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Texas Council on Family Violence Kicks Off Campaign Called “Young Hearts Matter” to Raise Awareness During National Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month in February

TCFV Honors the 2016 Young Hearts Matter Advocate of the Year Manor Girls Athletic Coordinator Coach Jennifer Pillich 

Austin, TX (February 16, 2016) – Today, Young Hearts Matter, a campaign to bring awareness to teen dating abuse, recognized key leaders across Texas during February, Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month.  Teen dating abuse happens in every school across Texas and the United States.

Events and programs to raise awareness allow students to come forward and get advice and help before a situation escalates to violent behavior.  In today’s environment, technology like social media and texting, can make it easy for teens and young adults to communicate, but it can also make it easy for a dating partner to use technology to harass, control and abuse their boyfriend or girlfriend.  The Texas Council on Family Violence is working to make sure students are engaged, educated and empowered to know their rights and know when they are involved in healthy and unhealthy dating relationships.

“Our work forces us to witness the outcomes of unhealthy, unsafe relationships.  Texas lost 132 women to domestic violence last year, 5 were 19 or younger,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “We raise awareness during the month of February, not just for the 5 young women who were murdered, but but for the countless other young hearts who are entering, enjoying, and exploring romantic relationships.  We recognize key influencers that profoundly shape, guide and empower young Texans.  Coach Jennifer Pillich embodies the powerful connection to youth that builds confidence and support.”

TCFV honored Coach Jennifer Pillich, Girls Athletic Coordinator, Manor ISD, Manor, Texas as Young Hearts Matter Advocate of the Year at the kick-off event for SafePlace in Austin.   This award recognizes an adult ally who partners with young people, is a leader for violence prevention in their community and has made prevention programming more accessible as a result of her efforts.

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Texas Leaders Celebrate 25 Years of Directing the Work of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Movements

Austin, TX – Each year, the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) convene leaders from the domestic and sexual violence movements in Texas at the Annual Executive Directors’ Conference: Directing the Work.  This year marks the Silver Anniversary of this important gathering and, while not all of the attendees are the same, the legacy and impact of the work over the last quarter of a century will very much be present.

“The Texas Council on Family Violence and our member organizations have gathered together for 25 years at an annual conference and diligently work to share strategies to reduce domestic violence in Texas.   While, we have made progress, domestic violence is still a deadly problem.   In 2014, over 84,000 Texas women and children sought shelter, counseling or housing services because their home was unsafe and filled with fear.  39% of requests for services went unmet because of lack of resources to meet their needs.  And most profoundly, 132 Texas women, ranging in age from 16 to 90, were killed by a male intimate partner.  We look forward bringing together domestic violence and sexual assault leaders to search for solutions to reduce sexual assault and domestic violence in Texas, “said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.

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The San Antonio Battered Women and Children’s Shelter Kicks Off a Holiday Giving Campaign

The San Antonio Battered Women and Children’s Shelter Kicks Off a Holiday Giving Campaign– the Same Way Black Friday and Cyber Monday Kicked-Off the Holiday Shopping SeasonBut Contributing to this Cause Can Help Save a Life and Help Victims of Domestic Violence in San Antonio

 A New Study Shows Bexar County has one of the Highest Numbers of Domestic Violence Homicides in the State of Texas  

 San Antonio, Texas – December 2, 2015 – The holidays are often thought of as the best time of the year.  It is a time for loved ones, celebration, and joy.  The holiday season can also be a time of excess.  Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Shop till you drop and a spending frenzy.  The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today joined the San Antonio Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, the San Antonio Police Chief and other local leaders to urge San Antonians to donate a small portion of their holiday spending dollars to help women and children who are not safe in their own homes this holiday season.

A new report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence shows an increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.  132 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2014.  119 women were killed in 2013.  114 women were killed in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.  Bexar County had 5 domestic violence homicides in this report with 5 murders.  In 2013, there were 7 domestic violence murders in San Antonio.  Harris County had the highest number of deaths with 23 domestic violence murders, followed by Tarrant and Dallas with 10 domestic violence homicides in each city, followed by El Paso and San Antonio with 5 murders in each city.

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Honoring Texas Victims: 132 Women Killed in Texas in 2014 El Paso County is One of the Top Five Counties with the Highest Number of Domestic Violence Homicides in the State with 5 Murders

New Report Released During Domestic Violence Awareness Month Shows Increase in the Number of Women Killed in Texas and an Increase in El Paso  

El Paso, Texas – October 5, 2015 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today released a new report that shows an increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.  132 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2014.  119 women were killed in 2013.  114 women were killed in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.  El Paso County also had an increase in the number of domestic violence homicides in this report with 5 murders.  In 2013, there were 3 domestic violence murders in El Paso.  Harris County had the highest number of deaths with 23 domestic violence murders, followed by Tarrant and Dallas with 10 domestic violence homicides in each city, followed by El Paso and San Antonio with 5 murders in each city.

