The Irving Family Advocacy Center is working to increase awareness of domestic violence. The center provides services and assistance to victims of crime, including victims of domestic violence. “It’s like a one-stop shopping,” said Sgt. Jim Spears, who oversees police operations at the center. “We have Child Protective Services here. We have victim services in the building. We have the counselors here in the building.” The center houses the police department’s Domestic Violence Unit, which investigates all family violence crimes and files cases for prosecution. The center also provides services to crime victims. The Victim Services Unit provides counseling and information to victims of violent crime. Nearly 400 families visit the Family Advocacy Center every month, Spears said. The facility is one of only two locations in Dallas County that performs forensic interviews with child abuse victims, Spears said. “They can talk to the children and find out what happened in the least evasive way so they’re not traumatized more out of it,” he said. Clinical supervisor Mildred Betancourt said it has been a challenge to educate some families about overcoming cultural taboos about reporting domestic violence.


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