Domestic violence shelters seeing record demand for help

LAS VEGAS -- So far this year, in Clark County, 19 women have been killed in connection with domestic violence.

That is the same number the county saw in all of last year.

Tens of thousands of people flee from violent relationships every year in the valley and there aren't enough resources available statewide to adequately rescue and rehabilitate every single person.

Some of these organizations have seen a record number of people seeking help, but they are not receiving record amounts of money. So, they are doing all they can, not to turn people away.

A woman we will call Jane survived an abusive marriage. After nine years, she reached her breaking point, escaping to the Shade Tree Women's Shelter.

"Words cannot explain, express myself how grateful I am in this place, every time I talk I about it. It is very emotional to me," Jane said.

"In the last two months, we've seen more people than we ever have welcome to the Shade Tree in the 25 years that we've been open," Shade Tree director Marlene Richter said.

Richter says more women are asking for help, but there is no additional state and federal dollars, which is why the valley needs more lifelines, like Shade Tree.

"We need more services for the victims and their children. We need services for men that are fleeing domestic violence. We need solutions, not just what we already have but more and more counseling programs," Richter said.

Richter says they have pulled out cots in open areas to avoid turning women and children away.

Across town, Safe Nest faces a similar challenge.

"We're consistently full but what we do is if we can't bring you in right away, we will work with you to find a safe place. We will do intensive safety planning to help you be as safe as you can," Lisa Lynn Chapman with Safe Nest said.

Services include shelter, counseling, protection orders and court advocacy, but not every survivor is saved.

"About 10 percent of all cases are reported, so in a county of 2 million, 10 percent of that, that is a huge number of individuals and we see and Metro sees just a small portion of the people who truly do need help," Chapman said.

The lack of resources in the valley won't stop non-profits from changing lives.

"It is hard to forget, but I forgive him, now I move on with my life for better future for me and my kids," Jane said.

Metro says each call and report is treated seriously but they say most women are afraid to file a report, or call someone.


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