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One in the Movement

New Advocates

One in the Movement is a web-based training experience for family violence advocates. This training hub fuses live monthly webinars, self-paced programs, an electronic guidebook and information about on-location regional sessions covering essential tools every savvy advocate should know.

The Essential Guide: An Introduction to Advocating for Survivors of Family Violence is your comprehensive guide learn the ropes of victim advocacy.

Essential Guide


In-Person Trainings

TCFV is pleased to host the One in the Movement Regional Advocate Trainings. These two-day workshop is designed to develop and enhance domestic violence advocacy skills. The coalition is committed to advancing the movement to end domestic violence and offers this complimentary training event for new and seasoned advocates. We invite domestic violence advocates to connect with each other and engage in professional development.


Upcoming Live

Webinars will be taking place every month February – July 2018! Keep checking back for new live webinars, or sign up to receive our training & events alerts. 


Currently On-Demand

OIM | Safety and Services (Coming Soon..)
This session highlights the context of chronic poverty, economic deprivation, and racial and social inequity for some victims and families. In listening sessions, black advocates, victims, and survivors reported that black women experiencing poverty identified a mismatch in services – between what many low-income victims of color identify as their most pressing needs and the services that are available – which places women at increased risk. Traditional advocacy services and safety planning are crucial and must continue to provide desperately needed services. At the same time, there is urgent need to further increase safety by developing and strengthening culturally relevant interventions and advocacy services.

Women in Community and Context
With Jacquelyn Boggess from Center For Family Policy and Practice

Supporting Survivors of Faith
Religion and spirituality is a core identity and guiding influence on many survivors lives. This webinar will explore how to navigate respecting faith practices and beliefs as an advocate, as well as diving into ways in which faith can be elevated as a healing tool for survivors. Additionally, we will highlight various religion’s principles and the way that they often intersect with family violence in order to create deeper understanding of how to hold space for a survivor’s faith.

Serving Human Trafficking Survivors in a Domestic Violence Setting
As our society becomes more aware of human trafficking in our communities, the lack of services for this population can result in domestic violence providers being the only point of access for services. What are the similarities, differences, and overlap between domestic violence and trafficking survivors? This webinar will discuss current data and trends, identifying trafficking survivors and the unique opportunities and challenges of addressing this population within existing programs.

Proceed! LGBTQ Legal Issues for Domestic Violence Advocates
This webinar will assist advocates working with LGBTQ survivors who are engaged in criminal and civil legal processes related to the abuse they’ve experienced. This session will support advocates to increase their skills in identifying the different criminal and civil legal remedies available to LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. “Proceed!” will also provide tools to navigate the legal system, strategies to recognize and respond to the barriers LGBTQ survivors face and practical tips to ensure effective, creative legal advocacy specific to LGBTQ-survivors’ needs and experiences.
CEU’s: 1.5 hours SW, LPC, LMFT

Language, Culture and Gender-Based Violence: Ensuring Meaningful Access to Limited English Proficient Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence
Ensuring meaningful access to limited English proficient (LEP) survivors of domestic and sexual violence is recognizing how gender bias and cultural identity may prevent access to services. This interactive workshop will explore the importance of understanding federal guidelines that enhance access to LEP survivors and developing a language access plan using an intersectional approach. Jose Juan Lara, Jr., MS, has been involved in the movement against gender violence since 1999 in Texas and has facilitated workshops at national, state, and local conferences on crisis intervention, systems advocacy for victims of family and sexual violence, and LGBTQ victims of interpersonal violence.
CEU’s: 1.5 SW, LPC, LMFT

Advocate Career Satisfaction: Research on Occupational Stress, Peer Support, and Supervision to Validate and Support Advocates 
This webinar will explore challenges of being an advocate as well as offer tools for addressing these challenges; it will explore the different types of occupational stress, offer an overview of the VOICE study and its findings such as the impacts of stress and compensation, as well as research over survivors as advocates. In participating in this webinar, advocates will be given time to reflect collectively over organizational and individual interventions to increase compassion satisfaction, resiliency, and advocate for organizational support. The findings The VOICE survey examined the occupational stressors and wellness of those working in the field of intimate partner violence and sexual assault services in Texas. The research project involved in collaboration with state coalitions, researchers, & community stakeholders. The presentation will review survey findings and implications for Texas family violence agencies.
CEU’s: 1.5 SW, LPC, LMFT

Navigating the Intersections – Cultural Humility and Trauma-informed Approaches 
This webinar will consider the many ways that trauma and culture intersect and offer advocates an integrated approach from the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health (NCDVTH). This approach incorporates ways of being accessible, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed in our service design and delivery. This webinar will be presented by Cathy Cave of NCDVTH. Cathy provides training in alignment with the Center’s integrated approach for supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She uses her survivor, family, community, provider and administrative perspectives to facilitate organizational change at local, state and national levels.
CEUs: 1.5 SW, LPC, LMFT hours

