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Survivors of Spouse Abuse Plead For More Victim Shelters in Philadelphia

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(At a Philadelphia City Council hearing, Angelita Dorsey, Lisa Brown, and Renee Norris-Jones testify about the need for shelters of domestic abuse victims.  Photo from City of Phila. TV)

(At a Philadelphia City Council hearing, Angelita Dorsey, Lisa Brown, and Renee Norris-Jones testify about the need for shelters of domestic abuse victims. Photo from City of Phila. TV)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dramatic testimony came today in Philadelphia City Council from women who have suffered through — and escaped from — domestic abuse.

The hearing focused on the limited number of emergency shelters for battered women.

“For myself, I am very lucky to be alive,” said Renee Norris-Jones (at right in photo), among victims of domestic violence who testified before Council’s Public Safety Committee.  Her tale of seven years of abuse was echoed by another victim, Lisa Brown (center of photo):

“I felt in my heart, one of us was going to die if I stayed there.  One day — I’m not sure how — I ran.  I packed only the clothes my children and I had, and left.”

Both women said were it not for emergency shelters, they might not have survived.

But officials with the Philadelphia-based group Women Against Abuse testified that their emergency shelter has only 100 beds, and that last year they turned away 7,700 requests for shelter.

The city itself offers beds for those considered homeless, and does not reserves beds specifically for victims of abuse.

“That in 2012, that we have to ask for additional beds so that a city the size of Philadelphia is in line with other cities — it’s mind-boggling to me,” Norris-Jones told the committee.

A third victim, Angelita Dorsey (at left in photo), pleaded to Council for more.

“I just need you to note the importance of creating more domestic violence shelters,” she said, “because if you don’t, there are going to be more people that are dead.”

The hearing comes a day before a broader Council committee on the impact of cuts in Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget to a wider range of public welfare services.

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