Find information, resources, and help for victims of family violence. Including 24 hour support, safety planning resources, utility waivers, and more. Information and resources are also avaliable for offenders of family violence.
If you need help or support, these national resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are completely anonymous and confidential.
National Domestic Violence Hotline |
National Dating Abuse Helpline |
Help at TCFV
Staff at TCFV can offer resources and support connecting with local programs. Please call our TA Line to talk with a staff member. Our TA Line is available Monday – Friday, during office hours.
TCFV TA Line |
TCFV Office |
The Service Directory is under construction, please call TCFV for help locating a progam.
Resources & Information for Survivors
It can be scary to reach out for help, especially when you don’t know what to expect. All service providers and programs are different and will vary in practice and policy, however, you can find an idea below of some general information about what to expect when reaching out to a family violence program.
When you call a program |
- A caring, listening ear. All programs have people who can listen and provide support and help you navigate options for your situation.
- Many programs offer crisis intervention services and are able to provide emotional support to survivors of family violence.
- Helpful advocacy services. Most programs have trained advocates who can help you navigate the system in different ways.
- Many programs offer emergency shelter services and can walk you through the process of seeking shelter and preparing to enter shelter.
- Help you identify and locate services their program may offer, including transitional housing, support groups and counseling, legal advocacy, and more.
When you go to shelter |
Every shelter is different and it is important to work with shelter staff to understand their specific policies and terms, however, here are some general things you can expect when going to a family violence shelter.
- Family violence shelters are free – there are no fees associated with staying at a shelter.
- Many shelters have shared common areas. Residents share kitchen spaces, common living areas, and bathrooms.
- Families generally share a room or bedroom together.
- Individuals who go into shelter often share a room with other shelter residents.
- While some shelters may offer some type of child care, parents in shelter are responsible for caring for their children.
- All shelters must welcome and accept service animals.
- Many shelters cannot accommodate pets into shelter, however many will work with clients and help make arrangements for a safe place for pets.
- Shelters have laundry services and supply basic linens like sheets, towels, and blankets.
- Programs usually provide emergency supplies for the first few days of shelter, things like food, toiletries, and some clothing.
- For everyone’s safety, programs ask clients adhere to confidentiality and privacy of all residents of shelter. This includes not discussing their names, person information, or situation with anyone.
- Shelters are usually confidential locations and ask that the location be kept private. Shelter residents are often asked to keep the address and location for the shelter private. For this reason, visitors are generally not allowed.
Safety planning can be a helpful tool to use to both increase your safety and asses the danger of your situation. You can safety plan while your in an abusive relationship, when your planning on leave, and after you’ve left. There is no specific way to safety plan, however, here are a few tips that we recommend.
Safety during the relationship |
For anyone in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, having a safety plan in place during the relationship can help you prepare for an emergency and to, wherever possible, increase your safety day to day. Here are some tips to safety planning while in an abusive relationship:
- Think of your home and identify areas that are the most safe to be in. If an argument or incident of abuse occurs, try and move to the safe areas.
- Avoid areas of your home that may pose an additional risk. For example, rooms with only one exit, where weapons are stored, or where there may be additional risks, like falling on hard surfaces in the bathroom.
- During an incident of abuse, avoid going to where your children are to keep the abuse away from them.
- If possible, keep a phone with you or close by whenever you can. Keep important contact numbers you may need in the event you have to leave suddenly or need to call for help.
- If incidents of physical abuse occur, protect your head and make yourself as small of target as possible.
- In the event you need to escape quickly, consider these things if possible: back your car into the drive to make leaving quicker, have emergency money available somewhere safe, and plan ahead of somewhere safe you could go 24 hours a day to regroup. This could be a fire station, a 24 hour grocery store, or a friend or family members home, for example.
- Use code words in the event you need to signal to friends or family that you need help. Clearly define what the code word means. It could mean to call the police or to call you attempt to interrupt the abuse.
- If possible, use code words with children or other people in the home that signal it’s time to leave. Have a plan in place as to what should happen when you use this code word (like go to a neighbors or call Grandma).
