Marjaree Mason Center expects domestic violence to rise this summer

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.

Marjaree Mason Center Executive Director Nicole Linder says family gatherings with alcohol, stress from summer spending or kids home from school can all be factors that contribute to more domestic violence in the summer months.

"There was one day we had 12 different crisis intakes at one time," said Linder.
She says Fresno remains the county with the highest number of calls to law enforcement for domestic violence per capita.

Over the Memorial Day weekend in Fresno County, police say a husband killed his wife and himself in northwest Fresno, a man allegedly stabbed his wife to death in Huron with their children present, and Fresno Police responded to an attempted murder by stabbing between family members.

RELATED: Fresno area's holiday weekend sees multiple separate domestic violence attacks

"We are one of the largest domestic violence safe havens in the state but at this point, our capacity does not meet the demands," she said.

Right now, the facility's 40 family rooms are full. Seventeen additional families have been placed in alternate safe housing, which the Marjaree Mason Center pays cash for.

"Over the past three months, our emergency shelter has increased 24% over the same time period just last year," Linder said.

Not only is there more need, but the circumstances are becoming more alarming. When victims come to the Marjaree Mason Center, they are asked to fill out a 15-question lethality risk assessment. It's used to determine the probability that a victim has of being killed in their relationship.

Questions include: Has your partner threatened to kill you or your children? Does your partner have a gun or can your partner get one easily? Has your partner ever tried to strangle you?
"A score of five or higher is already considered highly lethal," said Linder. "During the month of April, our average score was 11.13."

The organization only gets so much funding from the city and county. But there's now a bill working its way through Sacramento that could mean more.

SB 914 would put a focus on domestic violence survivors and other vulnerable populations in local homelessness funding plans. Regardless of limited resources, the Marjaree Mason Center says nobody will be turned away.

"Nobody deserves to be living in an environment where it might be their last day on earth because somebody will shoot or stab them," said Linder.

You can support the Marjaree Mason Center through monetary donations here. Wishlist items to support victims can be found here.

Information about the Marjaree Mason Center Soiree fundraiser can be found here.
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