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Waco Police Victim Services connects domestic violence survivors with resources

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 01, 2022

WACO, Texas — Domestic violence is a growing concern around the country. For cases in Waco, that's where the award-winning Waco PD Victim Services unit comes in.

They visit victims in-person an average of 600 times each year. In addition, they take roughly 1,500 phone calls. About a quarter of those cases deal with domestic and family violence.

"It happens with your neighbors, with your coworkers but you just might now know about it," Director of Victim Services Unit Melissa Beseda said. "Your victims typically are afraid to speak out. There is a safety concern."

Beseda said that between the fear and manipulation from an abuser, it takes an average of seven police visits before a victim will ask for help.

"Typically with a family violence victim, you can see a pattern," she said. "A pattern that has to play out. They have to reach a limit and be done with it."

Once they do reach that limit, victim services can help direct them to resources like counseling, financial assistance, and places like the Family Abuse Center. The center offers housing and support for men and women of all ages on their path to recovery.

"We are all creatures of belonging and wanting to have support from others," FAC Volunteer Coordinator Elysa Atmosfera told 25 News. "If we feel isolated and feel like there's nowhere to turn to, it's easy to stay stuck and feel like there's nowhere to turn."

Victims in Waco do have options for help and there's hope for healing as soon as they are ready to accept it.

"Coming here, being able to say enough is enough, wanting to work towards putting your life back together, our staff is here and ready to help support you in whatever you're needing to be free from domestic violence," Atmosfera said.

To get in touch with the Victim Service Unit, you can call the Waco Police Department at (254) 750-7500.