easter baskets and goodies to The Family Place this year! Your generosity is just amazing!

    You have made this Easter a special one for so many little kids!
  • Friday, April 18 - Neighborhood Heroes - Stories Told by The Family Place

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 17, 2014


    2014 The Family Place at Union - April 18

  • Dallas domestic violence suspect faces unprecedented bond

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 17, 2014

    Dallas domestic violence suspect faces unprecedented bond

    April 16, 2014
    by Rebecca Lopez

    DALLAS — Geandre Wallace has been in jail over and over and over again — four times for assaulting a woman.

    Police and prosecutors feel he is so dangerous, his bond was set at $1 million.

    "Never in my career have I heard a million dollar bond on a family violence case," said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place, a resource for victims of domestic violence.

    Wallace's latest target was his girlfriend. Court documents show he strangled her, kicked her in the face and knocked her unconscious last month.

    "The complainant's jaw was broken; she had to have screws in her mouth holding her jaw together," a police report stated.

    Police and prosecutors believe Wallace is such a threat that prosecutors requested the judge "put every condition you can on him, including GPS monitor. He told the arresting officer he is gathering bail money now so he can kill her when he bonds out."

    "In this situation, you see the repeat offenses... you see the threat to kill... you see the strangulation... you see the lethality markers," Flink said. "That's why they set the bond."

    For months, Dallas police, prosecutors, and victims' advocates have been meeting to identify women who are at the highest risk of being murdered.

    News 8 has learned that Dallas police have already been on 22 home visits to women they feel face the greatest potential danger.

    Police plan to monitor the victims closely to make sure they are safe, and to see what is happening with both the victim and the suspect. If they feel the victim needs more help, they will step in.

    Flink said the intervention team will also alert women that they could be in danger based on known indicators.

    Police say identifying high-risk victims is still a work in progress because in 50 percent of domestic murder cases, the women have never called police.

    But the Dallas Police Department says its goal is to save as many victims as they can.


  • Supreme Court keeps guns away from those guilty of domestic violence

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 28, 2014

    Great news for victims of domestic violence!

    Supreme Court keeps guns away from those guilty of domestic violence 

    March 26, 2014
    by David G. Savage
    Los Angeles Times

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday strengthened a federal law that bars anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing a gun.

    In a 9-0 decision, the high court said the ban extended to anyone who had pleaded guilty to at least a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, even in cases in which there was no proof of violent acts or physical injury.

    The ruling overturns decisions in several regions, including the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, which had said the ban applied only to convictions that involved a "violent use of force."

    At issue was a 1996 law in which Congress expanded an existing ban that applied to anyone convicted of a felony in a domestic violence case to include misdemeanor convictions.

    "Domestic violence is not merely a type of 'violence,'" said Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "It is term of art encompassing acts that one might not characterize as 'violent' in a non-domestic context." It includes acts such as "pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting," she said.

    Read the full article at,0,74538.story#ixzz2xIIb6II5.

  • It is time to Paint the Town Purple

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 28, 2014

    Paint the Town Purple - March 31 to April 2, 2014

    2014 Paint the Town Purple - March31-April2

  • Drop In Domestic Violence Related Homicides

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 12, 2014

    Abused Wife Murder Catalyst For Dallas Change
    Drop In Domestic Violence-Related Homicides

    March 11, 2014
    CBS DFW News

    A decrease in the number of domestic violence-related homicides are now traced back to one victim’s death in January 2013.

    Karen Cox Smith, a 40-year-old executive assistant at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas was gunned down as she left work. Her brutal slaying — and a series of domestic abuse deaths that followed — inspired Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to declare a war on domestic violence last March at a rally in front of Dallas’ City Hall.

    “I was shocked by it,” said Mayor Rawlings.

    Smith turned to police in December of 2012 for help, breaking her silence after years of abuse at the hands of her husband.

    “She did everything she was supposed to do and it still didn’t matter,” according to Smith’s mother, Sara Horton.

    Horton shared e-mails her daughter sent police, looking for updates on her husband’s arrest at the time.

    One email read:

    “I am confident it will be soon, and my children and I can relocate and no loner live i fear.”

    Another email to a detective read:

    “The warrant team contacted me. They plan to pick him up in the morning at work. Thanks so much!”

    Thirty-five minutes later, Smith was dead — gunned down by her husband as she left work.

    “Shot her in the back and shot her in the face. It just took me back, and then we looked into the numbers,” said Rawlings.

    There were 31 domestic violence-related homicides in 2012. But Smith’s death struck a chord with city leaders and was the catalyst for change.

    “They have really tried very hard to fix some of these things, and I know that they felt terrible. I know that they did. They all said that,” said Horton.

    Dallas police tasked officers with cutting down the backlog of unserved domestic violence warrants. Detectives began screening victims, often handing them a phone with a emergency shelter dialed up. Police even started making visits to high risk victims this year. By next month, the DA’s office plans to begin accepting applications for protective orders online.

    “You put all those things together, and you start to make a dent,” said Mayor Rawlings.

    Police records show there’s already sign of progress. Last year, the number of family violence deaths dropped 26 percent. Thus far in 2014, it’s down another 33 percent.

    That’s welcome news for Smith’s mother, who’s determined to see change. “I want something good to come from her death. And certainly she would not want anyone else to go through what she went through,” she said.

    Click here to visit the city of Dallas’ domestic violence help page. It’s a comprehensive resource guide for those seeking help.

    Read full article at CBS DFW.

  • The Family Place Staff Meets Together at Annual All Staff Meeting

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 03, 2014

    "Truly, the work you do changes lives." - Connie Nash, survivor and speaker at The Family Place All Staff Meeting on February 28, 2014

    The Family Place All Staff Meeting Feb 2014

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