Hello SafeHaven Community!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are back in the swing of life as we know it. School and spring sports have begun and we’re already waiting for warmer temperatures. For us at SafeHaven, we have taken a deep breath after Santa’s Sack, Adopt-A-Family and holiday meals at the shelters. Yes, December was intensely busy for SafeHaven, and through it all we kept the most important thing the most important thing. That ‘most important thing’ for our community is keeping victims safe.
You may remember that in 2016, Tarrant County experienced 16 intimate partner violence homicides. These are 16 women who died at the hands of their partner – a spouse, boyfriend, or ex. That was our worst year on record. The relationship that should be the most loving we will ever experience ended up being deadly. In 2017, that number decreased to 12, in no small part due to the Domestic Violence High Risk Team you supported launching that year. In 2018, capacity increased on that team and our homicide statistic fell to five. This community decreased the statistic of those who died at the hands of their abuser by more than half in only 12 months.
There are a lot of factors in our community that contribute to a relationship ending in a homicide. SafeHaven works closely with our county’s courts, law enforcement and hospital systems to identify the most vulnerable relationships. This community’s multi-disciplinary team keeps victims safe and holds offenders accountable.
Five is a giant step in the right direction, but it is still five lives our community lost. Five women who will be missed in the workplace, in church, and – perhaps mostly – within families. This past holiday season, there were five empty seats at the family’s big turkey dinner and five less Christmas presents under the tree. Our goal is zero – zero intimate partner violence homicides for 2019. Let’s agree to keep our eye on that goal. The only way our community will reach zero is by acting as a community. Let’s all work to encourage equitable relationships, keep victims safe when relationships become abusive and hold one another accountable.
It is an exciting time in Tarrant County and we could not be happier sharing this movement with you. Thank you for your leadership and your cheerleading. We’re glad we’re in this work with you and we know we can get to zero together.
With best regards, I am
Kathryn Jacob, LMSW
President & CEO