NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - During the holidays, providers for domestic abuse victims expect their caseloads to increase.
In the last quarter of this year, the Family Crisis Center of East Texas has 523 cases before counselors.
The agency that serves nine counties saw cases jump four percent during the third quarter.
They say a similar increase is expected during the final quarter of the year.
East Texas News found out why the number of reported abuse cases go up this time of year and why in 2017 more victims are likely to leave those unhealthy relationships.
It's been 10 years since Jaime West left a one-year abusive relationship.
"That has formed my entire life," West said. "That is what encouraged me to become an advocate."
The second-grade teacher and mother of two stopped everything to share a fact she wants women to know. The holidays can put a strain on already delicate relationships.
"Money is always difficult regardless what time of the year," West said. "If people are struggling financially than it puts a strain on the relationships which potentially makes the abuse increase."
That's when West got out. She believes recent news stories about sexual misconduct may influence more women to leave abusive situations. When the decision comes, West advises to have a plan and gather essentials.
"Social security cards, birth certificates," West said. "Any kind of marriage papers you have or custody papers."
Today, children are among the almost 75 living this week in the Family Crisis center safehouse. They gain comfort from a therapy dog while their parent receives coping skills. A support system is essential.
"A lot of what we do is education to empower people for themselves and to be bystanders that intervene that are equipped to intervene in bad situations," said Greta Rich, the organization's community development.
A motto the Family Crisis Center uses is "Love should never hurt." It helped lead West to the happiness she shares today.
The Family Crisis Center of East Texas has a hotline number and even a number to send a text should the person not want their call for help be heard. The number for the 24-hour hotline is 1 (800) 828-SAFE. People may also send a text to (936) 552-9256. Click here for the Family Crisis center website.