TCFV and the Houston Police Department recently hosted Partner to Protect: A Leadership Summit for Family Violence Programs and Law Enforcement. Law enforcement leaders and family program executive directors from across the state gathered at the Hotel Icon in Houston for the landmark conference. The summit was held to aid coordination between Texas family violence programs and law enforcement for a better community response to family violence. The summit was informed by Honoring Texas Victims (formerly the Women Killed List), the report of the 111 fatalities of Texas women as a result of family violence in 2009. Attendees of this invitation-only, statewide summit were mostly from counties in which fatalities occurred.

The summit began on December 9th with a reception and a screening of Verizon Wireless Foundation’s documentary Telling Amy’s Story. The documentary tells the story of former Verizon employee, Amy Homan McGee, who was killed by her husband in 2001. The film’s focus on a coordinated community response made the screening an appropriate way to begin the summit. The event was made even more meaningful when Verizon surprised the event’s attendees by presenting TCFV with an unexpected donation.

On the 10th, Partner to Protect provided participants the opportunity to identify ways of improving coordination and collaboration at the policy level. The conference catered to different community needs by offering two separate tracks — rural or urban — to ensure each program was given appropriate information and resources. Many distinguished experts were featured as keynote speakers and provided insight into prevalent topics. Dr. Noël Bridget Busch-Armendariz, an associate professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Texas and the principal investigator of the UT Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, discussed the 24-hour initiative and the importance of proper domestic violence program evaluations. Chief Jerald Monahan, a consultant for the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative, shared his expertise on domestic violence fatality review boards and helped the audience recognize crucial gaps in services. The summit also allowed for advocates and law enforcement to explain the vernacular associated with their jobs in order to better understand one another during a victim’s crisis.

TCFV would like to thank all who attended for making this year’s summit a successful and productive event. To see photos from Partner to Protect, please view the slideshow below.