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EXCLUSIVE: Inside Yuma’s only domestic violence shelter

Safe House grants FOX 9's Adam Klepp special access to see how staff deals with spike in victims

YUMA (KECY-TV, KYMA-TV) - Under the umbrella of Yuma Catholic Community Services, Safe House is the only domestic violence shelter in Yuma.

When victims first come into the shelter, they are brought to the counseling room where an advocate can learn more about their situation. Any kids who may be with the victim are given a blanket, book, a toy, and snacks.

Victims are offered fresh clothes, as well as a safe place to shower and sleep.

Jodie Wight is the director of Safe House. Wight says due to the pandemic, they're at full capacity, housing over 30 victims a night.

“Full capacity means we have one family unit in every single bedroom we have here," Wight says. "And we also have utilized overflow space, and have turned some of our other rooms, into bedrooms."

One of those rooms is the learning center.

It's meant for children as well as adults, with positive messaging on how to escape domestic violence. The windows on the room are covered, in case this room needs to be quickly turned into a bedroom unit for a victim who needs it.

Inside the learning center, which has pre-covered windows in case the room needs to be quickly turned into a bedroom.

While Safe House provides a temporary refuge for victims from abusers, it goes beyond that.

To finish my tour, I spoke with Safe House's lead advocate Gabriela Sanchez, who helps victims on a case by case basis.

“They’re safe while they’re here, but when they go to work, go to other places, that's why we work with them," Sanchez said. "They need to change a lot of stuff that they did with their partner.”

I asked Sanchez what her advice is for those who feel like they are in an abusive relationship.

“Don't be afraid to ask for help," she said.

The ultimate goal of Safe House is to help adults and families re-gain control and transform their lives, breaking the cycle of violence.

Safe House has been empowering survivors of domestic violence since 1983.

If you feel like you need help, you can call the local hotline at 928-782-0044.

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Adam Klepp

Adam Klepp is excited to start his first job in the broadcast news industry as the FOX9 at 9 anchor and as a reporter at 5 and 6 on News 11.

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