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Executive Directors from Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Programs from Around the State Gather in Austin for Joint Conference

Austin, Texas – The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) and The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) Executive Directors from domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in Texas gather to discuss emerging issues in serving survivors and challenging societal misconceptions about both topics.   

Sexual assault and domestic violence issues received welcomed attention recently with the City of Dallas’ Mayor Mike Rawlings hosting of “A Rally against Domestic Violence” and President Obama’s announcement of the “White House task force to protect students from sexual assault.”  Executive Directors are unique in their responsibility to effectively serve victims while working to prevent the occurrences of abuse altogether. 

This year’s Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa on February 18 and 19, 2014.  Executive directors are expected to have a large set of skills to help their agencies thrive.  Fundraising, board relationships, staff management and program development are pressing issues leaders will discuss. 

“Bringing together leaders 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. 

Victims of sexual and domestic do not differentiate sexual assault services from those carved for family violence.  What they do seek are sensitive and knowledgeable advocates, resources, and assistance to take the first successful steps towards becoming survivors. 

As programs continue to expand our vision for leaders in Texas working with these vulnerable populations, they determined that a true and genuine partnership between coalitions provides the greatest opportunities for success.  TCFV and TAASA work jointly to maximize efforts for developing impeccable services across the state for lives disrupted by violence.

 “This conference gives the leadership of sexual assault and domestic violence agencies across the state an opportunity to enhance their skill sets on myriad issues impacting non-profits.  It’s more important today than ever to foster strong, efficient, and well-managed organizations that both serve victims and positively impact their respective communities,” says Annette Burrhus-Clay, Executive Director of TAASA. 

TAASA and TCFV hope that by joining forces they can unite the strong voices of the violence against women movement in Texas and provide vital resources to our members.

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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.                                      

The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), formed in 1978, is one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation.  TCFV promotes safe and healthy relationships by supporting service providers, facilitating strategic prevention efforts, and creating opportunities for freedom from domestic violence. For more information visit www.tcfv.org.

Rose Luna – Communications Program Director – TAASA – 512-659-8065

Angela Hale – 512.289.2995, angela@redmediagroup.com

TCFV Kicks Off New Campaign Called “Young Hearts Matter” to Raise Awareness During Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month in February

Teens Spread the Word Across Schools in Texas During National Dating Abuse Awareness & Prevention Month

Austin, TX (February 1, 2014) – Today Young Hearts Matter, a new campaign to bring awareness to teen dating abuse, launched in Texas to raise awareness during Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month.  Teen dating abuse happens in every school across Texas and the United States.  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.

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.

In today’s environment, technology like social media and texting, can make it east for teens and young adults 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 dating relationships.

“The hearts of the young people in our lives are precious.  Teen dating violence is an urgent and silent problem across Texas,” said Texas Council 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 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 has created “Young Hearts Matter” which comprise posters and other materials that can be used in schools across Texas to help students know their rights when they are in a relationship.”

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.

TCFV Kicks Off Campaign Called “Young Hearts Matter”

TCFV recognizes The Corpus Christi School District & the Prevention & Education Program of Women’s Shelter of South Texas 

Corpus Christi, TX (February 13, 2014) – Today, a day before Valentine’s Day, the Texas Council on Family Violence is launching Young Hearts Matter, a campaign to bring awareness to teen dating abuse. February is National 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 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.

TCFV is recognizing outstanding efforts to educate students about teen dating violence. Today, TCFV thanked The Women’s Shelter of South Texas for leading the way in creating a successful Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month curriculum.

Educators from the Women’s Shelter of South Texas conduct an eight- week curriculum with teens called “Moving Up-Stream.”  Each session focuses on a topic such as: addressing and defining social norms, exploring the concept of gender, positive and negatives of music, aggressive, passive and assertive communication, defining sexual harassment, exploring power differences and individual responsibility, defining consent, and exploring bystander behavior.