Safety when leaving the relationship |
It is important to know that leaving an abusive relationship is an extremely dangerous time and violence often escalates at this time.
- When planning to leave, if at all possible do not notify the abuser that you intend to leave or want to leave. Abuse and violence my escalate and the abuser may escalate their violence to prevent you from leaving the relationship.
- Gather important paperwork and documents to take with you, like driver’s license or ID, marriage license, social security cards, banking and financial information.
- Identify and set up a safe place to go. A friend or family members home, a domestic violence shelter, etc.
- Set aside personal items: medications, important contact information, clothes for you and children, valuables, etc.
- Reach out to resources that may help you prepare: domestic violence programs, legal resources, etc.
- Change contact information to prevent the abuser from being able to contact you.
- Examine your routine and make changes to prevent someone from being able to predict where you’re going to be a certain times.
These tips and suggestions are a starting place when you think of safety planning. If it is safe for you to download, use this document to help you make a personalized safety plan. If you’d like more support with developing a safety plan, contact a local domestic violence program or speak with an advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Legal issues that arise during and after an abusive relationship can be stressful and intimidating. There are a variety of legal resources that may be able to provide support and help in these situations.
Legal Advocates |
Many domestic violence programs have legal advocates on staff. These advocates generally are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advise but can help you navigate the system in other ways.
Legal advocates may be able to work with you to identify legal options and make a plan for more in depth legal services. They may also be able to accompany you to some court dates – this is often called court accompaniment. Here are some additional things to expect when speaking with a legal advocate;
- Services are free of charge.
- Help you fill out paperwork, understand legal processes, help you prioritize legal needs, and more.
- Legal advocates can often help you prepare for hearings and help you understand what will happen before, during, and after the hearing.
- Refer to legal services that can provide more comprehensive legal services
[Some of this information was adapted from the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence]
If you would like to speak to a legal advocate, use TCFV’s online service directory to find one in your community. Programs that offer legal advocacy service may ask that you complete an intake and register as client to receive services. The TCFV Online Service Directory is currently under construction, please call TCFV to speak with a staff member about locating a legal advocate.
Legal Resources |
More comprehensive legal resources are available and can provide information and support. Texas has three legal aid providers that may be able to provide free to low cost legal services. The providers are divided into geographic regions.
- Legal Aid of Northwest Texas | Serving North and West Texas
- Texas RioGrande Legal Aid | Serving Southwest Texas
- Lone Star Legal Aid | Serving West Texas
The Texas Advocacy Project provides a number a legal resources and information statewide. Their services include: a legal hotline, protective order packets, assisted Pro Se program, teen jusitice initiative, and more.
Texas Law Help is an online resource that can connect you to legal resources by zip code.
Protective Orders |
Protective orders are one legal resource that you can obtain if you are experiencing family violence. Protective orders are free and order someone who you’ve had a close relationship with not to hurt you. A protective order is a civil court order issued to prevent continuing acts of family violence.
There are 3 types of Protective Orders in Texas:
- Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order
- Final Protective Order
- Magistrates Order of Emergency Protection
A protective order prohibits the respondent from doing the following:
- Committing family violence
- Communicating in a threatening or harassing manner with a family or household member
- Going near your partner’s residence and place of employment
- Going near childcare and school facilities
- Possessing a firearm
Violation of these provisions is subject to immediate arrest.
A protective order may also do the following:
- Award child custody and visitation
- Award exclusive use of the residence
- Require the payment of support for the petitioner or parties’ children
- Award the use and possession of property
- Order the respondent to attend a Batterers Intervention and Prevention Program
The best tool a survivor in the CPS system can have is to be well informed of their rights and responsibilities. Here is some information if you are navigating the child protection system.
- Survivor Rights Card | This card provides information about your rights and responsibilities while involved with CPS. Download in English or Spanish
- Parents in CPS | Child Protection Services has an online guide for parents in the system that answers common questions parents have about CPS cases.
