• Mayor Rawlings expects more than 10,000 men at rally next month

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 12, 2013

    Mayor Rawlings expects more than 10,000 men at next month’s rally against domestic violence

    by Christina Rosales
    February 12, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced this morning that he expects at least 10,000 men to show up to City Hall Plaza for a rally next month to show they will not tolerate domestic violence in the city.

    Athletes including Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr and former Cowboy Troy Aikman plan to attend the rally, as well as city leaders and religious leaders such as T.D. Jakes and Catholic bishop of the Dallas diocese Kevin Farrell.

    “Most of all, I want fathers to bring their sons,” Rawlings said. “We have an intergenerational teaching moment here because, undoubtedly, this is a learned behavior.”

    The rally, which was planned to take place at Klyde Warren Park, will now take place in the plaza to accommodate all of the campaign’s supporters, Rawlings said. It is set for March 23 at 10 a.m.

    Last month, Rawlings was moved by the handful of recent murders that involved domestic abuse and held an emotional press conference at City Hall to encourage men to change the culture of acceptance of domestic abuse.

    And many men in the city have responded to that, Rawlings said, surrounded by dozens of men on stage at the press conference at the Dallas Museum of Art: athletes, business and religious leaders and city councilmen and Dallas police.

    Casey Cox, brother of Karen Cox Smith, also stood among the men. He wore a purple ribbon on his lapel, commonly used to raise awareness of domestic violence. Police say his sister suffered years of abuse at the hands of her estranged husband before he shot her to death in early January.

    Cox spoke to the crowd at the press conference and said silence needs to be broken when it comes to domestic abuse.

    “I’m speaking for my sister,” Casey Cox said. “Her story needs to be heard by the many women who are victims of domestic violence.”

    The brother said his sister was smart and caring, but above all, courageous. He referred to her several reports to police about her estranged husband’s abuse.

    “She had the courage to say enough is enough,” he said. “She’d want me to share her story to tell women ‘if I had the courage, you too have the courage.’”

    It is unclear what’s next in the advocacy campaign once the rally is over, though the mayor promised there will be more awareness events. Rawlings said the whole campaign is a movement that will change the culture of domestic violence.

    “We’re making this a grass roots movement,” the mayor said. “And we’ll take it back to the community. In the past this has been viewed as a women’s issue, but it ain’t. It’s our problem.”

    Read the full article at DallasNews.com.

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to announce downtown rally against domestic violence

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 12, 2013

    Rawlings to announce downtown rally against domestic violence with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith

    by Robert Wilonsky
    February 11, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News - City Hall Blog

    Tomorrow morning Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will start making good on his promise “to change the male culture,” per his remarks at a city hall press conference last month dealing with Dallas’ spike in domestic violence.

    A press conference has been scheduled for Tuesday during which Rawlings, Dallas Police Chief David Brown and city council members will be joined by former Dallas Cowboys Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith and current Cowboy Brandon Carr, among other local celebrities. The topic, according to this afternoon’s media alert: “Announcement of advocacy campaign and rally against domestic violence.” This is the event to which Brad Watson referred last week, when he said Bishop T.D. Jakes and WFAA-Channel 8 sports anchor Dale Hansen would also participate, in the hopes of drawing more than 10,000 to the rally.

    Paula Blackmon, the mayor’s chief of staff, says the event will more than likely take place at the Klyde Warren Park: “That’s the direction we’re heading,” she says. The date of the event will be announced tomorrow.

    “And it will be a multi-generational event,” says Blackmon, “meaning we want grandfathers, fathers and sons.”

    But, she cautions: “It’s not just a rally,” because rallies alone don’t end domestic violence.

    “It’s a movement,” she says. “You’ll see tomorrow.”

    Read more at Dallasnews.com.

  • Be Project Tells Students to Let Your Hearts Rule for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

    by Manju Alexander | Feb 11, 2013

    Teen Dating Violence Month 2013

    Be Project Tells Students to Let Your Hearts Rule
    February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

    February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness Month. One in three students reports experiencing some form of abuse. Every young person deserves a safe and healthy relationship, no matter who they are or who they love.  Be Project, an initiative of The Family Place, will feature its Let Your Heart Rule Campaign throughout the community this month, supporting the National TDV Awareness Month Campaign from Love is Respect and Break the Cycle.