“The Women’s Shelter of South Texas is pleased to partner with the Texas Council on Family Violence and the communities we serve to recognize February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and the importance of prevention,” said Frances Wilson, President and CEO of the Women’s Shelter of South Texas.  “Prevention is a means to the literal end of the attitudes that support violence against women.  Prevention represents the hope for our future and for the generations to come.”

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.

“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 recognize Frances Wilson, President and CEO of the Women’s Shelter of South Texas, and her entire team for their outstanding work raising awareness in the Corpus Christi School District.”

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. Click on link to download Young Hearts Matter materials.

For more resources check out this page:

http://tcfv.org/prevention-resources

New Report Shows an Increase in the Number of Women Killed in Texas

The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) 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. The report reveals 114 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.

The annual report titled:  Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities provides our state’s only comprehensive analysis of women killed in Texas by their male intimate partner.   The report tracks and discusses detailed information about each murder, offers the respectfully summarized stories of the women killed and offers hopeful strategies for addressing intimate partner fatalities and violence in our state.  It is necessary to report and analyze fatalities to prevent future fatalities.

The 2012 fatalities reflect that victims’ ages ranged from 15 to 84.  Three women were under the age of 20; a 22-year-old boyfriend killed a 15-year-old minor by strangling her to death in a hotel room.  The eldest (84 years old) victim’s husband shot and killed her.  Victims age 30-39 represent the most prevalent age group; followed by victims’ age 20-29, and then by victims age 40-49.  These trends have remained consistent for the last two years.  Unlike 2011, which saw no fatalities for women age 60-69, four women in this age group were murdered in 2012.  Clearly intimate partner violence occurs throughout the life span. 

Children Attacked at Scenes of Crimes

In several instances, murderers violently attacked young children at the scenes of the crimes.  While killing their intimate partners, 11 perpetrators also stabbed, strangled, shot, kidnapped or sexually assaulted children at the scene.  In a related trend, murders caused nine small children to be neglected for a period at the scene of the crime; these children’s’ ages ranged from a few months to eight years old.

While again perpetrators overwhelmingly used firearms to inflict lethal violence in 2012, perpetrators also used brutal force and a range of weapons including vehicles. One perpetrator pursued his girlfriend in his car, forcing her car off the road where she was pinned between his vehicle and a utility pole.  Another perpetrator pursued and killed his girlfriend with his car as she walked home after an argument.

Four murderers burned the bodies of their victims after they killed them, in effect attempting to erase evidence of the crime.  In two instances, murderers set the vehicles where the homicides occurred on fire; in a third instance, a perpetrator placed the body of the victim in a dumpster and ignited a fire after strangling and killing her.  Another perpetrator set fire to the home where he killed his wife.

In 2012, the counties with the largest population and which include large urban cities also ranked as the four counties with the most intimate partner violence homicides.

Harris County has the Highest Number of Deaths in State followed by Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, El Paso and Hidalgo

In line with the previous years, Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, experienced the highest number of deaths (30).  Next in descending order were Dallas County (9), which includes the city of Dallas, Tarrant County (6), which includes Fort Worth and Arlington and Bexar County (5), which includes the city of San Antonio.  El Paso County experienced four deaths in 2012, an increase from previous years.  Significantly, Hidalgo County experienced four fatalities; Hidalgo County includes the cities of Hidalgo and Alton and this county has a significantly lower population than the top five or indeed other counties with fewer fatalities. Travis County (3), which includes the city of Austin is the fifth largest county in the state and had three domestic violence murders. 

Panhandle and South Plains Per Capita Death Rate Higher Than in Any of the Larger Urban Areas

Although urban intimate partner violence continues as a significant danger, one important trend in 2012 relates to the Panhandle and South Plains, areas with fewer overall residents and population density.  Seven counties in this area, which had no reports of intimate partner homicides last year, had at least one homicide reported this year.

