TEXAS VIEW: Funding needed to help victimsTHE POINT — Domestic violence is an issue that affects all of us.

Domestic violence touches so many facets of society. It knows no boundaries.
It can happen in young couples as well as those who have spent most of their lives together. It is in wealthy households as well as in the poor.
Many times it goes undetected by friends and family for a long time because there are no visible signs of abuse or the victim has gotten good at hiding the signs through clothing or avoiding social encounters.
And sadly, it can end in death.
The definition of domestic violence is simple enough — if a person is living with fear of harm or death, he or she is a victim of domestic abuse.
It is so much more prevalent than most people believe. On average four to six domestic violence cases are reported in Victoria a night, according to information from the Mid-Coast Family Services.
If you do the math, that is a staggering 1,460 to 2,190 cases a year that are reported to police in Victoria alone.
That number is hard to grasp. It is hard to even try to understand why a person would harm someone they love and share a life with.
But in the ugly reality of life, domestic abuse happens. Last year Mid-Coast Family Services worked with 800 people, mostly from the Crossroads, who were trying to escape an abusive home life — half of those sought shelter in the agency’s shelter.
The Crossroads is fortunate to have the services of Mid-Coast Family Services to work with people who have been battered physically and emotionally.
The agency’s contact with the victims starts with a phone call to its 24-hour hotline. The call is a huge step for the battered person to take to admit they are battered and want help getting away from the abuser.
But once that call is made, trained staff members go to work to help that person. The help can include counseling for the battered and their children, lining up free legal assistance, helping them line up housing, among other services.
But before Mid-Coast can do any of this, they have to have the money to keep their shelter open and have staff to help.
Mid-Coast is concerned it may not get enough funding from the state this legislative session to keep the entire shelter open.
At the beginning of the 2017 legislative session, agencies like Mid-Coast were told to expect a 10 percent cut in state funding because the budgetary coffers are tighter than last session.
Mid-Coast is asking for $220,000, even though their need is higher than that and continues to grow.
The agency gets funding from three sources — the state, fundraising and United Way of Victoria County.
The United Way allocated $85,100 to Mid-Coast last year — the highest amount given to any one agency.
If the state funding is cut, chances are great that Mid-Coast would have to cut staffing and close one wing of the shelter. The home, which runs at 100 to 125 percent capacity on a regular basis, would not be able to serve as many people as they do now.
That option is not acceptable.
People who are trying to escape abusive relationships and make a better life for themselves, and in many cases their children, need a safe place to call home while they figure out what they need to do and transition into a new life. To take that first step to escape an abusive relationship and seek help takes tremendous courage and strength.
Crossroads residents can support those brave people, who are most of the time women with children, by contacting their state representative and state senator and simply say cutting funding to such vital programs is not acceptable.
We are confident that as the legislators are buried with letters, emails and phone calls supporting Mid-Coast and similar programs across the state, they will see that fully funding these agencies is the humane thing to do.
By the community stepping up to give its support, the funding received may save the life of a friend, neighbor or family member who is able to escape an abusive relationship and start anew.