Ensuring safety for survivors and their families

Written by SAFE

When SAFE advocates first spoke with Francine last year, she was living with a partner who used abuse, but she wasn’t ready to leave the relationship.

From the outside looking in, it’s easy to think, “why don’t you just leave?” But for many people in violent relationships, it’s not that simple—and not that safe. Some survivors are afraid of escalating the violence by leaving, some don’t have the financial resources to on their own, and many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit they are experiencing abuse.

People who use abuse rely on feelings like these to control their partners. In Francine’s case, she was most afraid of leaving her home without her four children. Their safety was her biggest concern.

After calling SAFE, she enrolled in Community Resource Advocacy, a SAFE program that provides assistance with housing, financial needs, legal referral information, case management, and a variety of other services catered to clients’ needs.

Francine was determined to leave her abusive partner, and was doing everything she could to keep herself and her loved ones safe. But late last year, her safety needs escalated and staying in her home was no longer an option. She and her four children entered the SAFE Family Shelter.

After settling in, Francine found herself in a more stable place where she could focus on finding a new home away from her partner. With the assistance of our CRA team, she applied to several apartments in her price range that met the needs of her and her kids. Many of our clients who are experiencing homelessness have limited rental history, which makes it hard to find an apartment that accepts their application—and considering the Austin-area’s housing market, it’s that much harder.

But she had the backing of advocates who were dedicated to finding her a safe home. After a couple weeks, Francine’s application was accepted. She moved into her new home just before the cold weather hit last winter.

The financial support from SAFE and our partner orgs helped Francine find stable housing away from her abusive partner, which in turn gave her the opportunity to take on more hours at work. She told our advocates that she now has a level of financial independence that she didn’t think was possible before and a newfound sense of safety for herself and her children.