We’re in this Together: Folding Prevention into our Advocacy
Our movement envisions a world where no one would dream of humiliating, hurting, dominating, or controlling the person they love. Primary prevention is at the heart of our work. From children’s advocates to development staff, we can all promote prevention messaging, and cross-team collaborations bolster our program’s prevention and community education work. Tyreena Heck and María Limón, TCFV’s prevention coordinators will present prevention strategies that can be employed agency-wide.

ReCentering Services: Understanding Rules Reduction in Shelter & Services
Interested in enhancing your ability to provide trauma-informed & survivor-centered services at your agency? Ever wondered how to approach reducing rules for services while still offering a supportive service environment? Join us for this webinar that will provide a basic overview of the rules reduction philosophy and offer tools to participants to begin examining their service environment. This session will also allow you to hear directly from two programs in Texas who have employed the approach who will share their lessons learned!

Coordinating Services: IPV and Healthcare
This webinar offers a forum for providers, advocates, and stakeholders across the State to regroup and offer updates on their efforts since TCFV’s Health Summit last August. Learn about the injury prevention and trauma sectors and how local advocates and programs may engage with this network.
Presenter: Jennifer Northway

Enhancing Economic Agency For Survivors
This is an introduction to survivor-centered economic agency framework and curriculum, including the newly released Economic Security for Survivors Atlas from The Center for Survivor Agency and Justice and the Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum from the Allstate Foundation. The webinar will connect economic strategies to resources and advocacy work to enhance survivor financial capacity. It will highlight innovative work at current domestic violence programs, including a demonstration of the Fort Bend County Women’s Center survivor specific economic stability website and offer advocate tips for credit building and microloan initiatives such as The Independence Project.
Presenters: Mona Muro and Vesna Anic

Enhanced Safety Planning with Immigrant Survivors
The Enhanced Safety Planning with Immigrant Survivors will provide advocates with information and best practices related to pressing immigration questions. Immigration legal experts will answer questions such as: • What should noncitizen survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault do if they come into contact with local or state law enforcement? • What should they do if they come into contact with immigration? Join us for the webinar and learn how to conduct enhanced, immigration safety planning with your noncitizen clients and help them plan ahead to protect themselves and their families.

Unresolved: Exploring the impact of trauma on adolescent brains
In this webinar the following topics will be covered: 1. The science behind trauma’s impact on a child’s brain and behavior; 2. The long-term or short-term challenges that children may face as a result of being survivors of trauma or witnesses of abuse; 3. A discussion with agency representatives about the unique strategies they are employing to assist children survivors of abuse. This webinar will be hosted by Josh Brown. Josh serves as the Director of Special Initiatives and Community Education for the Fort Bend Women’s Center. He oversees multiple innovative programs targeted at improving outcomes for survivors of intimate partner violence. He leads a unique initiative that has made FBWC a national pioneer in the use of neurofeedback for traumatic brain injury and trauma symptoms. Additionally, Josh oversees a positive reinforcement program with the goal of increasing client motivation using a token economy.

HHSC Webinars

These webinars:

  • provide foundational information focused on developing your knowledge of family violence systems currently in place;
  • extend knowledge of advocacy best practices;
  • meet HHSC training requirements for new advocates;
  • are not required in training new employees of family violence programs;
  • and are offered free of charge but programs are responsible for monitoring completion and credits.

TCFV does not provide Continuing Education Units (CEU) for previously recorded webinars.  

Current Texas Laws Addressing Family Violence, Part 1: Civil Laws
Current Texas Laws Addressing Family Violence, Part 2: Criminal Laws
Supplemental Materials: Discussion Guide, Part 1 & Part 2
This webinar was updated 02/18/2018
This webinar will provide advocates with a basic understanding of legal definitions and law pertaining to family violence. Extensive information about criminal and civil legal options available for family violence and survivors in Texas and updates on family violence-related laws are the focus. Topic areas which will be addressed include advocacy versus legal definitions of family violence, criminal legal options for holding offenders accountable, protective orders, and divorce and custody remedies. Meets HHSC Rule Requirement – §379.404. New Employee Orientation and Training. (3) A brief summary of current Texas laws that address family violence issues.
Presenter: Tracy Grinstead-Everly, JD