Potter County, which includes the city of Amarillo, and neighboring Moore County, reported one death each.  On the South Plains, five of these counties (Bailey, Lamb, Hale, Lubbock, and Floyd) cover a contiguous area of almost 5,000 square miles with a combined population of approximately 350,000 (175,717 female residents); over 278,000 of these residents live in Lubbock County alone (144,464 being female).  In this five county area, six deaths occurred, which results in a per capita death rate of 1 in 29,286 female residents, a much higher rate than in any of the larger urban areas.

These trends at the county level underscore the necessity for our state to continue to forge solutions that take seriously the diverse and complex differences victims and communities face in various parts of the state. 

Victims Over the Age of 50 Killed in Increasing Numbers

An additional important trend to highlight relates to those victims over the age of 50.  An examination of data regarding these women in the last ten years indicates a trend of increasing numbers of victims in these age groups.

Compared to 2011, in 2012, intimate partners killed more women between the ages of 50-59 (+4), 60-69 (+4), and over 80 (+2).

Increased numbers of murders of women over age 50 in the last few years warrant consideration as to how family violence services will need to adapt and expand as the Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, ages and becomes elderly.   As our organizations prepare for an influx of clients in this aging demographic, it will become more necessary to seek opportunities to build collaborations and partnerships with community organizations within the aging network and Adult Protective Services, in order to:

• Gain understanding about the unique barriers and needs that older clients experience

• Increase outreach to the elder population and raise awareness of the dynamics of domestic violence and availability of resources among the elder population and the organizations that serve them.

The report also pays tribute to Texas victims by memorializing their story with a brief account of the crime.  It includes core data and statistics culled from our analysis.  “By the Numbers” is a summary, using charts and graphs to depict statistical information pertaining to fatalities, including some demographics.

“Domestic violence murders are knowable, identifiable and predictable,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities recognizes all Texas family violence victims lost in this tragic crime.  We hope the report will evoke deeper and more meaningful discussions about barriers and realities that affect the ability of women to escape danger within their relationships.“

The report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence and compiled from data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas law enforcement agencies and media reports list names of the victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.

For the full report, narratives on each victim by county and “ Strategies for a Safer Texas” by region, click on the link below: 

http://tcfv.org/resources/dvam-resources/honoring-texas-victims/honoring-texas-victims-2012-report 

Some key statistics include:

  • The victim’s ages ranged from age 15 to 84
  • Harris County had the highest number of deaths at 30
  • 74% of the women were killed at home 
  • 60% were shot 
  • 17% were stabbed 
  • 11% were strangled 
  • 21 women had taken steps to leave 
  • 20 homicides within one to two days of a national holiday 
  • 15 bystanders or witnesses killed 
  • 4 bodies burned

Honoring Texas Victims: 114 Women Killed in Texas with Harris County having Highest Number of Domestic Violence Murders in the State

Houston, Texas – October 14, 2013 – 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.  114 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.  30 women were killed in Harris County, the highest numbers of domestic violence murders of any county in Texas.  There were 38,490 incidents of domestic violence reported in Harris County and an estimated 65,433 incidents went unreported.

Laura White, a domestic violence survivor, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Rebecca White, CEO at the Houston Area Women’s Center and Rania Mankarious of Crime Stoppers, 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.”

“Domestic violence hurts families and the community. At the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, our priority is to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Our goal is to increase the safety of victims and their families and hold the batterer accountable,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson.

The report pays tribute to Texas victims by memorializing their story with a brief account of the crime.  It includes core data and statistics culled from our analysis.  “By the Numbers” is a summary, using charts and graphs to depict statistical information pertaining to fatalities, including some demographics.

“Domestic violence murders are knowable, identifiable and predictable,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities recognizes all Texas family violence victims lost in this tragic crime.  We hope the report will evoke deeper and more meaningful discussions about barriers and realities that affect the ability of women to escape danger within their relationships.“

White, who is lucky to have survived her abuse today delivered a personal message of hope and perseverance.  After years of abuse, White was getting a divorce.  Her husband called her and said to come over and he would sign the divorce papers.  But, instead he pulled out a shotgun and shot her a point blank range.  She says her heart froze when he said he was going to kill her and then kill himself.  He said, “If I can’t have you, then no one can.”

