The Texas Council on Family Violence promotes safe and healthy relationships by supporting service providers, facilitating strategic prevention efforts, and creating opportunities for freedom from domestic violence.
Since 1978, the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) has been a nationally recognized leader in the efforts to end family violence through partnerships, advocacy and direct services for women, children and men. TCFV is one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation, with a membership comprised of family violence service providers, supportive organizations, survivors of domestic violence, businesses, communities of faith and other concerned citizens. As a membership-focused organization, TCFV is firmly committed to serving its members, communities in Texas and thousands of victims of domestic violence and their families.
We host an array of dynamic signature conferences, summits, training events, webinars, and prevention efforts throughout the year to support the capacity building of member programs and enhance community responses to family violence throughout the state. TCFV also serves as the unified voice before the Texas legislature on behalf of family violence survivors and service providers to support laws that assist victims and survivors.
TCFV’s three major focus areas are:
Support to Service Providers: TCFV educates and trains victim advocates, criminal justice personnel, health care providers, faith communities, businesses, advocacy organizations, service providers and allied professionals in communities throughout Texas and the nation. We host hundreds of local, statewide, and online trainings each year and answer thousands of technical assistance calls for family violence and battering intervention and prevention programs each year. We’re committed to supporting every program in Texas with the expertise and materials they need to keep survivors safe and hold batterers accountable.
Public Policy: The TCFV Public Policy Team strives to serve as a unified voice before the Texas Legislature on behalf of domestic violence victims by supporting the drafting and passage of laws that will assist victims and survivors.
Prevention: The TCFV Prevention Team engages in long-term social change work towards the creation of a safe and healthy Texas. TCFV supports the prevention efforts of prevention educators, young people, and allied organizations through technical assistance, consultations, training, and online resources and provides a larger framework for communities across the state to engage in violence prevention.
Allowing women, children, men and families to live secure and violence-free is at the core of our work. TCFV supports this critical goal by offering these additional services:
- Assisting and supporting Texas domestic violence shelters, battering intervention and prevention programs and other family violence service providers.
- Providing prompt answers to thousands of technical assistance questions each year.
- Maintaining an extensive domestic violence-related Resource Center.
- Leading state and national public awareness efforts on the various domestic violence issues facing our country.
TCFV, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization with an integrated funding base of federal, state, private and public support.
Board of Directors
Leigh Ann Fry, President and Chair, Region 3
Mary Lee Hafley, Immediate Past Chair
Jaime Esparza, El Paso, Vice Chair
Frank Jackel, Treasurer, At-Large Director
Julia Spann, Secretary, Region 9
Jeff Allar, Austin
Shirley Cox, Arlington
Jaime Esparza, El Paso
Janet Lawson, Austin
Michelle Miller, Irving
Laura Squiers, Lufkin
Louise Thornell, Texarkana
Crayton Webb, Dallas
Jim Womack, Region 1
Carole Wayland, Region 2
Jim Malatich, Region 4
Shannon Trest, Region 5
Heather Kartye, Region 6
Sherri Kendall, Region 7
Frances Wilson, Region 8
Family Violence Programs
Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (Houston)
The Ark Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Shelter (Brownwood)
Bastrop County Family Crisis Center (Bastrop)
Bay Area Turning Point (Houston)
The Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Pasadena)
Brighter Tomorrows (Grand Prairie)
Casa De Misericordia (Laredo)
Center Against Sexual and Family Violence (El Paso)
The Crisis Center (Odessa)
Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee Counties (Jacksonville)
The Crisis Center of Matagorda and Wharton Counties (Bay City)
Crisis Center of the Plains (Plainview)
Denton County Friends of the Family, Inc. (Denton)
Domestic Violence Prevention (Texarkana)
East Texas Crisis Center (Tyler)
Eastland County Crisis Center, Inc. (Eastland)
Families in Crisis, Inc. (Killeen)
Family Abuse Center, Inc. (Waco)
Family Crisis Center of East Texas (Lufkin)
Family Crisis Center of the Rio Grande Valley (Harlingen)
The Family Place (Dallas)
Family Services of Southeast Texas (Beaumont)
Family Support Services (Amarillo)
Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. (San Antonio)
FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center (Humble)
Fannin County Family Crisis Center (Bonham)
First Step, Inc. (Wichita Falls)
Focusing Families (Hempstead)
Fort Bend County Women’s Center, Inc. (Richmond)
Freedom House (Weatherford)
Friendship of Women, Inc. (Brownsville)
Gateway Family Services (Snyder)