    Be Project will be distributing heart-shaped stickers and buttons in high schools so that students can decorate and wear on their sleeves during the month to raise awareness. This includes Coppell HS, Creekview HS, Ranchview HS, R. L. Turner HS, Madison HS, and Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School.

    In addition, high schools are raising the bar and creating their own plans.

    • Coppell High School Be More Group – Students plan to create a video about healthy relationships to show throughout the school and distribute table tents at lunch to raise awareness of TDV and get students talking about the issue.
    • Ranchview High School Be More Group - Students plan to create a music video where they will parody a current, popular song to educate and raise awareness of TDV.
    • Creekview Be More Group – Students will design video skits to raise awareness of TDV and show at school.
    • Seagoville High School – Students will compete in a poster contest.

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Ferrigno at 972.243.1611 or beproject@familyplace.org.

    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 age and culturally appropriate classroom and therapeutic groups to children and youth in 3rd-12th grades, as well as to college students. To learn more about Be Project, visit www.familyplacebeproject.com or https://www.facebook.com/thebeproject.

  • The Family Place Partners Kicks off 2013

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 30, 2013

    The Family Place Partners toast loyalists and new members at 31 in Highland Park Village

    by Rachael Adams
    CultureMap Dallas

    Last year, the Family Place celebrated the 20th year of Partners Card, the largest fundraiser for the charity. Partners Card holders receive a 20 percent discount at participating restaurants and retailers throughout the area during the much-anticipated 10-day event.

    To celebrate its new members, the Family Place Partners president Jennifer Burns welcomed devotees — Kim Lewis-Gleason, Laura Pitlik, Annika Cail, Katy Duvall, Jennifer Tobin, Kaycee Holmes, Sarah McKee, and Fran and Jim Wallace — to 31, Alberto Lombardi's chic Highland Park Village lounge, for cocktails and small snacks.

    In one corner guests noshed on popcorn, nuts and fried calamari. In another, attendees shared stories about their life-long commitment to the Family Place, Dallas' largest domestic violence agency for more than 35 years. "I've been a volunteer for as long as I can remember — since I moved to Dallas," one guest told us.

    Jamie Singer, events and catering manager for Village Marquee Texas Grill & Bar and the Highland Park Village theater, talked about the Partners Card and how people fly into Dallas from out of state just to shop.

    That reminded us to mark our calendars for October 25, the start of the 21st annual Partners Card event.

    Read the full article and see pictures on CultureMap Dallas's website

  • Read more about how Dallas is making unprecedented domestic violence reform in The Dallas Morning News

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 24, 2013

    Advocates praise Dallas’ domestic violence reform, eye opportunity for further change

    By Sarah Mervosh
    23 January 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    City leaders’ recent resolve to stop domestic violence has made the issue a priority in a way that’s unprecedented in Dallas, but officials can’t let up if they want to address the problem comprehensively, experts say.

    After a jump in domestic violence slayings in 2012 that hasn’t seemed to slow down so far this year, leaders in Dallas have said enough is enough.

    As part of the charge to raise awareness, advocates, city officials and police gathered Wednesday for a candlelight vigil at City Hall for domestic violence victims.

    Mayor Mike Rawlings has also appealed to Dallas’ men to stop domestic violence, a City Council member announced efforts to help curb the problem and the police chief has been asked to make it a priority to serve domestic violence warrants.

    Local advocates praised the city’s coordinated response that puts the responsibility where it should be: on the abusers. Jan Langbein, the executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter for 22 years, said she has never seen a mayor take such a strong stand on this issue.

    “Just in the past two weeks, we’ve seen our city turn the corner … from blaming a victim to holding accountable the perpetrator,” Langbein said. “That’s a message that’s heard loudly throughout our community.”

    But advocates say it’s only part of the solution.

    The voices of city officials play a part in reducing domestic violence by helping sway public opinion, said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter.

    “It is not going to stop it by itself, but it is an important part of stopping family violence,” Flink said. “We need to look at the whole system.”

    The city’s response came days after a man was accused of killing his estranged wife in a UT Southwestern parking garage. Police say Karen Cox Smith, 40, was gunned down by Ferdinand Smith on Jan. 8 while an abuse warrant was outstanding for his arrest. He had been accused in December of trying to strangle his wife.