Economic Options for Victims of Family Violence
Supplemental Material: Discussion Guide
The Economic Options for Victims and Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence webinar will provide an overview of economic abuse, the connections between survivor safety and economic stability, and the importance of developing survivor-centered economic justice advocacy and programming. Participants will be introduced to state and federal economic related relief and options available to survivors including housing protections, the family violence option for TANF recipients, and financial literacy. This webinar will meet the new requirement for HHSC-funded family violence programs to provide training to new employees and direct service volunteers about economic options for victims of family violence. Meets HHSC Rule Requirement §379.404. cont. (c) Direct service employees and their supervisors must also receive training on the following: 6) Economic options for victims of family violence.
Presenter: Krista DelGallo and Mona Muro

Advocacy with Peer Counseling Techniques
This webinar focuses on peer counseling techniques. The movement to end intimate partner violence has a rich history of peer-to-peer support and empowerment-based services, which can be improved upon with the help of social science research. Recent research has highlighted best practices for micro and macro advocacy with survivors of domestic violence. In this presentation, research supported techniques and approaches to peer counseling with be discussed. Survivor-centered interpersonal skills will be emphasized, with strategies for implementation. Self-care planning for addressing occupational stresses when providing peer counseling will be explored. Meets HHSC Rule Requirement §379.404. cont. (c) Direct service employees and their supervisors must also receive training on the following: (3) Peer counseling techniques.
Presenter: Leila Wood, PhD

Civil Rights Laws and Regulations
Texas Health and Human Services agencies and their contractors are required to comply with state and federal civil rights requirements. This presentation will cover the requirements for providers who serve HHS clients. Meets HHSC Rule Requirement – §379.404. cont. (c) Direct service employees and their supervisors must also receive training on the following: (9) Applicable civil rights laws and regulations.
Presenter: Paula Traffas

Crisis Intervention
This webinar will provide all employees with a definition of crisis intervention, characteristics of crisis within a framework of family violence services, assessment/intervention skills and strategies and referrals. Safety planning is an important component of crisis intervention and will be discussed throughout the webinar. Meets HHSC Rule requirement §379.404. cont. (c) Direct service employees and their supervisors must also receive training on the following: (1) Crisis Intervention.
Presenter: Margaret Bassett, LPC-S

Dynamics of Family Violence
In your role as an advocate, understanding the fundamentals of family violence is vital to your work. This webinar will equip you with an understanding of the forces binding victims to their abusers. You will walk away from this presentation feeling equipped to assist victims with breaking the cycle of violence in their lives. Meets HHSC Rule Requirement – §379.404. New Employee Orientation and Training. (1) Dynamics of family violence.
Presenter: Roy Rios

HHSC Required Policy and Procedures
This webinar will provide a broad overview of the required policies under the Health and Human Service Commission Family Violence Program including the framework for services to survivors of family violence and program policies. Participants will learn about these required policies as well as how to implement survivor-centered advocacy while following state regulations. Meets HHSC Rule Requirement §379.404. cont. (c) Direct service employees and their supervisors must also receive training on the following: (7) The center’s policies and procedures, including all Health and Human Services Commission required policies and procedures.
Presenters: Molly Voyles and Elise Fleming

Legal Options for Survivors of Family Violence
Supplemental Material: Discussion Guide
This webinar will provide advocates an orientation to the different legal options available to survivors. Survivors of family violence may be involved with many different systems at the same time (i.e., CPS, Criminal Court, & Family Court). This webinar will provide advocates with resources and options available within these different systems to help survivors feel empowered and confident in accessing the resources available. Meets HHSC Rule Requirement §379.404. cont. (c) Direct service employees and their supervisors must also receive training on the following: (5) Legal options for victims of family violence.

Risk Assessment and Safety Planning for Victims of Family Violence
This Webinar focuses on providing information about the importance of assessing risk and lethality for victims of family violence. It will offer information to increase knowledge of the importance of assessing and the development of a safety plan that is appropriate to the level of risk. Meets HHSC Rule requirement §379.404. cont. (c) Direct service employees and their supervisors must also receive training on the following: (4) Risk assessment and safety planning for victims of family violence.
Presenter: Barbie Brashear

Hotline Skills 
Hotline Advocates are often the first connection survivors make when seeking services, and, as such, they are responsible for setting a tone that conveys the program is a safe, welcoming, and accessible resource.  This webinar is designed to assist Advocates in developing and enhancing their skill set in responding to the complexities of family violence through hotline calls.

