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!”