    Police say Smith’s slaying is part of the troubling trend of domestic violence murders, which jumped from 10 to 26 between 2011 and 2012. So far this month, police have reported four in Dallas, as well as several others in surrounding areas, including the murder-suicide of an estranged couple outside their daughter’s birthday party Saturday in Grapevine.

    Rawlings’ chief of staff said the mayor had been troubled by recent violence, including the Connecticut school massacre and the uptick in local domestic violence deaths. Smith’s death spurred him to action.

    “That tragic incident really kick-started it,” Paula Blackmon said. “That moved it along.”

    Smith’s brother, Casey Cox, said he will fight to make sure his sister is not forgotten.

    “She would have wanted the next woman suffering from a similar situation to know that silence is not an option,” he said at the vigil Wednesday.

    Since Smith’s death, the city has announced that police will prioritize domestic violence arrest warrants for repeat offenders and those who pose an immediate threat. Council member Delia Jasso’s office is also working to put up billboards advertising assistance for victims and to engage places of worship in outreach efforts.

    Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said Dallas’ response has laid a strong foundation to combat domestic violence.

    “It sounds like an aggressive intervention approach,” she said. “But how are we going to address the prevention angle?”

    City officials say they plan to round out their response with prevention, but those initiatives could take time.

    Rawlings is planning a rally in the spring to launch an awareness campaign focusing on men, his chief of staff said. Jasso is working with police to raise domestic violence awareness in Dallas schools, but that probably won’t begin until next school year.

    The Family Place’s Flink said she, too, has never seen such a promising response from the city. But she also knows it’s important to build on the initial changes.

    She said she’d like to see the city impose stronger penalties for domestic violence misdemeanors to deter abusers from escalating violence.

    She also sees an opportunity to prevent abuse by reducing unemployment, which she says can play a role in domestic violence.

    “It’s something we’ve wished for — for family violence to be a priority, to have it be something that’s a City Hall priority,” Flink said. “They’ve made this commitment, and I just want to see them follow through with it and keep pushing the pedal to the metal.”

    Read the full article at Dallasnews.com.

  • A former victim of domestic violence speaks out in The Dallas Morning News

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 24, 2013

    Family Place's cause close to home for woman who endured 25 years of domestic violence

    By Sarah Mervosh
    23 January 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Connie Nash says she hadn’t been married for even a week before her husband hit her for the first time. She had burned the beans. What followed was 25 years of abuse, bruises, broken bones and jail stays for her husband, she said.

    Then a day came when their 16-year-old son stood up for her. Her husband got angry and left but returned with a gun and put it to Nash’s head. If her son hadn’t jumped on her husband’s back, he would have killed her, Nash believes.

    “So often women die in that situation,” she said. “So I consider myself very blessed.”

    Nash’s experience is fairly typical for situations that escalate into extreme violence or death, said

    criminologist Denise Paquette Boots, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    “There’s something that’s happened that puts … [abusers] over the edge,” she said.

    Often, the flash point comes when a victim stands up to an abuser or decides to leave, Boots said. In Nash’s case, it was her son who took a stand.

    “Things were going to be different. He just couldn’t accept that,” Nash, 53, said of her husband. “If he didn’t think he had control over his family in all situations, he was just going to end it.”

    Nash met her husband in church and got married at 16. She said she never pressed charges or left him because she’d made a commitment to God to stay married forever. Her pastor also counseled her not to leave him, she said.

    “I really thought I’d be married until death do us part, until it almost happened,” Nash said.

    After the incident with the gun, police arrested her husband, she said. He spent less than two years in jail, but he died several years ago, she said.

    Nash had never worked outside the home until he was jailed. Now, more than a decade later, she’s a senior tax processor and serves on the board of directors for The Family Place shelter, she said.

    Nash would like to see harsher laws for domestic violence to help deter abusers. She also suggested a policy under which the city or police could press charges on victims’ behalf.

    “I can’t even believe I’m saying it,” Nash said, because she would have been terrified of the consequences when she was married. But from her perspective today, it seems like a good idea. “It could save a lot of lives.”

    Read the full article at Dallasnews.com.