Genesis Women’s Shelter/Shelter Ministries of Dallas
Grayson County Crisis Center (Sherman)
Guadalupe Valley Family Violence Shelter (Seguin)
Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center (San Marcos)
Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center (Marble Falls)
Hope Alliance (Round Rock)
Hope, Inc. (Mineral Wells)
Hope’s Door (Plano)
Houston Area Women’s Center (Houston)
Hutchinson County Crisis Center, Inc. (Borger)
Johnson County Family Crisis Center (Cleburne)
Mission Granbury, Inc. (Granbury)
Mujeres Unidas/Women Together (McAllen)
New Beginning Center (Garland)
NewBridge Family Shelter (San Angelo)
Noah Project, Inc. (Abilene)
Phoebe’s Home, Twin City Mission Domestic Violence Services Program (Bryan)
Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County (Galveston)
SAAFE House (Huntsville)
Safe Place of the Permian Basin (Midland)
Safe Place, Inc. (Dumas)
SafeHaven of Tarrant County (Arlington, Fort Worth)
Shelter Agencies for Families in East Texas (SAFE-T) (Mt. Pleasant)
Southwest Family Life Center (Hondo)
Women in Need, Inc. (Greenville)
Women’s Center of East Texas (Longview)
Women’s Protective Services (Lubbock)
Women’s Shelter of South Texas (Corpus Christi)
Supporting Family Violence Programs
Abigail’s Arms – Cooke County Family Crisis Center, Inc. (Gainesville)
Asian Family Support Services of Austin
Atascosa Family Crisis Center, Inc. (Pleasanton)
Cross Timbers Family Services (Stephenville)
Deaf Smith County Crisis Center (Hereford)
Dove Project (San Saba)
Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend (Alpine)
The Haven Family Shelter of McCulloch County, Inc. (Brady)
Kendall County Women’s Shelter (Boerne)
The Montrose Center (Houston)
Mosaic Family Services (Dallas)
One Safe Place (Fort Worth)
Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, Inc. (Plano)
Wise County Domestic Violence Task Force (Decatur)
Alternatives Centre for Behavioral Health
Asians Against Domestic Abuse
BCFS Health & Human Services
Bexar County Family Justice Center
Behavioral Adjustment Counseling Center
Brobst Facial Plastic Surgery
Comal County Criminal District Attorney
Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center
Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC)
Family Care Connection
First Choice Social Services
Harris County District Attorney’s Office
Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council
The Harbor Children’s Alliance & Victim Center
Jane’s Due Process, Inc.
Katy Christian Ministries
Mary Kay Inc.
New Horizon Women’s Center (Quad County Council)
Nueces County Attorney’s Office
Parkland Health & Hospital System, Victim Intervention Program/Rape Crisis
Pink Ring Club
Tahirih Justice Center
Texas Advocacy Project
South Texas Empowerment of Women Center (STEWC)
The Human Solution
Travis County Counseling & Education Services
Val Verde County Attorney’s Office
Your New Beginning
Formation of the Texas Council on Family Violence
The Texas Council on Family Violence was fortunate to begin its work very early as the movement to end violence against women moved into the United States. Deborah Tucker hosted the first meeting for TCFV in April of 1978 as the Executive Director of the Austin Center for Battered Women, which later merged with the Austin Rape Crisis Center and is now SAFE Alliance.
Prior to the formation meeting, several of the founding members of TCFV began to analyze the challenges for battered women and their children, many while responding to sexual violence. The Austin Rape Crisis Center, the first rape crisis center in Texas, opened in 1974, and immediately began to receive calls from sexual assault victims as well as from those caught in an abusive relationship. Victims would say things like, “Can you help me? I wasn’t raped by a stranger…I was beaten and raped by my husband.” As other communities in Texas organized to respond to sexual violence, they too began to recognize the existence and need for services for victims of domestic violence.
Representatives from nine Texas communities – Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco – resolved to form an organization that would provide a unified statewide presence. At first, the group chose the name Texas Commission on Family Violence and set out to incorporate at the Secretary of State’s Office. The application to incorporate was denied because it was not possible to be called a Commission unless the entity was appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate! So TCFV named themselves the Council, not knowing that in most other states the name Coalition would be chosen for statewide efforts.
We sought to create opportunities for cooperation, coordination and collaboration with one another and with myriad organizations coming into contact with victims, offenders and their children as well as to improve laws and policies to hold offenders accountable and increase the safety of victims. Our original motto was Share What You Have, Ask for What You Need.
Toby Myers with the Houston Area Women’s Center was selected as the first Board Chair. As a formerly battered woman who was providing help to others, she embodied the combination of personal experience, formal education (doctorate) and professional services (counseling) that we knew would help articulate the mission and build the organization. Toby consistently brought passion, persistence and perspective to the Board.