In El Paso, Christina Bukovcik was murdered in her home by her husband Geomel Shaffa, Maria Duarte was stabbed and killed by her husband in their home, Laura Lara was assaulted by her boyfriend in his home and died at the hospital three days later, Maria Elena Sernas was shot and killed by her ex-husband Jorge Rojero in his home when she went back to retrieve some of her things and Jacqueline Valenzuela was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Carlos Torres.  Her 8-year-old son was present at the time of the murder.

Stephanie Karr, Executive Director of the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza and City Representative Emma Acosta, District 3 joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry at a news conference in El Paso to unveil the annual report titled:  “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”

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New Report Released During Domestic Violence Awareness Month Shows Increase in the Number of Women Killed in Texas – Houston

Honoring Texas Victims: 132 Women Killed in Texas in 2014 – Harris County Has the Highest Number of Domestic Violence Homicides in the State at 23 –

4 Murders in Brazoria County, 2 in Ft. Bend, Galveston and Montgomery and 1 in Wharton County Bringing the Total to 34 Domestic Violence Homicides in the Greater Houston Area

Houston, Texas – October 16, 2015 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today released a new report that shows an increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.  132 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2014.  119 women were killed in 2013.  114 women were killed in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.   Harris County had the highest number of deaths in the state with 23 domestic violence murders, followed by Tarrant and Dallas with 10 domestic violence homicides in each city, followed by El Paso and San Antonio with 5 murders in each city. In addition, there were 4 murders in Brazoria County, 2 murders each in Ft. Bend, Galveston and Montgomery Counties and one domestic violence homicide in Wharton County in the greater surrounding Houston area.

Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr., Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, Deborah Mosley, Executive Director, Bridge Over Troubled Waters in Pasadena and TCFV Board member, Rebecca White, CEO at the Houston Area Women’s Center and Barbie Brasher, Executive Director, Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry at a news conference in Houston to unveil the annual report titled:  Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”

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Texas Council on Family Violence Salutes Travis County District Court Judge Mike Denton for Receiving a National Honor for Protecting Children in Domestic Violence Court

The Foundation for the Improvement of Justice honors Denton with the national Paul H. Chapman Award in Atlanta

 Austin, Texas – September 28, 2015 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today joined the Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia in saluting Travis County District Court Judge Mike Denton.  He received a top national award for protecting victims of domestic violence Saturday night.  TCFV nominated Judge Denton for this award.

The foundation has selected Denton as the Paul H. Chapman Award Winner for his work advocating and overseeing the first Travis County Domestic Violence Court.  He has been the sole judge to preside over that court since its establishment in 1999.  Initially, the court handled civil protective order hearings and criminal misdemeanor cases, but added felony criminal cases five years ago.  He has been recognized by local, state, and national levels and shares his expertise and knowledge through conferences to judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, state legislators, advocates and survivors.

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New Report Released During Domestic Violence Awareness Month Shows Increase in the Number of Women Killed in Texas

Honoring Texas Victims: 132 Women Killed in Texas in 2014 – 25 of the Victims are from North Texas; Tarrant & Dallas Counties have the Second Highest Murder Rate in the State with 10 Domestic Violence Homicides in Each County, One Murder Each in Collin, Johnson & Kaufman Counties; Two Murders in Denton County

Ft. Worth, Texas – October 15, 2015 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today released a new report that shows an increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.  132 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2014.  119 women were killed in 2013.  114 women were killed in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.  Tarrant County had a slight decrease in the number of domestic violence homicides in this report with 10 murders.  In 2013, there were 11 domestic violence murders in Tarrant County.  Dallas County had a more significant decrease in murders- down to 10 from 20 murders in the last report.  Harris County had the highest number of deaths in the state with 23 domestic violence murders, followed by Tarrant and Dallas with 10 domestic violence homicides in each city, followed by El Paso and San Antonio with 5 murders in each city.

Kathyrn R. Jacob, President & CEO of SafeHaven, Ken Shetter, Executive Director of the Safe City Commission and Ft. Worth Police, joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry at a news conference in Ft. Worth to unveil the annual report titled:  Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”

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The Texas Council on Family Violence Praises Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus and the Texas Legislature for Adding the Most Significant Amount of Money to Protect Domestic Violence Victims in the Last Decade

Austin, Texas – June 22, 2015– The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today praises Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the 84th Texas Legislature for their overwhelming support of victims of domestic violence in Texas.  They dramatically increased funding dedicated to domestic violence, the most significant increase in the last decade, to address the fact that Texas leads the nation in the number of people served by programs and those seeking services that are turned away due to lack of resources.

$8 Million Dollar Increase For Domestic Violence Victims

The Texas Budget signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott increases support for domestic violence victims by more than $8 million dollars over the previous legislative session.