She was shot in the stomach in November of 2009 and given a one percent chance of survival.  She endured more than a dozen surgeries and had to recover from the emotional scars of abuse.  “If it wasn’t for domestic violence shelters in Texas, I would not be here today and I would not have been able to heal from the mental scars of abuse,” said White.

The Houston Area Women’s Center, a domestic violence service provider in Houston, helped her with counseling and support.

“While we put the spotlight on domestic violence during October, the Houston Area Women’s Center works year round with individuals and families who have been subjected to violence in their own homes.  Our efforts to provide immediate shelter and long-term advocacy and support are supported by our colleagues in the judicial system and law enforcement.  The support of the Houston community for our work is a critical component of our mission to prevent and reduce domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Rebecca White, President and CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center.

The report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence and compiled from data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas law enforcement agencies and media reports list names of the victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.

Some key statistics include:

  • The victim’s ages ranged from age 15 to 84
  • Harris County had the highest number of deaths at 30
  • 74% of the women were killed at home 
  • 60% were shot 
  • 17% were stabbed 
  • 11% were strangled 
  • 21 women had taken steps to leave 
  • 20 homicides within one to two days of a national holiday 
  • 15 bystanders or witnesses killed 
  • 4 bodies burned 

Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence and needs help can call the Houston Area Women’s Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week 713-528-2121.

Honoring Texas Victims: 114 Women Killed in Texas

El Paso, Texas – October 11, 2013 – 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.  114 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2012.  102 women were killed in 2011.  Four women were killed in El Paso County.

El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza and Stephanie Karr, Executive Director at the Center Against Family Violence, 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.”

The report pays tribute to Texas victims by memorializing their story with a brief account of the crime.  It includes core data and statistics culled from our analysis.  “By the Numbers” is a summary, using charts and graphs to depict statistical information pertaining to fatalities, including some demographics.

“Domestic violence murders are knowable, identifiable and predictable,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities recognizes all Texas family violence victims lost in this tragic crime.  We hope the report will evoke deeper and more meaningful discussions about barriers and realities that affect the ability of women to escape danger within their relationships. “

The report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence and compiled from data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas law enforcement agencies and media reports list names of the victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.

Some key statistics include:

  • The victim’s ages ranged from age 15 to 84
  • Harris County had the highest number of deaths
  • 74% of the women were killed at home 
  • 60% were shot 
  • 17% were stabled 
  • 11% were strangled 
  • 21 women had taken steps to leave 
  • 20 homicides within one to two days of a national holiday 
  • 15 bystanders or witnesses killed 
  • 4 bodies burned

“Domestic violence hurts families and it is a crime.  At the District Attorney’s Office we fight to ensure the safety of victims and their families,” said Jaime Esparza, El Paso District Attorney. 

TCFV and the Center against Family Violence also recognized the El Paso District Attorney who received a top national award for protecting victims of domestic violence.  The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. in Atlanta, selected Esparza as the Paul H. Chapman Award Winner for his efforts to save lives, increase the quality of life for our most vulnerable and have force his peers in the justice system to closely examine their role.

“The Center Against Family Violence (CAFV) is proud of the work of District Attorney Jaime Esparza in advocating for survivors of domestic violence.  He certainly deserves this national recognition for his pioneering work for justice for survivors.  By knowing that the judicial system will be responsive to them, those harmed by domestic violence are more likely to come forward, report this horrible crime and seek help,” said Stephanie Karr, Executive Director at the Center Against Family Violence.

“While we put the spotlight on domestic violence during October, CAFV works year-around with individuals and families who have been subjected to violence in their own homes.  Our efforts to provide immediate shelter and long-term advocacy and support are supported by our colleagues in the judicial system and law enforcement.  The support of the El Paso community for our work is a critical component of our mission to prevent and reduce domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Karr.