  • Stiletto Strut Makes the List of the 10 most anticipated spring events on the Dallas Social Scene

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 23, 2013

    The 10 most-anticipated spring events on the Dallas social scene

    by Rachael Abrams
    CultureMap Dallas

    The sun has emerged from behind the clouds, and spring is just around the corner. That means the Dallas social set is back in philanthropic action. We are marking our calendars, sending in our reply cards and readying our wallets for charitable donations. From lively luncheons to the city's most formal affairs, these are the 10 most anticipated spring events.

    Neiman Marcus Stiletto Strut
    Stiletto Strut is one of our favorite annual events — and not just because it's at the landmark Neiman Marcus Downtown. On April 25, hundreds of ladies, decked out in all manner of super-high heels, strut around the department store to support The Family Place. Sip cocktails and strap on our stilettos for a great cause? We're telling chairs Jenifer Strauss Dannhauser, Stacy Girard and Lindsay Jacaman to count us in.

    Read the full article at the CultureMap Dallas website.


  • City of Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force to host Candlelight Vigil on January 23, 2013

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 22, 2013

    Tomorrow night, Wednesday at 6:00 PM, the City of Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force is hosting a candle light vigil to remember domestic violence murder victims of 2012 and 2013. It will be on the plaza in front of City Hall, and is open to the public.

    The Domestic Violence Task Force is chaired by Councilwoman Delia Jasso, who... released three new initiatives to combat this problem last week. Mayor Mike Rawlings has also launched a new initiative to fight domestic abuse.

    For more information, please contact the office of Councilwoman Delia Jasso at (214) 670-4052 or gerardo.sanchez@dallascityhall.com.

    DVTF Candlelight Vigil - 1/23/2013

  • Paige Flink Responds after Recent Shooting

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 22, 2013

    Parents dead after gunfire at daughter's birthday party

    by Jonathan Betz
    January 20, 2013

    GRAPEVINE — An argument at a girl’s 16th birthday party in Grapevine late Saturday night ended with the child's father shooting her mother and then killing himself, according to police.

    Kelly Suckla, 43, shot his 44-year-old wife Kristi near the front door of her parents’ home in the 3100 block of Creekview Drive just after 10 p.m. on Saturday.

    Kelly Suckla then shot himself in the head a few moments later in the front yard.

    Kristi Suckla died about 40 minutes later at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.

    “It’s a quiet neighborhood, a family neighborhood,” said neighbor Ruth Cramer. “We're just speechless.”

    Police say Suckla and his wife were estranged, but appeared to be friendly. Friends said Kristi moved into her parents’ Grapevine home about two months ago, but investigators said Kelly was invited to his daughter’s celebration.

    “The family members were aware he was going to be there,” said Sgt. Robert Eberling with the Grapevine Police Department. “So I think it pretty much took everybody by surprise.”

    Police said they’re unsure what sparked the argument. Family members — including the couple’s teenage daughter and 21-year-old son — were nearby, inside the house, when the gunfire erupted, but they did not witness the shooting.

    Jeff Barr has lived next door to the Sucklas' home in Euless for more than 10 years. Just hours before the shooting, he chatted with Kelly Suckla about the party.

    “He said they were just going to do a birthday thing for their daughter, and that was about it,” Barr said. He occasionally visited with the Sucklas inside their home, and said they never gave any indication of problems with their marriage.

    “They seemed normal — never thought anything was going wrong,” Barr said. “Never gave me any reason to believe otherwise.”

    The number of domestic violence murders in North Texas has spiked recently. In Dallas alone, they more than doubled last year to 26, up from 10 the year before.

    “It just seems like it’s gotten more extreme,” said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place, a Dallas shelter for battered women. She said not only are the number of domestic abuse cases rising, but so is the viciousness.

    “In the past, what we would see is pushing, shoving, bruises... but not the use of knives and guns,” she said. “It’s extreme violence.”

    Flink worries the sluggish economy may be behind the spike in domestic abuse cases. “The majority of the victims have batterers who are unemployed,” she said.

    The violence even prompted Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings last week to urge the police department to step up efforts to catch known domestic violence abusers.

    “We’ve got to dial it up to the next level,” he said during a Monday news conference at City Hall.

    Dallas officers are now prioritizing cases involving domestic abuse, after the department launched a special task force of 100 officers last month to serve arrest warrants.

    Yet officers point out domestic violence crimes can be very difficult to predict or explain. That’s why victims’ advocates are pushing not only for stepped up enforcement, but also for women to feel more comfortable in seeking help.