$3 Million Dollar Increase In General Revenue

Highlights include a $3 million dollar increase in funding for domestic violence shelter and resource center services, including  $53.9 million for core services.  In addition appropriators dedicated $3 million in Exceptional Item Funding for legal services, economic options for survivors, prevention, domestic violence fatality review and targeted approaches related identified needs within the State Plan.  Legislators realized the significant need for these services: over 84,000 people served in shelters and resource centers last year and a 31% turn away rate due lack of resources spurred this overall commitment by the legislature to providing a total of $59.9 million for family violence center services.

$1 Million Dollar Increase- First Increase in 15 Years for Batter Intervention & Prevention Programs

The budget also includes a $1 million dollar increase in Batter Intervention Prevention Programs funding, the first increase in 15 years and a significant criminal justice reform.  Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs offer group educational sessions to hold men who batter accountable and are designed to challenge their belief structures that support abusive behavior and ultimately create behavior change.

$4 Million Dollar Increase to Create Domestic Violence High Risk Teams Across the State

In addition, the Legislature approved and funded one of Governor Abbott’s legislative priorities: “High Risk Domestic Violence Teams”.   The Governor, working with legislative leaders Senator Joan Huffman and Rep. Carol Alvarado passed HB 3327 that will create these teams across the state, supplying $4 million dollars in funding for the Attorney General’s office to make this a reality.

The Domestic Violence High Risk Teams foster a coordinated community response to the worst and most dangerous kinds of domestic violence cases.  They unite law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, victim advocates and others at the local level to review cases of domestic violence and to identify, monitor, and contain the most dangerous perpetrators before they can inflict deadly harm.

“This budget will further protect victims of domestic violence in the State of Texas,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “Domestic Violence programs need additional money to provide shelter, legal services, counseling and other assistance to protect Texans from offenders who violate the law and represent a serious risk of danger to victims of domestic violence.  We thank Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus, Senator Jane Nelson, Rep. John Otto, Senator Joan Huffman, Rep. Carol Alvarado and the many legislators working with the Texas Council on Family Violence for many years to increase the budget and to pass strong laws to protect victims of domestic violence.”

Last year, over 84,000 women, children and men found safe sanctuary from violence at domestic violence shelters.  In 2013, 119 women were killed by their male intimate partner.  More than 61,000 adult victims and their children received services such as legal advocacy, counseling and other support.  Necessary state funding helps support 86 family violence programs in Texas, which include shelters, nonresidential centers and special project sites.  But the unfortunate reality remains that 31% of adult victims (11,485) requesting shelter were turned away due to lack of space.  In fact, according to a one-day census of family violence centers, Texas has the highest number of unmet requests for services compared to any other state in the country.

TCFV Praises El Paso Legislative Leaders for Passing New Significant Legislation and Adding the Most Money in the Last Decade to Protect Domestic Violence Victims

Hear a Survivor’s Story and How New GPS and Protective Order Legislation Will Better Protect Victims

 El Paso, Texas – July 15, 2015– The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) and the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence (CASFV) today praises El Paso State Senator Jose Rodriguez, Rep. Joe Moody, Rep. Cesar Blanco, Rep. Marisa Marquez, TCFV Board Chair, El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza and the 84th Texas Legislature for their overwhelming support of victims of domestic violence in Texas.

“These El Paso leaders championed the cause to better protect communities and families here in El Paso and across Texas.  They passed new laws to hold domestic violence offenders accountable and advocated for increasing funding dedicated for domestic violence and achieved the most significant increase in the last decade,” said Gloria Terry, CEO of the Texas Council of Family Violence.

SB 737- Increases Safety by Speeding Up Protective Orders

Senator Rodriguez and Rep. Moody sponsored SB 737, signed into law by the Governor, which requires protective orders be placed into the system within three days of being issued so that there are no longer month or longer delays in getting them into the system.  This is important because without having the orders in the database, law enforcement may determine not to arrest the violator of a protective order and lives are at stake in these cases every day the protective order is not in the system.

“Delays in notification make enforcement more difficult and can have deadly consequences, especially when an officer arrives at the scene of a family violence investigation without knowing this crucial information,” Sen. Rodríguez said. “This is one of several bills I passed to address this and other gaps in how we protect victims of crime.”

 HB 2645-Increases Safety by Making Tampering with GPS a Criminal Offense

Rep. Cesar Blanco sponsored a bill that makes destroying or tampering with the normal use of a global positioning monitor (GPS) in a family violence case a violation of protective order and a criminal offense. This will protect victims of domestic violence so the offender can be arrested immediately if he tries to remove the device and go after the victim.

$8 Million Dollar Total Increase For Domestic Violence Victims

The Texas Budget signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott increases support for domestic violence victims by more than $8 million dollars over the previous legislative session.