Catalog & Archive

Unauthorized Practice of Law- Regulations, Laws, and Policies
Legal advocates at family violence programs are required to maintain knowledge about the legal system, to provide effective advocacy for their clients. However, care must be taken so that such advocacy does not become or appear to be legal advice, which could affect community support and collaboration or even result in charges of unauthorized practice of law.
Presenter: Tracy Grinstead-Everly, JD

African American Teens and Dating Violence
The workshop examines the issues of African American adolescents who are in abusive relationships. The workshop will focus on the intersection of teen dating violence and adolescent development. The session will provide information on the connection between teen culture, African American culture, and community norms.
Presenter: Debra Mitchell-Ibe

Trauma-Informed Services with Survivors of Family Violence
This webinar will explore the concept of Fallot and Harris’ core values of trauma-informed interactions. Understanding the context of certain patterns of behavior helps us to more respectfully and effectively interact and serve survivors. This session will also include recommendations for strategies that integrate these core values into centers’ existing services.
Presenter: Michelle (Shell) Schwartz

Train the Trainer

Welcome to TCFV’s One in the Movement Train the Trainer series! We are glad you are here.

To enhance our advocate education series, we created an online Train the Trainer course for those who train advocates, volunteer advocates, and/or community members. This six module course presents the essential information needed in advocate training and then offers coaching tips on how best to train on this material.

Train the Trainer is pre-prerecorded, so you can view the modules on your schedule and at your pace. There are also a number of interactive elements and activities, so you can pause the recording, practice, then come back and process your experience.

The six modules and the supplemental module are CEU certified. You will need to complete the entire module to receive your CEU certificate.

Introduction |Module One | Module Two | Module ThreeModule Four | Module Five| Module Six | Supplemental Module

Introduction | Train the Trainer

Our Introduction unpacks our methodology for this series and explore the objectives for each module as well as answering questions about the program from the live audience.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Navigate the series with ease and confidence.

Record Date: 13 December 2018
Length: 1.0 hour
CEU: none
Level: All

Module One | Upskilling the Trainer

Suzanne Holsomback presents Module One, focusing on building the skills trainers need to facilitate and explore advocate training material.

By the end of this module, you as a trainer will be able to:

1) Identify and train on the two main DV/SA training philosophies,

2) Employ new and different facilitation skills,

3) Recognize and plan for space and accessibility issues, and

4) Manage group dynamics.

Record Date: 29 November 2018
Length: 1.75 hours
Level: All

Module Two | Dynamics of Domestic Violence

Suzanne Holsomback presents Module Two diving into the Dynamics of Domestic Violence and how to introduce this field to advocates and community members alike.By the end of this module, you will be able to:

1) Identify and define the different types of abuse individuals experience,

2) Explain why power and control cause domestic violence,

3) Recognize the different tactics abusers use to control their partners, and

4) Describe the equality wheel ad discuss the characteristics of equality in relationships.

Record Date: 30 November 2018
Length: 1.0 hr
Level: All

Module Three | Power & Privilege

Victoria Reaves presents Module Three and encourages you to explore your power and privilege and how those elements manifest in society. She then provides activities and shares multi-media resources for training on power and privilege.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

1) Understand the theory of power and privilege.​

​2) Identify how power and privilege can oppress and create oppressive systems. ​

​3) Recognize the intersectionality of power and privilege and gender, race, nationality, sexuality, and class.​

​4) Determine how power and privilege influences domestic violence.

Record Date: 06 December 2018
Length: 1.0 hr
Level: All

Module Four | Effects of Trauma on Survivors and Empowering Advocacy

Mikisha Hooper presents Module Four on how trauma impacts survivors and utilizing survivor centered services in your advocacy.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

1) Understand the impact of trauma on survivors with whom you work.​

2) Utilize elements of trauma informed care in your advocacy.

Record Date: 12 December 2018
Length: 1.0 hr
Level: All

Module Five – Advocacy Skills 

Sarah Hilderbrand presents Module Five on building Advocacy Skills. She unpacks theory and explores activities to develop crisis intervention skills.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

1) Define a supportive relationship and explain the goal of supportive relationships.​

​2) Articulate the essential conditions for a supportive and empowering relationship.​

​3) Utilize active listening and validation techniques with survivors​

​4) Differentiate sympathy and empathy in survivor support.

Record Date: TBA
Length: TBA
Level: All

Module Six – Safety Planning 
Claire Sudolsky presents Module Six on Safety Planning. In this module, she will explore safety planning, lethality assessments, and protective orders and interactive ways to develop skills in advocates.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

1) Understand the philosophy of safety planning and help survivors create safety plans based on their specific needs.  ​

​2) Utilize survivor-centered advocacy techniques that focus on the survivors’ autonomy and unique strengths.​

​3) Encourage survivors to identify concerns and make their own decisions to increase their own safety in their relationship.​

​4) Assess for lethality and help survivors explore possible risks and options in a variety of areas of their life. ​

​5) Identify the varying types of Protective Orders and integrate Protective Orders into survivor safety plans.