    “There really is no hurdle we can’t help a woman overcome,” said Flink, the shelter director. “If it’s bad enough for you to be afraid, it’s bad enough for you to come seek services.”

    Read the full article at WFAA.com.

  • Dallas to Ready to Battle Domestic Violence

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 22, 2013

    Police will prioritize warrants for repeat and dangerous domestic violence offenders, city officials announce

    by Sarah Mervosh

    In the city’s latest move to combat domestic violence, Dallas police will now prioritize serving arrest warrants to repeat offenders and to abusers of victims believed to be in imminent danger.

    Prioritizing arrest warrants for abusers who are flagged as particularly dangerous was one change announced Thursday afternoon at a city hall press conference. The chair of the city’s domestic violence task force, councilwoman Delia Jasso, said the city is working with Dallas police and local shelters to make changes to decrease domestic violence.

    Other plans included launching a more aggressive awareness campaign and implementing a domestic violence related program in Dallas schools.

    These announcements come just days after Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings held his own press conference to address the issue. They also come the week after a former school security guard allegedly shot and killed his wife as she left work after years of documented domestic problems.

    “We’ve always known that domestic violence is a big problem in our city,” Jasso said. “But within the last few weeks and even the last few days, we’ve seen the number of cases and victims rise at an alarming rate.”

    Deputy Chief Sherryl Scott said police have already begun working to serve warrants still outstanding.

    Police will use additional manpower, such as a special task force that addresses problem areas, to help address the backlog. Officers will use lethality assessments – 11 yes-or-no questions asked during domestic violence calls to ascertain whether the call is high-risk – to help determine which warrants to prioritize, she said.

    “We are going to do everything we can to get those warrants served as quickly as we can,” she said.

    In order for this to be effective, Jasso said officials will need to work closely with victims so police can get the information they need to make an arrest and so prosecutors can build an effective case.

    Jasso also announced a more aggressive awareness campaign to give victims and families the resources they need to get help. That includes reaching out to places of worship and extending outreach beyond domestic violence awareness month.

    Anti-domestic violence billboards will run more often and more consistently. They’ll also offer hotline phone numbers as a resource, Jasso said.
    “That seems to be the quickest way to help someone,” she said.

    Jasso also announced a Dallas police program called “Blue in School,” which is meant to help children feel more comfortable reporting domestic violence and also end the cycle of violence. That program is in the planning stage, Scott said.

    Jasso encouraged victims to seek help.

    “We need to know who you are to get you the help you need,” she said. “One time you’re hit is one time too many.”

    Read full article in Dallasnews.com.

    Watch New Dallas Initiatives To Battle Domestic Violence from CBS-Dallas.

  • CultureMap Dallas Sums Up Why Mike Rawlings Was Right to Call Out Dallas Men

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 15, 2013

    Why Mike Rawlings was right to call out Dallas men regarding domestic violence

    by Eric Celeste
    January 15, 2013
    CultureMap Dallas

    It was 7:30 am when Mayor Mike Rawlings called Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place. It was the day after the high-profile murder of Karen Cox Smith at UT Southwestern, and Rawlings was deeply troubled by the facts of the case. Especially that Smith’s husband, her accused killer, had a warrant issued for his arrest three weeks earlier but had not been arrested.

    “He was very sincere, very distraught,” Flink says. “He just wanted to know, ‘What should we do?’ Because he felt he had to do something.”

    Which led to yesterday’s press conference, in which the mayor promised support to help police combat domestic violence and chastised men to stop friends and family members from committing partner abuse.

    JFloyd gets it exactly right in her column this morning in which she admits wondering about Rawlings’ sincerity before the news conference began. She notes that she was initially cynical about his message (basically, men need to do more to stop friends and family from committing spousal abuse) and the details of his plan to combat this (100 more officers serving domestic violence warrants, plus a commission to determine how to change the culture of silence surrounding spousal abuse).

    I was too. It struck me beforehand as an empty gesture. But after watching Rawlings’ emotional pleas to Dallas men, and after talking to Flink, whose nonprofit for 35 years has helped the victims of family abuse, I’m convinced the mayor’s efforts are not only heartfelt but also worthwhile.

