FORT WORTH -- Calls to SafeHaven of Tarrant County, where people seek refuge from dangerous relationships, increased 117 percent from 2007 to 2009.
But it's not just the number of calls that concern SafeHaven workers.
"We've had some instances of the abuser finding out that his victim is seeking our services and passed on veiled threats to our staff," President Mary Lee Hafley said.
The viciousness of some abusers' threats and their willingness to attack those trying to help abused women and families keep Hafley up at night, she said.
"I see a lot of people willing to step over a line that was seldom crossed before," Hafley said. "I think it really galvanizes the staff and makes them realize how necessary their training is. For my director of HR, it scares her to death."
The economy cannot explain all the increase, nor can it explain the ferocity of attacks some women are experiencing, Hafley said. Finances and stress are compounding factors in abusive relationships and may shorten the cycle of domestic violence but don't fully account for the escalation.
It is taking place statewide, workers at domestic abuse shelters said.
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