Record Date: 11 December 2018
Length: 1.0 hr
Level: All

Supplemental – TCFV Resources

Suzanne Holsomback presents the Supplemental Module to look at some of TCFV’s most utilized resources and resources the staff want advocates know about and feel confident in using in their work.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

1)  Locate and utilize TCFV resources to enhance your professional development and the support you provide to survivors of Domestic Violence.

Record Date: 11 December 2018
Length: 0.5 hr
Level: All


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What brought you to this work?

Helpful Resources

TCFV Membership – members get access to exclusive resources, discounted trainings, and more! Already a member? Visit the Member Center to see your benefits.

Resources for Survivors – view resources for survivors, including help with safety planning, legal resources, CPS, immigration, and utility waivers.

Texas Family Violence Programs Service Directory – find local programs and services near you.

Creating Safer Spaces – this resource package for program policy, privilege, and Osnium database management is exclusive to TCFV members.

Legal Advocates

TCFV is committed to fostering the development of programs that promote the safety of everyone affected by domestic violence, hold abusers accountable and encourage a victim-centered response from the judicial system. We offer efficient and effective information, resources and trainings and deliver technical assistance and provide a safe and supportive place for legal advocates to network regarding issues surrounding helping victims of domestic violence access the legal system.


Customized Training

The Legal Advocacy Network (LAN) offers an array of customized, regional trainings throughout the year and is available to bring in experts to provide full-day, interagency trainings that fit your community needs, free of charge.

If you are interested in hosting a LAN training in your area, check out our customized trainings for legal advocates!


Victim Rights

Lease 30 Day Notice to Vacate enables victims of family violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking, that has occurred at the residence, to break their lease without penalty.  A legal advocate can provide an accompanying letter to help provide supporting documentation when needed. Lease Termination for Family Violence Victims: Talking Points for Advocates Housing Brochure

  • 30 Day Notice to Vacate for Victim of Family Violence (English and Spanish)
  • 30 Day Notice to Vacate for Victim of Sexual Assault (English and Spanish)
  • 30 Day Notice to Vacate for Victim of Stalking (English and Spanish)

Those who are being evicted can get more information about the eviction process and tenants’ rights at Texas Tenant Advisor. Pseudonyms Pseudonym Forms – These forms help victims request that law enforcement use a pseudonym, or fictitious name, and remove the victim’s name from public files and records concerning the offense, including policy summary reports, press releases, and records of judicial proceedings.

Victim Rights

Victim Rights Request Letter – This tool helps victims formally invoke their legal rights under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 56 Address Confidentiality Program helps victims of family violence, sexual assault, and stalking keep their actual address confidential by providing a substitute post office box address and free mail forwarding service for participants through the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).  Applications can be obtained through a local crisis center and must be signed off on by a domestic violence specialist.

Victim Notification provides crime victims with offender status and court information via a toll-free number (877) 894-8463 and website. Court and offender status may also be obtained through jail record and the local county and/or district court website.

Victim Impact Statement gives victims the opportunity to provide a detailed account of the emotional/psychological, physical, and financial impact of the crime on the victim and family members to the attorney representing the state and the judge before sentencing or before a plea bargain agreement is accepted and to the Board of Pardons and Paroles before an inmate is released on parole.

Protective Orders

Protective Orders

Texas Protective Orders come in multiple forms.  These are different from Restraining Orders, which are issued by Family Courts to protect property and parties involved in civil suits like divorce or custody.  Restraining Orders are NOT Protective Orders and vice versa.

  • Magistrates Order for Emergency Protection ( CCP Art. 17.292)
    • Issued by the Municipal Court after the abuser is arrested
    • Effective immediately and good up to 91 days
    • Enforceable by arrest if violated
  • Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order ( Fam. Code 82)
    • Issued by County Court upon request (without notice to offender)
    • Effective immediately and good up to 21 days (or till hearing in open court)
    • Enforceable by a civil contempt law suit (NOT enforceable by arrest)
  • Final Protective Order ( Fam. Code 85 & Tex. CCP Ch. 7A)
    • Issued by a County Court
    • Effective upon notice of respondent & good up to 2 years
      • In extreme cases can be effective for life (SA, trafficking, stalking)
    • Enforceable by arrest and/or civil contempt law suit

For more information on Texas protective orders please see Texas Protective Order Overview. Pro Se Protective Order Packet enables victims to apply for a protective order on their own, without the help of an attorney.  However, it is always recommended that victims seek help from an attorney when at all possible.  Possible options include the District or County Attorney, Legal Aid, Crisis Center Staff Attorney, or private attorneys.