$3 Million Dollar Increase In General Revenue

Highlights include a $3 million dollar increase in funding for domestic violence shelter and resource center services, including  $53.9 million for core services.  In addition appropriators dedicated $3 million in Exceptional Item Funding for legal services, economic options for survivors, prevention, domestic violence fatality review and targeted approaches related identified needs within the State Plan.  Legislators realized the significant need for these services: over 84,000 people served in shelters and resource centers last year and a 31% turn away rate due lack of resources spurred this overall commitment by the legislature to providing a total of $59.9 million for family violence center services.

$1 Million Dollar Increase- First Increase in 15 Years for Batter Intervention & Prevention Programs

The budget also includes a $1 million dollar increase in Batter Intervention Prevention Programs funding, the first increase in 15 years and a significant criminal justice reform.  Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs offer group educational sessions to hold men who batter accountable and are designed to challenge their belief structures that support abusive behavior and ultimately create behavior change.

$4 Million Dollars to Create Domestic Violence High Risk Teams Across the State

In addition, the Legislature approved and funded one of Governor Abbott’s legislative priorities: “High Risk Domestic Violence Teams”.   The Governor, working with legislative leaders Senator Joan Huffman and Rep. Carol Alvarado passed HB 3327 that will create these teams across the state, supplying $4 million dollars in funding for the Attorney General’s office to make this a reality.

The Domestic Violence High Risk Teams foster a coordinated community response to the worst and most dangerous kinds of domestic violence cases.  They unite law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, victim advocates and others at the local level to review cases of domestic violence and to identify, monitor, and contain the most dangerous perpetrators before they can inflict deadly harm.

“This budget will further protect victims of domestic violence in the State of Texas,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “Domestic Violence programs need additional money to provide shelter, legal services, counseling and other assistance to protect Texans from offenders who violate the law and represent a serious risk of danger to victims of domestic violence.  We want to thank Rep. Marquez who sits on the Appropriations Committee for advocating for victims of domestic violence and thank TCFV Board Chair, El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza for spending countless hours testifying on behalf of our legislative agenda and advocating powerfully for victims of domestic violence.”

Texas leads the nation in the number of people seeking services that are turned away due to lack of resources and there is still more work and more resources that will need to be accomplished next legislative session.  Last year, over 84,000 women, children and men found safe sanctuary from violence at domestic violence shelters.  In 2013, 119 women were killed by their male intimate partner.  More than 61,000 adult victims and their children received services such as legal advocacy, counseling and other support.  Necessary state funding helps support 86 family violence programs in Texas, which include shelters, nonresidential centers and special project sites.  But the unfortunate reality remains that 31% of adult victims (11,485) requesting shelter were turned away due to lack of space.  In fact, according to a one-day census of family violence centers, Texas has the highest number of unmet requests for services compared to any other state in the country.

The Texas Council on Family Violence Praises Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus and the Texas Legislature for Adding the Most Significant Amount of Money to Protect Domestic Violence Victims in the Last Decade

Austin, Texas – June 22, 2015– The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today praises Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the 84th Texas Legislature for their overwhelming support of victims of domestic violence in Texas.  They dramatically increased funding dedicated to domestic violence, the most significant increase in the last decade, to address the fact that Texas leads the nation in the number of people served by programs and those seeking services that are turned away due to lack of resources.

$8 Million Dollar Increase For Domestic Violence Victims

The Texas Budget signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott increases support for domestic violence victims by more than $8 million dollars over the previous legislative session.

$3 Million Dollar Increase In General Revenue

Highlights include a $3 million dollar increase in funding for domestic violence shelter and resource center services, including  $53.9 million for core services.  In addition appropriators dedicated $3 million in Exceptional Item Funding for legal services, economic options for survivors, prevention, domestic violence fatality review and targeted approaches related identified needs within the State Plan.  Legislators realized the significant need for these services: over 84,000 people served in shelters and resource centers last year and a 31% turn away rate due lack of resources spurred this overall commitment by the legislature to providing a total of $59.9 million for family violence center services.

$1 Million Dollar Increase- First Increase in 15 Years for Batter Intervention & Prevention Programs

The budget also includes a $1 million dollar increase in Batter Intervention Prevention Programs funding, the first increase in 15 years and a significant criminal justice reform.  Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs offer group educational sessions to hold men who batter accountable and are designed to challenge their belief structures that support abusive behavior and ultimately create behavior change.

$4 Million Dollar Increase to Create Domestic Violence High Risk Teams Across the State

In addition, the Legislature approved and funded one of Governor Abbott’s legislative priorities: “High Risk Domestic Violence Teams”.   The Governor, working with legislative leaders Senator Joan Huffman and Rep. Carol Alvarado passed HB 3327 that will create these teams across the state, supplying $4 million dollars in funding for the Attorney General’s office to make this a reality.

The Domestic Violence High Risk Teams foster a coordinated community response to the worst and most dangerous kinds of domestic violence cases.  They unite law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, victim advocates and others at the local level to review cases of domestic violence and to identify, monitor, and contain the most dangerous perpetrators before they can inflict deadly harm.