NNEDV Names TCFV Gloria Terry, CEO to National Board

Austin, Texas – October 8, 2013 – The Texas Council on Family Violence is pleased to announce Gloria Terry, CEO of (TCFV), has been named to the prestigious national board, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a leading voice for domestic violence victims and their advocates.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence is a membership and advocacy organization of state domestic violence coalitions, allied organizations and supportive individuals.  NNEDV works closely with its members to understand the ongoing and emerging needs of domestic violence victims and advocacy programs. NNEDV makes sure those needs are heard and understood by policymakers at the national level.

“We are honored the CEO of the Texas coalition has joined the NNEDV board.  Gloria brings a wealth of experience to our organization.  She managed a shelter on the Texas- Mexico border, runs one of the largest coalitions in the nation, and is a passionate advocate for victims of domestic violence,” said Kim Gandy, NNEDV President & CEO.

Gloria Aguilera Terry joined the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) in January 2008 as President.  In 2013, she was promoted to Chief Executive Officer.  In her role as CEO, Gloria guides and directs the statewide activities of TCFV, such as the Texas Legislative Session, establishing and fostering statewide tactical partnerships, working with staff to provide outstanding services to programs and strategically positioning TCFV to create the influence necessary to continue serving the needs of victims and their families.

Ms. Terry came to the Texas Council on Family Violence from El Paso, Texas where she served as Executive Director of the Center against Family Violence (CAFV). During her tenure at the CAFV, Gloria managed a significant border community domestic violence program with a $1.8 million dollar budget and a staff of fifty employees.  Among her major accomplishments as Executive Director of the CAFV, she launched an effective strategy to underscore the agency’s role in the community utilizing a modified version of the Family Justice Center, positioned the Center as Organizing Agency for a $5 million health prevention initiative, strengthened and prioritized education and workforce development initiatives and was successful in obtaining the agency’s first transitional living center.

Before joining the CAFV, Ms. Terry served as Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, for the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce.  In that capacity she directly managed the daily operations of three corporations and two limited Liability Companies with a varied spectrum of missions from workforce preparedness to affordable housing as well as provided vision, direction and management for all finance and accounting practices for the largest chamber of commerce in the region.

Ms. Terry, a 2003 Leadership Texas graduate, holds a BBA from the University of Texas at El Paso and has extensive community service currently offering time to the Tarrant County Family Advocacy Steering Committee, Collaborative Council for the Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families with the Texas Supreme Court, VAWA Planning Committee with the Governor’s Office, National Leadership Committee with Center for Disease Control, Diversity Committee of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and current Board member of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

The Texas Council on Family Violence has been advocating for victims of domestic violence for 35 years.  As one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation, we lead efforts to end family violence at the statewide level.  Our partners include domestic violence shelters across the state.

TCFV Marks October 9th Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day (HCADV Day)

Austin, Texas – October 8, 2013 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), the Verizon Foundation and the Women’s Health and the Family Planning Association of Texas today are for the first time live streaming an important women’s health care event to Texans.  The Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day is a public forum and will provide training from leaders in domestic violence and women’s health care on the health effects of intimate partner violence. The discussion will explore how health care professionals can assist people they come in contact with who they believe are victims of domestic violence, discussions on partnerships between women’s health providers and domestic violence advocates.  A panel will also discuss the implications of intimate partner violence on teen pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS Services, and Maternal/Child Health. The event is Wednesday October 9th at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center and will be live streaming at: http://www.livestream.com/tcfv “Texas has one of the highest rates of uninsured people,” said Gloria A. Terry, President of the Texas Council on Family Violence.  “The Center for Disease Control has identified that intimate partner violence affects health in many ways. Women who have been victimized by an intimate partner and children raised in violent households are more likely to experience a wide array of physical and mental health conditions,” said Terry. Verizon is a national leader in the education and prevention of domestic violence. Today, the company joined the event to encourage more businesses to get involved in the prevention of domestic violence. “Raising awareness of domestic violence and aiding in its prevention is a priority issue for Verizon,” said David Russell, Verizon Vice President of External Affairs. “Verizon is proud to partner with the Texas Council on Family and lend our voice to raise awareness about the health implications of domestic violence to a wider audience in an effort to save lives.” The Texas Council on Family Violence has been advocating for victims of domestic violence for 35 years.  As one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation, we lead efforts to end family violence at the statewide level.  Our partners include domestic violence shelters across the state.