    If Police Chief David Brown says 100 more officers targeting domestic violence cases will help, I believe him. His oversight of the city as crime has continued to fall means he’s earned enough respect and trust to give him these resources.

    The emotional part of Rawlings’ speech came when he addressed men directly. He said it was “our fault” that spousal abuse is a continued blight on our city. And he challenged men to be man enough to do something to stop friends or family members whom we suspect are committing such crimes.

    Flink says she spent time over the weekend working with Rawlings’ speechwriter as needed, but that the more they dove into it, the more Rawlings took control of the speech and made it his own. He specifically wanted to scold men to do more in seeking out clues that could shed light on domestic problems before they escalate, as so many do.

    “He really thinks men can help do something about this, and I agree,” Flink says. “Only men can stop other men. The Family Place was started by women, and we help many people in need. But men must stand up to those they think might be hurting women. We see it all the time. They think it’s not their place. But it is their place.”

    Changing attitudes won’t be easy. For one, the scope of the problem is hard to define. Spend any time searching for updated statistics on domestic violence, and you’ll see there aren’t many, and there are none that suggest authoritative certainty. (Are there 600,000 or 6 million victims a year?) But most studies suggest that three out of four people will know someone affected by such violence, and therefore it seems worth trying to reach them.

    Another problem is in changing cultures. Most of those studies will show a link between class and spousal abuse — the poorer you are, often the less educated you are, and the less educated cling to the feelings of power and control such actions provide.

    But that also means that some in higher economic brackets may wrongly feel as though they don't need to be drafted in this war. As Steve Eagar, Channel 4 news anchor, put it in an oddly defensive Facebook post:

    I just don't think 'friends and buddies' know. Not something you share with your golfing buddy. The idea of the news conference was right, the accusatory nature of it seemed weird. I want to see the stats.

    Really? Because the only stat I need to see is from Flink’s editorial, in which she said they turned away more than 700 women in 2011 at The Family Place because their beds were full.

    Of course, Eagar’s post generated more than 30 comments, including from women who’d been abused and whose friends and family knew but did nothing. Because it’s more prevalent than you think, which was the mayor’s point, which is why his sincerity and openness about this issue should be taken seriously. Especially by those of us who were callous enough to doubt him in the first place.

    Read the full article on CultureMap Dallas.

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings calls on Dallas men to stop domestic violence

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 14, 2013

    Mayor Mike Rawlings makes an emotional plea to Dallas men to stop domestic violence

    by Christina Rosales
    January 14, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Mayor Mike Rawlings, backed by Police Chief David Brown and domestic violence victim advocates, made an emotional plea to the city of Dallas, and the men in particular, to stop domestic violence.

    “It’s our fault,” the mayor said at the press conference Monday afternoon at Dallas City Hall. “It’s not the women’s fault.”

    The mayor spoke to media about the jump in homicides in Dallas in the past year, which Brown has said recently can be attributed to family violence.

    “We want to make it known that any violent act toward a woman will not be tolerated by the men in the city,” Rawlings said.

    The mayor also introduced his idea for a public awareness campaign, “to change the male culture” in the city, that will launch in the spring. He said he has an executive team selected already, including Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House, State Rep. Rafael Anchia and Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten and Marco Rivera.

    Read the full article on Dallasnews.com.

    Watch the full press conference on UStream.

  • PaperCity Shares Photos from the 2012 Partners Card Wrap-Up Party

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 14, 2013

    Take a look at the 2012 Partners Card coverage in PaperCity





    Click on the link to see all the photos from PaperCity -http://www.papercitymag.com/Parties/Archives/5937/2012-Partners-Card-Wrap-Up-Party/

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Reynolds Holds Press Conference on Preventing Family Violence

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 14, 2013

    In response to the recent acts of violence, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will be holding a press conference at 1:30 pm this afternoon, Monday, January 14 at the Dallas City Hall Flag Room. The Mayor is calling on the community to get involved with preventing family violence, that one murder is one too many!

    Tune in live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dallasmayorsofc!

    MEDIA ALERT: Press Conference moved to 1:30pm

    Mayor Mike Rawlings reflects on recent acts of violence

    WHAT: After the incident in Newtown and the rise in violent offenses in our community, especially domestic violence, Mayor Mike Rawlings announces plans for a strategy to reflect on our community’s role in dealing with these issues.