“This budget will further protect victims of domestic violence in the State of Texas,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “Domestic Violence programs need additional money to provide shelter, legal services, counseling and other assistance to protect Texans from offenders who violate the law and represent a serious risk of danger to victims of domestic violence.  We thank Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus, Senator Jane Nelson, Rep. John Otto, Senator Joan Huffman, Rep. Carol Alvarado and the many legislators working with the Texas Council on Family Violence for many years to increase the budget and to pass strong laws to protect victims of domestic violence.”

Last year, over 84,000 women, children and men found safe sanctuary from violence at domestic violence shelters.  In 2013, 119 women were killed by their male intimate partner.  More than 61,000 adult victims and their children received services such as legal advocacy, counseling and other support.  Necessary state funding helps support 86 family violence programs in Texas, which include shelters, nonresidential centers and special project sites.  But the unfortunate reality remains that 31% of adult victims (11,485) requesting shelter were turned away due to lack of space.  In fact, according to a one-day census of family violence centers, Texas has the highest number of unmet requests for services compared to any other state in the country.

THE TEXAS COUNCIL ON FAMILY VIOLENCE HONORS FIVE OUTSTANDING TEXAS FATHERS & CHAMPIONS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS THIS FATHER’S DAY

Austin, Texas – June 18, 2015– This Father’s Day, The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) honors five Texas champions who make a difference in the lives of victims of domestic violence in Texas.

“Father’s Day is a very important day in the lives of children all over the world.  It is a day of celebration meant to recognize the efforts fathers put into raising children, often sacrificing material things for their well-being,” said Gloria A Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “A good father makes all the difference in a child’s life.  He’s a pillar of strength and support and he leads by example. He leaves his mark as a good man on his children.”

This Father’s Day TCFV recognizes Travis County Criminal Court Judge Michael Denton, Brazos County District Attorney Jarvis Parsons, El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza, Mary Kay’s Director of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Crayton Webb and UT Medical Branch at Galveston Dr. Jeff Temple. 

Travis County Criminal Court Judge Michael Denton is a relentless advocate for domestic violence victims in the justice system.  As a prosecutor he saw that domestic violence cases were not being prioritized or handled judiciously, so he ran for office to establish Texas’s first specialized Domestic Violence Court, one of only a handful in the nation.  Today, his court handles civil protective order hearings, criminal misdemeanor cases, and as of five years ago, felony criminal cases, making it the only court of its kind on the country. Judge Denton’s daughter is now 23 year’s old.  Shortly after she was born, he recalled taking a particularly heartbreaking call as a volunteer for a rape crisis hotline.  “I knew right then I wanted to make a difference in my daughter’s life and in the life of other girls and women.”

Brazos County District Attorney Jarvis Parson’s was elected in 2013.  He has served on TCFV’s Leadership Core of Prosecutors and spoken at the Purple Postcard press conference in support of full funding for domestic violence programs. Jarvis has pursued creative and adaptive programs to reduce domestic violence in Brazos County, like the Cut It Out program that coordinates with beauty salon professionals to talk to victims who might not respond to traditional outreach programs. Jarvis said being a father to his 6-year-old daughter has increased his empathy and understanding, and increased the level of urgency when dealing with cases involving children.

Jaime Esparza is the District Attorney for El Paso, Culberson, and Hudspeth Counties, and serves on TCFV’s Board of Directors.  His 24 Contact Program puts victims of family violence in touch with a victim advocate and an investigator within 24 hours of an offender’s arrest – leading to better support for the victim and more success in prosecution of the offender.  The program is one part of his work to “change the mindset and culture” around domestic violence in the community and courthouses.  As the father of four adult children, Jaime says “My own parents modeled healthy, loving parenting and as a father, I have been fortunate to be able to lean on those very lessons so my children succeed in life.”  

Crayton Webb is Mary Kay’s Director of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility.  He serves on TCFV’s Board of Directors and the men’s auxiliary for Genesis Shelter in Dallas, and has spoken thoughtfully about the role of men in the movement to end violence against women.  As the father of three sons, he said, “parenthood is constantly humbling but the greatest treasure…If you want kids to be open and share, they can’t feel like you are going to judge them.”

Dr. Jeff Temple is the Director of Behavioral Health and Research in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.  His research in teen dating violence and domestic violence prevention has advanced the work to eliminate violence.  As a father, he has seen firsthand the importance of teaching kids about healthy relationships from a young age.  His mantra as the coach of his children’s little league teams: “respect everyone,” and “be nice!”

Join Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo & Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton to Remember Women Who Have Been Murdered by Violent Crime and All Victims of Violent Crime during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Austin, Texas—April 20, 2015—This week Texans are commemorating National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.  Statewide organizations that serve victims of crime will be holding a series of events to raise awareness about crime victim issues.  Everyone knows about a defendant’s right to remain silent, but do you know victims of crime have rights too?

