Noah Project wants domestic violence victims to be aware of resources
ABILENE, Texas - About 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and a local organization is working to improve awareness of the issue in the Big Country. Noah Project is a care center for victims of family violence, and sexual assault, serving ten counties in West Central Texas. Executive director Dan Cox said their goal is to empower victims to become survivors before it's too late. "Everyone who comes into Noah Project has a personalized safety plan put together so that they know how to react when things start going bad, if they were met again by an abuser," Cox said. Cox shared the story of a woman who arrived at the shelter looking for help, and that turned her life around. "She came in with some broken bones and four children, she was able to stay a few days. Then she left, but she came back about 60 days later," Cox said. N ow the woman has a full time job and an apartment, and she is looking into getting enrolled in a nursing school, Cox said. But not every victim has a success story. Cox said 158 women were killed in Texas as a result of domestic violence in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Noah Project provided shelter to 652 victims and answered 2,172 crisis line calls. They provided outreach services to 491 clients and primary prevention training to over 33,000 school children in 2015. According to Abilene police records, two Abilene women have lost their lives to domestic violence in 2017. They say 40-year-old Jennifer Cunningham was killed by her boyfriend in May and 31-year-old Megan Dearman was killed by her boyfriend in January. The APD annual report for 2016 shows there were 1,945 domestic violence reports. In 2015 there were 2,193. Cox said he wants to spread the word on services offered at Noah Project. "We need to do as good a job as we can getting the information out that we're here and that help is available," Cox said. "They don't have to be afraid."