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Shelters Have More Options To Help Victims Escape Abuse

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Domestic violence claimed the life of one North Texas mother and later a separate attack nearly took another. Events on Thursday have a local shelter for abused women trying to educate victims, letting them know there are resources available to them that could save their lives.

Daniel Fink is accused of murdering his estranged wife in her Flower Mound home – all while their three children slept. A few hours later another woman's armed ex-boyfriend chased her out of her Cedar Hill house and down an alley. The gunman, now identified as Kamau Harbey,  shot the woman before fatally turning the gun on himself.

The Cedar Hill victim fortunately survived the attack. She reportedly was in the process of changing the locks on her house when she was attacked.

CBS 11 News asked abuse victims and experts what women can do in critical moments?

No one may ever know what happened inside those separate homes on Thursday, but it concerns Misti Hoover who has experienced domestic violence first hand.

"It kind if makes you wonder if they could have gotten out of the relationship or found a way out, but you never see it coming," she said.

Hope's Door
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Hoover escaped an abusive boyfriend with a broken nose. She's now getting help at Hope's Door in Plano. The shelter has new tools that encourage women to take protective action at the first sign of violence.

Aimee Ziegler is the shelter director. "You hope for the best but prepare sometimes for the worst, just so that people are safe as possible."

Hope's Door has a new website for women living in fear. She demonstrated how website visitors can click a large red "escape site" button at the top of the page. "You click this and it takes you right back to Google," Hoover explained. "No one is going to know you were on that site."

Laura Green didn't know about the website or other options, like the shelter's crisis cab and untraceable cell phones, when she was struggling to escape an abusive husband.

The proactive options may not stop an abuser with a weapon but can offer some protection to women who need it.

"I don't feel like it's their fault," Green said. "It's a cycle."

Thursday's shootings, like most domestic violence attacks, happened in the home. Experts say neighbors can often help abuse victims if they know to watch, listen and call police.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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