The Family Crisis Center of East Texas Urges Safety Planning & Support Because Domestic Violence Doesn’t Take a Holiday

LUFKIN, TX (December 1, 2023) – As the winter holidays approach, the Family Crisis Center of East Texas emphasizes the importance of safety planning in the midst of what can be a stressful time for many individuals and families.

Navigating the pressures of gift hunting, party planning, and increased time with relatives can create tension in already abusive relationships, making it crucial to prioritize both personal well-being and that of loved ones.

Regrettably, the holiday season intensifies dangers for some individuals facing domestic violence. Financial strain, heightened alcohol consumption, strained family relations and extended time with abusers can exacerbate ongoing emotional and physical abuse.

While calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline are notably lower on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the organization witnesses a surge in calls in the weeks following New Year’s.

“This delay suggests that victims often postpone seeking help in hopes of maintaining stability during the holidays,” said Whitney Burran, executive director of the Family Crisis Center of East Texas.

To address this concern, the agency encourages individuals to develop safety plans in advance, providing a strategic approach to minimize risk and leverage available resources or support.

Any individual experiencing high lethality or an emergency situation is encouraged to call 911. However, if individuals choose to stay, the Family Crisis Center is available with free resources, including safety planning.

“Safety planning is a crucial aspect for individuals facing domestic violence, providing a structured approach to enhance their well-being and protect against potential harm, during the holidays or any day of the year,” said Burran.

A comprehensive safety plan typically involves identifying safe spaces within the home, establishing communication strategies with trusted individuals and creating an emergency escape plan.

“For instance, survivors might arrange a code word or signal with friends or family to discreetly convey danger, said Burran.


Additionally, safety planning can involve packing a bag with essential documents, medications, and necessities in a concealed location to expedite a quick departure if necessary. Understanding local resources, such as the Family Crisis Center, is vital for immediate assistance.

“Safety planning empowers survivors to proactively address their unique circumstances and fosters a sense of control amidst challenging situations, explained Burran. “The agency provides free, confidential safety planning services that are tailored to each individual’s needs and circumstances.”

As the agency anticipates a surge in shelter visits during the upcoming month of January, the organization extends an open invitation to the community to actively participate in providing essential support.

The agency is asking for monetary donations as part of its Provide a Night of Shelter initiative to facilitate the continuation of its critical services. A contribution of just $35 will cover one night of shelter, offering survivors not only a warm bed but also hot meals and a secure environment.

The post-holiday season often witnesses an increase in individuals seeking shelter or assistance, making this time crucial for community support. With a targeted fundraising goal of $50,000 by December 31st, the agency aims to secure funding for over 1,400 nights of shelter. It is important to note that the average shelter stay is approximately 30 days.

The Provide a Night of Shelter initiative underscores the immediate impact of community involvement and highlights the role each donation plays in fostering a safer and more compassionate environment for survivors.

“Your generosity can make a significant impact by providing a safe haven for those seeking refuge from violence during a critical time,” said Burran.

To make a donation and provide 1, 3, or even five nights of shelter or more, visit or mail a donation to P.O. Box 510 Lufkin, TX 775902.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-828-7233 or send a confidential text to 936-552-9256.