For more information about filing a pro se protective order please visit Texas Law Help. Protective Orders and Economic Options

Protective Orders and Safety Options


Crime Victims Compensation

Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) is available to innocent victims of crimes involving “criminally injurious conduct” who suffer physical or emotional harm as a result of the crime. In most cases, the applicant must report the crime in a reasonable amount of time and file a CVC application within three years of the date of the crime. Crime Victims’ Compensation may cover expenses including:

  • Reasonable medical, prescription and rehabilitation expenses;
  • Mental health counseling;
  • Loss of earnings or support;
  • Childcare or care for a dependent adult to enable a victim, spouse, surviving spouse of a deceased victim or guardian to continue employment if necessitated by the crime;
  • Reasonable attorney fees for assistance in filing the application and in obtaining benefits, if the claim is approved;
  • Rent and relocation expenses for victims of family violence;
  • Rent and relocation expenses for victims of sexual assault if the assault occurred in their residence.
  • CVC Application

Utility Deposit Waiver Forms

For more information about these and other forms visit the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Child Support

Child Support

Parents may apply to receive child support through the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) or a survivor may request child support through a protective order. The OAG will establish paternity, financial and medical support, and access and visitation of the child(ren). The Attorney General also offers parent locator services. If a survivor is concerned for their safety, they should ask for their case to be “flagged” with the Family Violence Indicator (FVI). A Family Violence Indicator will:

  • Flag your child support case for “family violence.”
  • Restrict release of your contact information.
  • Require that any legal actions are addressed at court, rather than through a CSRP negotiation conference with the other parent in the child support office.
  • Not require that you negotiate in the same room or at the same table as the other parent at court.

The Family Violence Option allows states to provide temporary waivers, or modifications of requirements, such as child support cooperation, paternity establishment, work activities, and time limits to victims of family violence who would be put in danger by complying with these requirements. The Family Violence Option, can help to ensure that survivors have the ability to obtain the benefits their families need safely. For more information about safely participating in the OAG Child Support Program, go to: www.getchildsupportsafely.org. To apply for child support services, individuals may go online to www.oag.state.tx.us, go to a local child support office, or request an application be mailed by calling 1-800-252-8014. Applications submitted online will be processed much faster.

Safety Options If you are a victim of domestic violence and/or sexual assault, and find yourself in the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Child Support Court with your abuser, you can choose to:

  • Request a safe and separate waiting room
  • Request an escort to and from your vehicle
  • Have a support person of your choosing present, including an advocate
  • Inform the OAG attorney, as well as the bailiff, of:
    • Safety concerns you may have regarding your personal safety and the safety of your children, and
    • That you are a victim of domestic violence and/or sexual assault
  • Inform and provide documentation to the OAG attorney and the judge, at the hearing, of any:
    • Prior felonies your abuser may have
    • Previous and current protective orders
    • Statements of violence
    • CPS Family Safety Plans
    • Police reports
    • Pictures
  • Request time to prepare documentation for court or to secure representation

If you are interested in having an advocate accompany you to your next court hearing or have questions regarding your rights, please contact your local crisis center or the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233.


 Immigrant survivors often face additional barriers to services. To assist you in helping survivors know and assert their rights in encounters with immigration and government officials we offer few pieces of information.  TCFV  has created the Immigration Legal Services Directory for advocates and immigrant survivors found here. You can use the directory to identify contact information and services provided by organizations across Texas that specialize in immigration law.

For additional Advocate best practices and resources consult our Enhanced Safety Planning with Immigrant Survivors webinar and the Tips for Advocates: Immigration in the TCFV Creating Safer Spaces: Survivor Intake & Case File Resource Package Technical Guidance.

To supplement your knowledge consider accessing additional immigration resources such as:

  • NIWAP The National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, which offers training  technical assistance to a wide range of professionals working at various levels who work with and/or whose work affects immigrant women and children. Their site includes links to archived webinars and a web library on relevant issues for working with immigrant survivors.
  • ASISTA provides legal and advocacy focused assistance to advocates, lawyers, and policy makers regarding immigrant survivors of crime. Their site includes a Clearinghouse of information for practitioners.
  • IAN  The Immigration Advocates Network promotes effective communication and collaboration among immigration advocates and organizations.

Immigration FAQ

“Undocumented person” – someone who is in the country who is not a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident (LPR, green card holder) and does not have any lawful immigration status. These persons enter the United States without legal permission from a BCIS official or they have entered legally, but overstayed their visas.

“Lawful permanent resident” – also referred to as a greencard holder or LPR. These persons have the right to live and work permanently in the United States. They may apply to the BCIS to bring certain relatives to the U.S. and can apply for citizenship after being in the U.S. for five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen.