    WHO: Mayor Mike Rawlings

    WHEN: Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    WHERE: Dallas City Hall (Flag Room) 1500 Marilla Ave., Dallas, Texas 75201

    Related news items:




  • Partners Card 20th Anniversary Success Highlighted in PinkMemo

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 10, 2013

    Partners Card Celebrates 20th Anniversary Success at Bachendorf's

    by Maxine Trowbridge
    PinkMemo Dallas

    Before 2012 ended with holiday festivities The Family Place celebrated the success of its 20th anniversary for Partners Card at Bachendorf’s on Preston Road with the results wrap-up party.


    Bank of Texas Cass Robinson and Partners Card 2012 co-chairs Gay Donnell, Kathryn Henry and Dawn Spalding

    Bank of Texas Cass Robinson and Partners Card 2012 co-chairs Gay Donnell, Kathryn Henry and Dawn Spalding.

    Katy Duvall and Nancy Scripps

    Katy Duvall and Nancy Scripps.

    John Hardy jewels sparkled on models during the cocktail reception and trunk show as Paige Flink Executive Director for The Family Place, along with Partners Card Co-Chairs Kathryn Henry, Gay Donnell and Dawn Spalding, revealed the final results for this milestone event.

    Paige Flink and Lynn McBee

    Paige Flink and Lynn McBee.

     Melissa Sherrill and Shivangi Pokharel

     Melissa Sherrill and Shivangi Pokharel.

    Top card sellers, volunteers, supporters and guests celebrated—topping the $1M mark for the second year in a row, the 2012 Partners Card shopping extravaganza achieved a stunning $1, 115, 854.00. Partners Card is the largest fundraiser for The Family Place, and this significant sum will go directly to families in need of support from family violence. Dallas you should feel proud! The Family Place.

    Read more at PinkMemo.

  • Make our elected officials in Texas pay attention to family violence with the Purple Postcard

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 09, 2013

    Join the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) in calling on state legislators to prioritize full funding for family violence shelter and resource centers in the upcoming 83rd Session of the Texas legislature. Along with actual postcards ...from thousands of constituents all over the state, TCFV will collect all virtual Purple Postcards completed online and deliver to them to the legislature in March 2013. Help convince your elected member of the legislature to Go Purple!

    Share this message and make sure all Texans have an opportunity to emphasize the importance of this message to our elected state officials.

    Fill out your virtual Purple Postcard at http://www.tcfv.org/our-work/legislative-legal-advocacy/purple-postcard-initative!

    the Purple Postcard - TCFV

  • The Family Place is one of the 2012 beneficiaries of the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 09, 2013

    The Family Place is one of the 2012 beneficiaries of the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities. Here's our Executive Director Paige Flink with Pat and Emmitt Smith. Learn more about the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities at http://www.emmittsmith.com/pat-and-emmitt-smith-charities.

    Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities - 2012 Grant Recipients

  • Modern Luxury Dallas Recaps the 2012 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon

    by Manju Alexander | Jan 09, 2013

    Family Values

    January 2, 2013
    Modern Luxury Dallas


    A venerable roster of honorees and their grateful supporters filled the Dallas Ballroom at the Omni hotel for the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon, with proceeds benefiting The Family Place. Chaired by Anh and Loc Trieu, Amanda and Lloyd Ward and honorary chairs Diane and Daryl Johnston, the sold-out affair recognized the service of Kenneth Cooper, Lynn Goldstein, Kathryn Hall, Liz Minyard, Verizon and students Renee Kim and Elaine Landi. A rousing, inspirational message by Don McPherson, retired football pro turned gender advocate and motivational speaker, brought guests to their feet. Photography by Jeremy Brown and Sunny Lohden.

    Read more and view pictures at modernluxury.com.

  • Dallas Police Chief Reports Domestic-violence Murder is on the Rise

    by Manju Alexander | Dec 11, 2012

    Dallas Police Chief David Brown tells council domestic-violence murder is on the rise

    By Tanya Eiserer
    The Dallas Morning News

    10 December 2012

    Domestic violence-related murders are on the rise in Dallas.

    In 2011, the city recorded 10 such murders. But the tally has hit 25 through almost the first 11 months of 2012, Dallas police officials said Monday.