The Beginning of Policy Advocacy for the Texas Council on Family Violence
From the very beginning, TCFV knew we would be approaching the Texas Legislature to ask for changes in laws as well as to create financial support from the State for prevention and intervention. Gwen Gordon of Waco was appointed the Coordinator Legislative Liaison.
In 1979, TCFV began work with Senator Chet Brooks of Houston/Galveston to establish a pilot funding program through the Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS). This program allowed for an appropriation of $200,000, which permitted the initial nine agencies to receive funding. In 1981, the following legislative session, Senator Brooks co-sponsored a bill with Representative Mary Polk of El Paso to establish the Family Violence Program in the TDHS, now part of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). This bill aligned closely with the recommendations made by TCFV. It provided on-going funding for family violence services while establishing a precedent with the state coalition and the state agency of cooperative work. With leadership from Senator Brooks, Representative Polk and many others, The Texas Legislature increased the funding to $1,000,000 and made it possible to support more than 30 programs. All subsequent legislative sessions have continued to increase funding and the number of programs receiving state support.
TCFV was also visible in the Capitol in legislation establishing protective orders, even though we were initially unsuccessful at including a criminal sanction for their violation. In 1981 we pushed for criminal sanctions. After that session, violating a protective order carried the consequence of a Class A misdemeanor.
From that point forward, TCFV advocated policy improvements and found important allies to propose needed changes. Some of the leaders in the Texas movement have also become members of the Texas Legislature: Juan Hinojosa, now a Texas Senator from McAllen, helped to start Mujeres Unidas/Women Together, sponsored significant legislation for TCFV, advocated for funding for programs and later served on the Board of TCFV.
The Beginning of Technical Assistance and Training for TCFV
Simultaneously, TCFV emphasized its technical assistance and training to support advancement of the direct services to victims as well as the prevention of family violence. A three year challenge grant from the Levi Strauss Foundation made a staffed office possible beginning January 1, 1982. It was matched with donations from the Haas Foundation, The Trull Foundation, and dues from programs and members who believed in our mission. Eve McArthur and Debby Tucker, both from the Austin Center became the initial staff of TCFV.
We began responding to calls for technical assistance and day-to-day problem-solving. We toured every shelter and family violence program in the state over that first year and wrote manuals, such as A Stitch in Time Saves Nine: Administering a Family Violence Shelter. When we wrote the legislation to fund local programs we also set aside 6% of whatever the Legislature appropriated for TDHS, and later HHSC, to administer the program. Another 6% was set aside to be used to provide technical assistance and training. TDHS contracted with TCFV to provide significant technical assistance and support to the local programs. With this approach of establishing special purpose set-asides, as funding grew for services, both the state government and the state coalition would also grow to further support the advancement of the work.
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, the Beginning of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the passage of the Violence Against Women Act
From our experience in Texas, we knew how effective it was to establish designated funding for the state domestic violence coalition within the statute supporting funding for direct services. This led to our advocacy to include a similar set-aside for funding of state-level work at the federal level. When the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) was first passed in 1984 we included a set-aside of 2.5% of whatever Congress appropriated to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families to specifically fund state domestic violence coalitions divided equally among all states and territories. Before the creation of the set-aside funding for state coalitions in FVPSA, only half of the states had established an office to perform state-level work and coordination. By the time we came together to form the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), almost every state had an office for their state coalition.
In 1989 TCFV advocated for the establishment of the Battering Intervention and Prevention Project (BIPP) and secured the initial allocation of $400,000 to provide funding for 14 programs working with men committing violence against family and household members. This was one of the first, if not the very first, state funding of civilian programs for intervention with offenders. There were some remarkable people involved in this effort including Toby Myers who were directing the battering intervention program at Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse. In addition, national organizations and stakeholders such as Men Stopping Violence, Emerge and Dr. Edward Gondolf advised TCFV in the development of the legislation and the program standards.
NNEDV led the effort to develop the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), initially passed in 1994, working closely with Vice President, then Senator, Joe Biden as well as House co-sponsor Senator, then Representative, Charles Schumer and Representative Patricia Schroeder to write the legislation. Representative Jack Brooks of Beaumont, Texas who chaired the Judiciary Committee in the House was crucial to the passage as well.
Founding of the National Domestic Violence Hotline
TCFV worked closely with Senator Edward Kennedy to draft legislation to provide federal funding for a national hotline. The original hotline operated by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence closed when their funding ran out. TCFV stepped up to reestablish a hotline. One of the more exciting last minute developments in the passage of VAWA was the agreement to amend Senator’s Kennedy’s Hotline legislation onto VAWA and have it pass as well in 1994! In August 1995, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services, awarded a grant to TCFV to establish the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and in February 1996 the Hotline opened.
Today, after nearly 40 years, TCFV has made significant contributions to the movement to end violence against women in Texas, the United States and around the world.