AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with Canyon Police Department announced the third annual Domestic Violence Faith Community Summit. The event took place on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Power Church, Located at 1344 SE 10th Ave.

The summit will speak on ways to prevent dating violence in youth and teens along with how churches can deal with the “domestic violence epidemic” in the community, the flyer for the event is detailed.

“We’re having our third annual faith-based community conference about domestic violence in our community, said Robert Love, Randall County District Attorney.” “We have invited churches, people who are affiliated with other faith-based entities in the community, to try to talk to them about what we’re doing in the domestic violence area and trying to solve a problem. That is a pretty big problem in our community right now”

This year’s event featured Carvana Cloud a former Houston Assistant District Attorney and the Founder and CEO of Empowered Survivor.

“Unfortunately, Texans are dying, said Cloud.” “In 2021, we experienced the highest number of domestic violence homicides across the state, so the need is great so it doesn’t matter whether you’re from Houston, whether you’re from Dallas, or whether you’re from this great city of Amarillo, we have to come together to be able to share ideas and best practices so we can stop the violence and ultimately, the homicides because it weakens the family unit.”

During the summit, leaders learned what domestic violence is, how it impacts minority communities, preventing dating violence in youth, mandating reporting requirements, and how the church can address and provide solutions in the community.

Since the pandemic domestic violence incidents have increased by 23 percent in the state of Texas, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 40.1 percent of Texas women and 34.9 percent of Texas men experience some form of domestic violence.

Michelle Shields, Director of Advocacy at Family Support Services said that anyone can provide support and that Family Services offers different resources for those impacted by domestic violence.

“It’s listening, it’s validating, it’s being present when someone’s believing them when they’re talking about it, stated Shields. “I also believe that sometimes it’s bigger than ourselves and knowing that they can reach out to family support services, where we link them with legal services with the criminal justice system, with emotional support with healing opportunities. We offer trauma, trauma. We offer trauma-informed yoga. We have support groups, and we have people who will accompany them to court, they may not realize just what’s available to them to walk through this and create a life free of abuse.”

Removing yourself from a relationship isn’t always as simple as just leaving due to the dynamic of the relationship and other key factors.

Love continued, “This is one of the only crimes that you’ll find where the victim of the crime loves the person who commits the crime. Some of them are long-term marriages, relationships, long-term relationships just outside of marriage, that they’ve been dating or seeing a person for a long time. The other complicating factor, a lot of the victims and the offenders have children together. Those are complicated issues in that you just can’t say, Why don’t you leave? Because there are more considerations than that.

The summit gave community members, faith leaders, and law enforcement officials the to work together and find solutions for domestic violence in its initial stages rather than wait until it is too late.

The overall message from the summit was clear. Love doesn’t hurt and there are people and resources ready to support those who need it.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence the National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE(2233). You can also text start to 88788 or visit their website.