    “That’s a significant increase,” Police Chief David Brown told council members during a meeting of the council’s public safety committee.

    Brown cited the increase as one of the factors driving murders up in the calendar year: There were 133 murders in all of last year, the lowest total since 1967, but there have been 148 murders this year as of Monday.

    Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter, says she’s troubled by the spike in domestic violence-related murders, and believes it may be partially related to ongoing economic difficulties many families face.

    “Just stop and think how many lives that represents and how many kids whose parents aren’t around,” Flink said. “It’s more than just a number.”

    Flink also believes the easy access to guns plays a huge role, pointing out that “guns and domestic violence are a dangerous combination. It’s not about gun control, but it’s about access to guns in the heat of the moment.”

    During the committee meeting, Brown said that the department has beefed up the number of detectives assigned to the family violence unit. Over the last two years, the number of detectives working in that unit has risen from 12 to 29.

    The department also has expedited the filing of many misdemeanor family violence cases with prosecutors, and improved the unit’s case tracking systems.

    In October, the department started a “lethality assessment” pilot program in which patrol officers ask 11-yes-or-no questions during domestic violence calls to ascertain whether a domestic call is a high-risk situation. If it is, the officer will explain to the victim that people in such situations have been seriously hurt or killed. Then the officer will call a domestic violence hotline and urge the victim to speak immediately to a counselor.

    “We’ve actually changed what happens at the scene when we’re called to a domestic violence incident,” Brown said.

    Police officials adopted the program after a Dallas Morning News story explored the department’s lack of a systemic approach to identifying high-risk domestic violence situations before something deadly happens.

    Flink said the shelter has already seen a change since the program took effect.

    In October, the first month of the program, The Family Place housed 105 people, compared with 32 in the month the year before.

    “It’s absolutely increased how many [hotline] calls we have and how many are coming in for shelter,” she said. “What’s interesting is that they aren’t staying as long as our regular clients do.”

    Flink said the new clients are getting help where they didn’t in the past largely because the officers who are warning them when they’re in danger are authority figures.

    She also said that she’s seen a change in the attitude of the department’s overall response to family violence.

    “This is the most communication I’ve had with DPD in five years,” she said. “It makes a big difference to have that line of communication.”

    Read more in The Dallas Morning News

  • The Brookhaven Courier Talks about The Family Place's Efforts to Raise Awareness

    by Manju Alexander | Dec 03, 2012

    Local Nonprofit Group’s Efforts Raise Awareness

    By Seferina Limones
    The Brookhaven Courier
    November 29, 2012

    Domestic violence may not always be the easiest topic of conversation, but with October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s time that people begin the dialogue and become aware of what can happen behind closed doors.

    Domestic violence is one of the most underreported and common crimes today. According to www.domesticviolencestatistics.org, every nine seconds a woman will be beaten or assaulted, meaning approximately 1.3 million women will be victims of domestic violence this year alone.
    There are groups such as the Family Place that are dedicated to educating everyone on the devastating impact of domestic violence.

    The Family Place is a year-round advocacy group dedicated to helping families and victims combat abuse and violence with two offices in the Dallas Metroplex, one of which is located at 4300 MacArthur Avenue.

    The Family Place has done more than just spread awareness. It educates the youth of the Metroplex about the warning signs of an abusive person as well as teaches preventative tactics, according to its website.

    Violence in the home does not only affect the person who is experiencing it, but those who witness the crime. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, up to 10 million children this year will witness some form of domestic violence. According to the domestic violence statistics webpage, men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their partner than sons of nonviolent parents.

    According to its website, The Family Place offers several varieties of awareness groups. Each group appeals to specific age ranges and the situations people of that group could experience or prevent from happening. The goal is to educate youth before violence happens by starting school programs in third grade. Material covered varies from sexual harassment to cyberbullying, showing the difference between playful banter and signs of future danger.

    The website also states that the school groups are offered up to grade 12. After high school graduation, former students are offered a place in Be Group Leadership Groups. These select students help spread awareness and encourage other students to join the groups to gain knowledge. Over the years, the Family Place’s awareness campaigns have ranged from skit teams to last year’s free concert. People of all ages, in relationships and not, can attend and learn how to stop the violence.

    For more information on these programs, domestic violence facts and how to spread awareness, readers can visit www.familyplace.org or like it on Facebook.