- What Happens to my Child? | Health and Human Services and Child Protection Services have created this guide when dealing with a CPS investigation when domestic violence is involved.
- Administrative Review of an Investigative Finding (ARIF) | At the end of any CPS investigation, CPS must give parents a letter explaining the decision and whether you, as a parent, have been given a finding as a perpetrator of child abuse and neglect. If you do not receive this letter, you can request a copy. If you do not agree with the decision you can ask for an ARIF within 45 days of receiving the finding letter.
- You are not required to have an attorney to file an ARIF, however it may be helpful to consult an attorney with CPS and domestic violence experience. Find resources for legal help under ‘legal resources’.
Support and help are available to you. Please speak with an advocate if you would like help safety planning when children are involved in an abusive situation. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has trained advocates available 24/7.
Call 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website for more information.
Fluctuating immigration law has increased fear in immigrant communities. If you have concerns about accessing family violence services due to your immigration status, know that you have the right to be safe and seek help at domestic violence program regardless of your immigration status. All survivors of domestic and family violence are welcome to access services and all survivors have federal confidentiality protections when seeking services at these programs.
Immigration Help for Survivors of Domestic Violence |
- TCFV has developed an Immigration Service Directory to help identify programs across Texas that specialize in immigration law.
- Texas Immigrant Rights Hotline provides information about immigrant laws, ‘know your rights’ resources, and referrals to attorneys.
- When calling the hotline you will be connected with volunteer attorneys, law students, and Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representatives. If your call is routed to voice mail, leave a message if it is safe to do so.
Safety Planning for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence |
- It is critical to develop a safety plan that addresses your immigration concerns.
- Consider working with an immigration attorney, domestic violence advocate, or a trust person in your community to help you develop this plan.
- Review your plan often and go over it with your children.
Utility Deposit Waiver forms in downloadable and printable forms. An advocate from a local domestic violence program can help you fill out and certify the form.
Waiver of Electric and Telephone Service Deposit | Letter for Family Violence (english)
Waiver of Electric and Telephone Service Deposit | Letter for Family Violence (spanish)
Austin Energy Wavier (english)
Austin Energy Wavier (spanish)
Waiver of Gas Service Deposit (english)
Waiver of Gas Service Deposit (spanish)
Resources & Information for Offenders
If you have questions or concerns about what is healthy, unhealthy, or abusive behavior in an intimate relationship, advocates are avaliable to provide information and support. Speak with an advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7. It is completely free, anonymous and confidential.
National Domestic Violence Hotline |
National Dating Abuse Helpline |
- use fear as a way to control your partner?
- push, shove, or throw your partner around (into walls, floor, etc)?
- slap your partner with an open hand? make your partner ask you for permission?
- control who your partner can see or be with? criticize your partner’s friends and relatives?
- grab or injure your partner by holding or squeezing too tightly?
- feel your partner spends too much time with family and friends?
- embarrass your partner?
- control your partner’s spending?
- try and strangle your partner?
- pinch your partner?
- blame your partner for your actions or behavior?
- force your partner to have sex with you?
- usually get your way?
If you identify with any of these behaviors, it may be helpful to consult with a Battering Intervention and Prevention Program for support. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to locate a BIPP near you.
Can I volunteer to attend a BIPP?
- Yes, you can. BIPPs in Texas encourage volunteer participation. Find an accredited program to make sure you are receiving services that meet minimum standards.
How do I find the nearest BIPP?
- Programs accredited by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Community Justice Assistance Division TDCJ-CJAD must meet the requirements for court-mandated BIPPs. For a complete list of accredited programs, visit: The Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
What is an accredited BIPP?
An accredited BIP program:
- Must comply with specific guidelines.
- Must have trained employees.
- Must conduct criminal background checks on their employees.
- Must show that their program meets minimum state guidelines.
- Must provide at least 36 hours, 18 weeks of group intervention.
- Must cover specific information in group.
- Can charge fees for attending groups.
- Believes that abusive behavior involves choice.
- Believes people who are abusive can choose to change their behavior.