Marina Herrera, whose aunt was beaten and stabbed to death by her husband of 17 years in her home, had to find out to find about victims’ rights the hard way when she lost her aunt and best friend in a domestic violence murder on December 14, of 2013.  47-year-old Elizabeth Garcia Tamez was murdered by her husband in her Austin home.  She left behind a son who is now 11 years old and is being raised by family members.  Jesus Juan Tamez is serving 20 years in prison for her murder.

Marina’s family had to make a lot of tough decisions along the way during the prosecution because the husband had a history of mental illness and many crime victims advocates helped guide the family through the process.

“If I can help one person from meeting the same fate that my aunt met, than speaking out is worth it.  This has been a journey of struggle, sacrifice, time and the advocates have been so wonderful.  I am blessed to have met them and to have not gone through this alone,” said Marina Herrera, whose aunt was murdered.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, Dr. Jennie Barr, Committee Chair of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry joined Marina Herrera, a crime victim whose aunt was murdered in a domestic violence homicide, during a news conference about the rights of victims of violent crime during National Crime Victims Rights Week.

Crime Victims’ Rights Ceremony 

There will also be a ceremony with dozens of victims of crime attending to raise awareness about crime-victim issues, by identifying and reaching out to victims who need our help, and by thinking anew about how to help individuals and communities harmed by crime.

The 2015 theme—Engaging Communities-Empowering Victims 

Many victims of crime will gather at the ceremony to remember their loved ones and bring awareness to the victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drunken driving and a host of other crimes perpetrated on victims.

The ceremony will be held Tuesday, April 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Central Christian Church at 1110 Guadalupe St. in Austin.

The Texas observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being organized by Austin area victim service agencies that serve Texans across the state.

              CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS WEEK PLANNING COMMITTEE: 

Austin Police Department
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas
Crime Victims’ Institute, Sam Houston State University
CrimeStoppers
Christi Center
Jennifer’s Hope
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
People Against Violent Crime
Texas Advocacy Project
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
Texas Council on Family Violence
Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Texas Department of Public Safety
Texas Juvenile Justice Department
Texas Legal Services Center
Texas Office of the Attorney General
Texas Office of the Governor
Texas Victim Services Association
Travis County District Attorney’s Office
Travis County Sheriff’s Office

THOUSANDS OF PURPLE POSTCARDS FROM TEXANS ARE DELIVERED TO LEGISLATORS AT THE CAPITOL TODAY TO SUPPORT FULL FUNDING FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic Violence Survivor Speaks Out About How Her Daughter was Murdered by her Boyfriend and How Domestic Violence Services Could Have Saved Her Life 

Austin, Texas – March 19, 2015– The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) is teaming up with legislators and thousands of Texans to support full funding for family violence services.

 

Today, thousands of postcards are being delivered to legislators to show how important full funding is for family violence programs.  Advocates, allies and survivors of family violence use the color purple to symbolize their work to end violence within families.

 

Rep. Sylvester Turner, Vice Chairman of House Appropriations, Brazos County District Attorney Jarvis Parsons and Catherine Shellman whose daughter Tiffanie was murdered in a domestic violence homicide joined Gloria Terry CEO of TCFV at a news conference at the Capitol.

 

“Raising awareness about domestic violence and making sure funding is a priority– is important to me and the Texas Legislature,” said Rep. Sylvester Turner, Vice Chairman of House Appropriations.

 

“Full funding is especially critical to ensure victims of domestic violence have a safety net,” said Gloria A. Terry, President of TCFV.  “We are blessed that we have such strong support from legislators advocating for victims of domestic violence and we especially want to thank Senator Jane Nelson and Rep. Sylvester Turner for their outstanding leadership on this life and death issue.”

 

“I’m proud to participate in the Purple Postcard Project for the fifth session in a row.  Our state’s commitment to victims of family violence continues this session, and I stand with each of Texas’ 5 million lifetime victims of family violence, the over 84,000 people served in family violence centers last year alone, and the ones who love and support them.  We will prioritize funding for family violence services, said Senator Jane Nelson, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “

 

Full funding is important to try and prevent domestic violence murders like 23-year-old Tiffanie Perry who was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend, Kenny Trevino, in September 2010. She was attending Texas State University in San Marcos and getting ready to leave her boyfriend for good when he killed her and then killed himself.

 

Her mom, Catherine Shellman says,  “I did not know about the domestic violence until it was too late when I found and read Tiffanies’ journal and I don’t want that to happen to another mom or dad, so I speak out to urge people to talk about domestic violence and realize that anyone can be a victim and we must do all we can to recognize the signs and get help before it is too late.”

 

“ It is imperative that we fully fund family violence services to help prevent and eliminate this serious crime, said Jarvis Parsons, District Attorney for Brazos County in Bryan-College Station.”

