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First-of-its-kind Miami-Dade shelter helping male victims of domestic violence

MIAMI – It’s the first of its kind.  Miami-Dade County now offers a shelter to assist male victims of domestic violence.

This new Empowerment Center offers 60 beds and is the only one of the four with a wing for men.  The facility opened last October.

The Community Action and Human Services Department offers more than a safe space.  Assistant Director Ivon Mesa details various services, from mental health to financial assistance.

It’s part of an eight-week program at the shelter, sometimes longer, to empower victims to live independently of their abuser.

She tells CBS4 it often takes seven domestic violence episodes before a victim seeks help.

And in Florida, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that nearly 38% of women and 29% of men experience intimate partner abuse in their lifetime.

“You never know when you’re speaking with a victim of domestic violence, how prepared she or he is to finally take action,” said Mesa. “There’s that fear, and rightfully so, because we see victims getting killed.  It’s not a fake fear.  They have a legit fear because they know there could be consequences.”

Mesa said “how am I going to make it?” is one of the biggest concerns.  

“They don’t know we have shelters, financial assistance, legal assistance and mental health assistance,” explained Mesa.

Mesa shares 39 partners provide services to help empower adults and their children if need be.

To reach Community Action and Human Services Department in Miami-Dade, call (305) 285-5959 for more information if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.