United States Citizen – there are several possible ways to gain citizenship in the United States including:

  • Through birth in the U.S., its territories, or certain possessions, e.g. Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands;
  • Through naturalization (ex: petitioned by U.S. citizen spouse);
  • Through parents/grandparents; or
  • Through adoption by a citizen parent.

What are an immigrant or undocumented person's basic rights?

If stopped by any law enforcement official (local police, FBI, immigration authorities…), a non-United States citizen (immigrant, undocumented person) has the right to remain silent, especially in regards to disclosing her immigration status. These persons also have the right to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions or signing any documents. If accused of a crime, a non-US citizen (regardless of immigration status) has the same rights as a US citizen in the criminal context. For example, any person has the right against unreasonable search and seizure. In the immigration context, you have:

  • The right to an attorney or agency specializing in immigration law
  • The right to communicate with the Consulate of your country of origin, and
  • The right to a hearing before an Immigration Judge. (An immigrant could be deported without a hearing if the survivor waives this right or agrees to leave, has criminal convictions, was arrested at the border or has been ordered deported in the past.)

NOTE: In the immigration context, these rights must be asserted. The immigration courts will not provide an attorney, though an immigrant/undocumented person has the right to consult an attorney.

What types of assistance are available to immigrant survivors of family violence?

Immigrant survivors have the right to be safe and seek help. Regardless of her immigration status, a survivor can obtain:

  • Police assistance,
  • Emergency medical care,
  • Shelter,
  • Protective orders, and
  • Divorce and/or Custody of children.

Further, survivors and witnesses of crimes have no obligation to state their place of birth or immigration status when accessing emergency assistance, filing a report or applying for a protective order. Also, immigrant survivors have the right to speak to police or medical personnel without their partners present. Immigrant survivors have the right to seek legal advice at any time without their partner’s cooperation.

How does the Violence Against Women Act help immigrant survivors?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), originally passed by Congress in 1994, includes immigration provisions that allow immigrant survivors of domestic violence, who are married to a United States citizen of lawful permanent resident, and their children, obtain lawful permanent residence without the cooperation of their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. VAWA created two primary forms of relief for battered immigrants: VAWA self-petition and VAWA cancellation of removal.

Who is eligible to self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act?

Self-petitions are available to:

  1. Abused spouses married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (or if divorced within 2 years of filing). These persons may apply for themselves and for their abused or non-abused children, even if the children are not related to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  2. Abused children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
  3. Immigrant parent of a child who has been abused by the child’s U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident parent.

What do you need to prove a VAWA self-petition?

A person who falls into one of the above categories will be allowed to file on her own under VAWA, without the sponsorship of the abusive spouse, if:

  1. The survivor files her application within two years of a final divorce
  2. His or her spouse or parent is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or has lost status within the two years prior to the filing of the application;
  3. The survivor has resided in the United States with the citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent;
  4. The survivor was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage;
  5. The survivor is a person of good moral character; AND
  6. The survivor married her spouse in good faith. If the marriage is not legitimate solely because of bigamy on the part of the USC or LPR abusive spouse, but the victim can prove that she/he believed she/he was entering a bona fide marriage, she/he is still eligible to self-petition through VAWA. Bigamy is the criminal offense of knowingly contracting a second marriage while the first marriage is still subsisting and un-dissolved.

What is VAWA cancellation of removal?

VAWA cancellation of removal is a defense to deportation. This is a remedy available to an immigrant survivor who is in deportation proceedings. If cancellation of removal is granted, the judge will cancel the deportation and the applicant will be granted lawful permanent residency status. This remedy is only available to immigrants in deportation proceedings. To be eligible for cancellation of removal, an applicant must be in one of the following categories:

  • Currently or formerly abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident,
  • Abused child of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parents, or
  • Immigrant parent of a child who has been abused by the child’s U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident parent.

What do you need to qualify for VAWA cancellation of removal?

Immigrant women in any of the above categories are eligible for cancellation of removal if they prove the following:

  1. The survivor has lived in the United States continuously for 3 years immediately preceding filing the application for cancellation of removal,
  2. The survivor was subjected to battering or extreme cruelty by her spouse while in the United States,
  3. The survivor is determined to have “good moral character,”
  4. The survivor is currently deportable. The survivor will not be eligible for cancellation if she/he is deportable for marriage fraud, certain criminal convictions or because she/he is a threat to U.S. national security, AND
  5. The survivor or her child, in the opinion of the Attorney General, would suffer extreme hardship if deported.

Can parents of abused children benefit from VAWA self petitioning or cancellation of removal?