 

The purple postcards come from people across Texas as a strong statement to legislators to fully fund family violence.  Members of TCFV will deliver thousands of postcards to legislators throughout the State Capitol.

 

For more information about the purple postcard campaign you can log onto www.tcfv.org

Texas Council on Family Violence Kicks Off Campaign Called “Young Hearts Matter” to Raise Awareness During Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month in February

Meet the 2015 Young Hearts Matter Advocates of the Year, and Finalists from Across Texas

Austin, TX (February 19, 2015) – Today, Young Hearts Matter, a campaign to bring awareness to teen dating abuse, recognized key leaders across Texas during February, Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month.  Teen dating abuse happens in every school across Texas and the United States. 

Events and programs to raise awareness allow students to come forward and get advice and help before a situation escalates to violent behavior.   In today’s environment, technology like social media and texting, can make it easy for teens and young adults to communicate, but it can also make it easy for a dating partner to use technology to harass, control and abuse their boyfriend or girlfriend.  The Texas Council on Family Violence is working to make sure students are engaged, educated and empowered to know their rights and know when they are involved in healthy and unhealthy dating relationships. 

Ambrus (2)Sarah Ambrus, C-Squared, Leander, TX
 TCFV is honoring Sarah Ambrus as Advocate of the Year.  This award recognizes an adult ally who partners with young people, is a leader for violence prevention in her community and has made prevention programming more accessible as a result of her efforts. 

Sarah Ambrus is a special education teacher for Leander ISD and one of the original co-sponsors of C-Squared.  C-Squared, or Coalition of Clubs, is a campus organization that started in 2010 where students joined together to encourage a culture of kindness on their campus.  Sarah and co-author, Christine Simpson, chronicled the collaborative models, practical tools, and firsthand accounts from students, parents and teachers who worked together to positively influence their campus in their book, “Riding Shotgun: Empowering Students to Lead Change.” From these beginnings, the C-Squared movement has grown and spread to 33 elementary, middle, and high schools across Leander ISD, where most of the schools were designated as No Place for Hate campuses by the Anti-Defamation League in 2014.  Much of this growth can be attributed to the support Sarah offers during her free C-Squared sponsor trainings. 

N.GrayNicole Gray, Focusing Families, Hempstead, TX
TCFV is also honoring Nicole Gray of Focusing Families in Hempstead, Texas as the youth ally who is an activist in her community and a school leader among her peers. She has done outstanding work to spread awareness and prevent dating and sexual violence.

Nicole is currently interning at Focusing Families in Hempstead.  There she helps facilitate healthy relationships sessions to her peer groups at Hempstead Middle School.  She passionately stands before groups of students and helps lead conversations that will end violence in communities.  A survivor herself, Nicole has never let that define her.  Instead, she has used her process of healing to find her voice to stop all forms of violence to her generation.  Additionally, Nicole has helped Focusing Families start becoming more youth focused, once again giving voice to her generation. 

“The hearts of the young people in our lives are precious.  Teen dating violence is an urgent and silent problem across Texas,” said TCFV CEO Gloria Terry.  “We are getting our sons and daughters involved in raising awareness at an early age in hopes that they will never experience or perpetuate violence.  We are thrilled to be working with local programs, school districts and student leaders across Texas who are coming up with many innovative ways to educate their peers in their schools.  The Texas Council on Family Violence is also thrilled to honor Nicole Gray and the other honorees who are leading the way in dating violence prevention in their schools and communities.” 

This month, students in schools across Texas with the help of domestic violence service providers, school districts and TCFV are getting involved in campaigns in their schools to help identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship and help students know their dating rights.  Dating abuse takes place when a person physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally abuses another person in the context of a dating or romantic relationship and when one or both of them is a minor. 

Teen Dating Violence looks many ways, but can involve: put-downs, extreme demands on time, intimidation, isolation, constant texting, stalking, and physical injury.  Teen Dating Abuse can also involve forced sex, forced pregnancy, threats of violence, suicide, stalking and murder. 

Statistics in a statewide survey show that 75% of 16 to 24 year old Texans have either personally experienced dating violence or know someone who has experienced it.   According to a recent study, between 42% and 87% of dating violence occurs in a school building or on school grounds, with the highest occurrences in rural areas. 

Schools in Texas can help teens lay the foundation for making good dating decisions while they are in school by applying a whole-school approach to end the violence happening on school grounds, making their dating abuse policies clear and implementing them, training faculty and staff to recognize and respond to the signs, educating youth to support behavioral change and by observing Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month every February.

