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