Finding a safe path for victims of domestic violence
Gallup Battered Familes Services to be awarded SAFER Fund Grant

GALLUP, NM — Since 1979, the Gallup Battered Families Services (GBFS) has provided safe shelter and resources for those experiencing domestic violence at home — but the past year has been like no other.

GBFS has been on the front lines for women and children fleeing domestic violence situations exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This spring, the Shelter Action for Family Emergency Response (SAFER) Fund award will help to prepare the groundwork for a new shelter for women and children experiencing domestic violence.

In McKinley County, which has the second-highest occurrence of domestic violence incidents for all counties in New Mexico, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the social and economic circumstances that can contribute to domestic violence in homes. It has also limited the amount of intervention services, like therapy and safe housing, that can help diffuse dangerous situations.

“We’ve seen an increased demand for safe shelter for women and families. It’s been a shadow pandemic behind COVID-19,” noted Emily Ellison, Executive Director of Gallup Battered Families Services. “Over the past year, we’ve been limited in the number of people we could safely shelter, but now we’re elated that our services will expand beyond what we could do before COVID-19.”

The SAFER Fund is a partnership between New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families Department and four local philanthropic organizations. The SAFER Fund is housed at New Mexico Foundation and welcomes additional donations ( The first round of grants started in June, and GBFS is the first organization invited to apply.

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