Shelter Ministries of Dallas began operating Genesis Women's Shelter in 1985 as a safe haven for women and children fleeing an immediate threat of domestic violence. The shelter is housed at an undisclosed location and rented from the City of Dallas for $1 per year. Each year, Genesis sees more than 650 women and children arrive at the Shelter, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The brave decision that ultimately saves their lives also leaves these families instantly homeless and hungry, and Genesis must meet all of their needs including clothing, food, shelter, and counseling. Each person staying in our Shelter is required to attend weekly individual and group therapy for the duration of their stay, and can remain in the Shelter program for up to six weeks. Additionally, Emergency Shelter children may attend the on-site alternative Genesis School. During this time, our Counselors and Case Managers guide them through the healing process and assist them in setting up a new life and a brighter future.
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Annie’s House Transitional Housing
Once families have completed the Shelter Program at Genesis, they can move on to our Transitional Housing Program at Annie’s House. Up to 18 families are able to live rent-free for 12 months in their own private apartments. Moms are required to work and save part of her income so that she will have the financial means to be truly self-sufficient. Here, they establish a home that is safe and loving, where mothers can bond and connect with their children, healing wounds that have been open for a long time.
In addition to the many women and children in the Dallas area currently living with domestic violence, many of the women and children who have completed our residential program are in need of ongoing counseling services. In response to this community need, Genesis opened our Outreach Office to provide individual and group counseling, as well as play therapy for children. Our 14 Outreach Counselors see more than 1,000 women and children each year, totaling more than 10,000 counseling hours. The waiting list for these services is constant and currently stands at 200.
Outreach Counseling is composed of individual and group therapy, children’s play therapy, teen counseling, counseling for friends and families of domestic violence, and legal services.
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Individual and Group Therapy
In addition to individual counseling sessions, weekly group meetings provide clients a chance to share their common experiences. Many clients feel a sense of relief to know that they are not alone in their journey. Parenting groups also provide a chance for clients to examine how they parent their children and also how domestic violence affects children.
Children's Play Therapy
Child therapy includes individual play therapy, children's educational groups, and adolescent counseling (for ages 2-18). Even though we are officially known as Genesis Women’s Shelter, most of the faces we see belong to children who have been impacted by domestic violence and are fleeing with their mothers to safety. They are the witnesses and often hidden victims of this family abuse. In order to intervene in the cycle of violence, our masters-level therapists use play therapy to facilitate a safe and comfortable environment, allowing children to express their pain and learn that hands are not for hitting and words are not for hurting.
In order to stop domestic violence from ever starting, prevention efforts must begin at an early age. One in three teens are in an abusive relationship today because they do not know the warning signs of abuse, and one half of teens will know a friend involved in a violent relationship. Arming teens with information on the warning signs, as well as how to help a friend, is a crucial component to prevention. Teens in these violent relationships are at a very high risk to go on to perpetrate further abuse or become victims of domestic violence in adulthood. Stopping these relationships in the early phases (before they go on to marriage and children) is a vital step in reducing domestic violence injuries and fatalities, as well as reducing the violence witnessed by future generations of children.
Counseling for Friends and Families of Domestic Violence
Individual and group therapy is available for friends and families of domestic violence victims.
Parent training teaches parents how to improve relationships with their children and how to break the cycle of violence with their children. It is provided on an individual basis and/or in a group with other parents.
Genesis partners with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas in order to provide legal counsel for our clients. Protective orders, divorce, and child custody are among our clients’ most common concerns. Genesis has an attorney on-site for clients to meet with during regular business hours.
Safety With a Protective Order
A protective order legally requires that the abuser stay 500 feet away from the victim's home or work and prohibits him or her from stalking, assaulting, harassing, and threatening the victim for two years. Protective orders may also be renewed. In order to apply, the abuser must be a spouse or ex-spouse, live in or ex-live in, a family member, related through marriage, or have a child with the victim.
For more information on how to obtain a Protective Order, please contact The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office at (214) 653-3600.
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- Keep your protective order with you and call the police if the abuser breaks a protective order.
- Inform family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers that you have a protective order in effect.