TCFV Honors Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

Dallas, Texas – October 3, 2013 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today is pleased to honor and recognize Mayor Mike Rawlings for his outstanding efforts to rally thousands of men to stand up and speak out against domestic violence.

Each year, over 100 Texas women lose their lives to domestic violence.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and purple is the color for domestic violence advocacy.  We honor Mayor Rawlings with statewide “Go Purple” recognition and we challenge all of Texas to Go Purple and strive for a state where no woman is killed by a husband, partner, or boyfriend.

“The mayor’s initiative “Dallas Men Against Abuse” deserves statewide recognition for the outstanding efforts to combat violence in the home and bring public attention to an issue that is critically important to safety of all Texans,” said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV’s CEO.  “We praise Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for his leadership supporting victims of domestic violence.”

We call on other mayor’s across the state to Go Purple and join Mayor Rawlings’ public advocacy to tell every man across our state, every young boy who will soon be a man — that violence is unacceptable and that men in our state speaking out is a critical part of demanding changes in actions and attitudes.

The Texas Council on Family Violence has been advocating for victims of domestic violence for 35 years.  As one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation, we lead efforts to end family violence at the statewide level.  Our partners include domestic violence shelters across the state.

Foundation for Improvement of Justice Hosts its 28th Awards Banquet

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. hosted its 28th awards banquet Saturday September 28th, 2013 at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta.   The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1984 for the purpose of improving local, state, and federal systems of justice within The United States of America.  Each year, the Foundation accepts nominations for the Paul H. Chapman award to recognize and reward individuals or organizations whose innovative programs and work have made improvements in the various systems of justice.   Winners receive a check for $10,000, the Paul H. Chapman medal, a Commendation Bar Pin, a certificate of appreciation, and an invitation to an awards banquet held in Atlanta, Georgia.  For more information about the Foundation please visit our website at www.justiceawards.com.

This year’s Paul H. Chapman Award winners were:

Jaime Esparza, District Attorney for the 34th Judicial District in Texas recognized for creating and implementing the 24-hour Contact Initiative for handling domestic violence cases in hopes of improving prosecution efforts and victim services.

Melinda Aguilar, recognizes for her bravery and presence of mind that ended the killing spree of serial killer Coral Eugene Watts in 1982 and her efforts in the years that followed to ensure justice for his victims by testifying against him at a 2004 Michigan murder trial.

David Goldman, recognized for his work as Director and Co-Founder of the Bring Sean Home Foundation whose mission is “to assist victims of international child abduction, educate the public about the issue, prevent further abductions and draw attention to the increasing number of cases that currently exist with the purpose of returning abducted children to their  home countries and reuniting them with their left-behind families.”

Christopher J. Schmidt, recognized for his pro-bono work trying international child abduction cases under the Hague Convention.  He has successfully won five different cases and resolved additional cases without going to trial.  Because of his efforts, the State Department has listed his firm, Bryan Cave LLP, as a “preferred” law firm for handling international abduction cases.

Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA), recognized for its leadership in the struggle to reform Massachusetts’ Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system.  The 2010 law prohibits job applications from including questions about a person’s criminal record and reduces the time a person has to wait to seal a criminal record allowing those who have paid their debt to society and opportunity to become productive and successful members of society.

Sergeant Jason Teague, a member of the Gwinnett County Police Department’s SWAT team, recognized for his heroism and actions that helped prevent a tragic injustice from being perpetrated on five firefighters taken hostage after responding to what they thought was a “medical emergency”.  Teague was the senior team leader of the tactical group in the successful hostage rescue of these firefighters.