Meet the 2015 Young Hearts Matter Awards Finalists

X.ThompsonXavier Thompson, United Voices 4 Change, Ft. Worth, TX
Xavier Thompson is the President of United Voices 4 Change, a unified body of student leaders from campuses across Ft. Worth ISD. The mission of UV4C is to address common concerns, provide service to their community, and teach positive qualities to help create problem free communities. The UV4C elects its own representatives from each school, including the group’s officers. Each year the UV4C hosts a youth retreat to help train the new teams of students on their mission, and plan events they want to see happen in their school. Xavier plays a key role in planning this retreat and is responsible for submitting the group’s agendas to the Ft.WISD school board and superintendent. Last spring, Xavier was chosen to do a local TEDx talk on INOK, or It’s Not Okay, a campaign started by the UV4C to talk about making respect the social norm in their communities. This is Xavier’s 3rd year in UV4C and he is truly a great young man with a heart to make a difference in the world.

Z.HassanZara Hassan, Be Project, Dallas, TX
Zara was a part of The Family Place Be Project leadership group in her school, Turner High School, for two years before graduating in 2012. During that time, she served as a leader and role model to her peers by implementing awareness activities on her campus. After graduating, Zara stayed connected to The Family Place Be Project. Last summer she volunteered with Be Project staff and helped present workshops on empathy and bullying to kids at a summer camp. Zara has been an amazing leader at the Be Project.

 

 

J.TempleJeff Temple, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Jeff Temple is a professional who has dedicated his career advocating for healthy teen relationships. He wears many hats, one of which is an associate professor for the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB – Galveston. Dr. Temple is also the Director of Behavioral Health and Research where he dedicates much of his research to adolescent behavior, sexual health, and teen dating violence. In 2013, Dr. Temple published a study on the Need for School-Based Teen Dating Violence Prevention programs. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Task Force for DV HB2620, which aims to inform the Texas Legislator about appropriate domestic violence interventions and improvements to responses, and as a Board of Trustees of Galveston ISD.

 

A.MillerAmy Miller, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dallas, TX
In addition to being the school counselor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Amy Miller goes above and beyond to make sure that each student on the upper school campus receives messages about empathy and healthy relationships in an effort to create a kind and bully-free STA through her partnership with the Be Project. This is not an easy task as STA is the largest Catholic Pk-8th grade school in Texas! Be Project is a program that empowers youth to be a part of the solution to end relationship violence and has been implemented at STA for the past three years. Amy has made it her personal responsibility to assist Be Project staff with facilitating the Be Project program on campus and currently oversees the Be More leadership group, a group of student leaders who organize awareness events on campus. Amy has helped Be More students organize and implement a secret school-wide flash dance during Bullying Awareness Month in October and the group continues to plan events for the spring semester! Amy is a true ally who has helped to give space to young people’s voices in her school community.

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LEADERS IN THE SEXUAL ASSAULT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MOVEMENT IN TEXAS CONVENE

Austin, TX–  On the heels of Super Bowl XLIX’s first public service announcement  to create awareness about  domestic violence and sexual assault, front line leaders meet today to share strategies for  strengthening and sustaining local  family violence shelters and rape crisis centers.  They will also discuss issues affecting service delivery, prevention, and awareness. “Bringing together leaders from across the state who shape their respective communities response to the complex needs of victims is essential.  They not only learn from key presenters on relevant topics, they also learn from one another.  These practices keep us focused on providing the safety, empowerment, tools and resources that best serve families in crisis,” says Gloria A. Terry, CEO of TCFV.  

The increase in high profile cases covered by local and national media outlets impacts sexual assault and domestic violence service providers who often experience an upsurge in calls from survivors as a result. “National media coverage inevitably increases the number of survivors that reach out to local service providers. It’s helpful to learn from each other how we can best serve our respective communities” says Annette Burrhus-Clay, TAASA’s Executive Director

Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence have unique and complex needs and deserve accessible, comprehensive, community-based services.  Local agencies work to address the needs of survivors and the debunk misconceptions around both issues. 

Executive Directors’ Conference for Domestic Violence   Sexual Assault Programs

Date: Monday, February 9 & 10, 2015

Time: Begins Monday, February 9th at 11:30am thru February 10th 4:45pm

Location: Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark, 4140 Governors Row, Austin, TX 78744 

As local agencies continue to meet the needs of survivors in their communities, a true and genuine partnership between coalitions provides the greatest opportunities for success.  The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and the Texas Council on Family Violence work jointly to maximize efforts in providing guidance and enhancing survivor-centered services across the state. 

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The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) is the statewide organization committed to ending sexual violence in Texas. A non-profit educational and advocacy organization based in Austin, TAASA member agencies comprise a statewide network of more than 80 crisis centers that serve rural as well as metropolitan areas. Founded in 1982, the agency has a strong record of success in community education, legal services, youth outreach, law enforcement training, legislative advocacy, and curricula and materials development.  Additional information about TAASA can be found at www.taasa.org.                             

Texas Council on Family Violence is the only 501(c) 3 nonprofit coalition in Texas dedicated solely to creating safer communities and freedom from family violence. With a state-wide reach and direct local impact, TCFV, with the collective strength of more than 1000 members, shapes public policy, equips service providers, and initiates strategic prevention efforts. Visit us online at http://tcfv.org/