 

TCFV Salutes El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza for a National Honor for Creating Innovative 24-Hour Domestic Violence Program

Esparza Wins the National Paul H. Chapman Award in Atlanta                 

Austin, Texas – September 27, 2013 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today joined the Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia in saluting El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza who is receiving a top national award for protecting victims of domestic violence.

The foundation has selected Esparza as the Paul H. Chapman Award Winner for his efforts to save lives, increase the quality of life for our most vulnerable and forcing his peers in the justice system to closely examine their role.

Jaime Esparza created an innovative first in the nation program called the 24 Hour Contact program to move family violence crimes more quickly and efficiently through the criminal justice system, and second, to hold family violence offenders accountable for their acts of criminal violence.

“Jaime Esparza, the El Paso District Attorney, is an extraordinary public servant with a fierce determination to shift the paradigm on the prosecution of family violence,” said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV’s CEO.   “This shift in core philosophical underpinnings grounded in a prosecutorial response, has frankly resulted in a more genuine victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to strength a survivor’s resolve for a life free from violence.”

Within 24 hours of an arrest, a victim advocate and an investigator will visit the victim.  The sole purpose is to assess her well being and to offer information on resources.  Within the 24 hour period, critical evidence is collected: photographs from the visit, the 911 call, a video from police dispatched to the scene, criminal history of the offender – in essence the DA’s office is ready to go to trial within 24 hours.  However most importantly, the victim receives an in-person visit to offer care and information to know she is supported by the justice system.

“The 24-hour contact program improves our prosecution efforts,” said El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza.“  As a result, victims and the community are better served.  Domestic violence cases are complex and very serious crimes that require our full attention and a well-coordinated criminal justice response.”

The Texas Council on Family Violence, The El Paso District Attorneys Office and the Center Against Family Violence will hold a news conference in El Paso at CAFV’s Family Resource Center on Friday October 11, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. to honor victims of domestic violence who have been killed in El Paso, to release the Honoring Texas Victims 2012 report and to raise awareness about family violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Texas Council on Family Violence Joins U.S. Senator John Cornyn to Support Legislation to Stop the Sale of Murderabilia

Austin, Texas – September 20, 2013 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today joined U.S. Senator John Cornyn to support his federal legislation to crack down on the heinous practice of the sale of “murderabilia,” items such as letters, hair, art work or crime scene DNA that inmates attempt to sell for profit from behind bars.

“Murderabilia” is the term used to describe crime memorabilia that violent prisoners produce and sell.  To stem the growing murderabilia trade, Senator Cornyn has introduced the Stop the Sale of Murderabilia Act.

“Domestic violence survivors have already been victimized once by their abuser,” said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV’s CEO.  “Crime victims should not be forced to re-live the crime as prisoners profit off the notoriety of their case by selling items to the public.  We praise Sen. Cornyn for his leadership supporting victims of crime.”

Internet sites nationwide currently thrive off the sale of murderabilia.  Frequently sold items include the artwork, hair, clothing, writings, blood, and even nail-clippings of convicted murders and rapists.  Prices of these items vary depending on the notoriety of the prisoner who produced them.  A letter signed by the Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan is currently being marketed for $5,000;  a sketch of Osama bin Laden by Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the DC-snipers involved in 23 murders, was offered for $500; a self-portrait of Charles Manson sold for $500; and the rosary of John Wayne Gacy, who killed 33 boys, sold for $3,000.

Terry joined Sen. Cornyn and several local crime victims’ advocacy organizations to announce the “Stop the Sale of Murderabilia Act.  The bill would prevent prisoners from mailing or having another person mail any object the prisoner intends to be placed in interstate or foreign commerce.  Through several provisions, the bill would remove the financial incentive for prisoners to make murderabilia and stop the trade in new murderabilia goods.