Yes! A parent of a child abused by an LPR or USC parent may self petition or apply for cancellation of removal under VAWA, if she/he is the spouse of the abusive parent. The non-abused parent can also include other children as derivatives, even if the children are not related to the LRP or USC abuser. (INA §204(a)(1)(B)(ii)).

Are there other legal remedies for immigrant survivors of abuse, especially if a victim is not married to LPR or USC abuser?

Yes! Two other visas have been created that are available to survivors of crime (U Visa) and survivors of trafficking (T Visa).

What is a U visa?

VAWA 2000 created a new non-immigrant visa that is available for certain crime survivors. This visa is available to survivors who have suffered substantial physical or emotional injury as a result of being subjected to specific crimes committed against them in the United States. In order to qualify for a U visa, a crime victim must:

  1. Show that the survivor has suffered “substantial physical or mental abuse” as the result of a form of criminal activity (or “similar” activity);*
  2. Show that the survivor possesses information concerning the criminal activity, AND
  3. Provide a certification from a federal, state or local law enforcement officer, prosecutor or judge or authority investigating the criminal activity designated in the statute that certifies that the victim has been helpful, is being helpful or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

*Criminal activity includes rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, being held hostage, peonage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury, or attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes.

What is a T visa?

On January 31, 2002, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued interim regulations governing the T visa (trafficking visa). To be eligible for a trafficking visa, a non-citizen must show the following:

  1. The survivor is or has been a victim of a severe form of trafficking;*
  2. Is physically present in the United States or at a port of entry on account of trafficking;
  3. The survivor has contacted a federal law enforcement agency (the BCIS, FBI, local US Attorneys Office or the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice) and has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in investigating or prosecuting trafficking; AND
  4. Would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal.

*Severe forms of trafficking include: sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or service, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

Are any of these remedies available to male survivors of abuse?

Yes! All of the above listed remedies, including VAWA remedies, are available to male survivors of abuse.

Should an immigrant who seems eligible for one of these remedies consult with a legal services provider?

Yes. Persons interested in applying for any of these legal remedies for immigrants are strongly encouraged to speak with an attorney or certified legal services advocate before sending any application into the BCIS. Note: Immigrants should beware of notarios and other fraudulent agencies purport to perform immigration legal services at high prices, even though they are not qualified nor certified to assist in these matters. They not only steal money from the survivors but also may jeopardize future possibilities of adjusting immigration status.

Are survivors with a prima facie or approval notice of a VAWA self petition eligible for federal public benefits?

Yes. Survivors are immediately eligible for federal public benefits, such as subsidized housing. Their children are eligible for CHIP (State Children’s Public Health Insurance Program) and Food Stamps. Survivors with a prima facie notice may also be eligible for federal means tested benefits (such as TANF and Medicaid) if they entered the country on or before August 22, 1996.

Are undocumented immigrants eligible for any public benefits?

Yes. All immigrants, regardless of their status or when they entered the county, are eligible for emergency benefits including:

  • Emergency medical care, emergency Medicaid, immunizations, diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases, emergency mental health and substance abuse services,
  • WIC;
  • Summer food programs and school lunch programs;
  • Public education; and
  • Any program necessary to protect life and safety that is not income conditional (shelters, food banks).

Workers at these programs are not required to ask for verification of immigration status. For more detailed information on theses legal remedies and on public benefits available to immigrant survivors of abuse, please see the “Assisting Immigrant Survivors of Abuse” protocol on this website. The Texas Council on Family Violence’s Public Policy Department can answer questions and requests for technical assistance regarding options for immigrant survivors of abuse. TCFV also offers resource materials and trainings on issues affecting immigrant survivors. Please contact us at (800) 525-1978.

Immigrant Accessibility Campaign Materials

Use these awareness tools (editable posters and social media posts) to reach your community. See below for available template outreach messages for your use in English and Spanish. Click the link for materials and a webisode explaining how to edit the materials for use in your community!

Download the materials here


Legal Advocacy Network Listserv

The Legal Advocacy Network is dedicated to offering efficient and effective information, resources and trainings, delivering high quality technical assistance and providing a safe and supportive place for legal advocates to network regarding issues surrounding helping victims of domestic violence access the legal system.

Join the Listserv


Additional Resources

Statutes in Texas Texas Advocacy Project (TAP) is a nonprofit organization working directly with victims, shelters, law enforcement agencies and courts across Texas to deliver effective legal services to Texans in need. Their services are free of charge and provide the type of long-term solutions which break the cycle of violence for thousands of Texans each year. TAP accepts clients without regard to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or county of residence. They have English and Spanish-speaking attorneys and utilize a language interpretation service available around the clock, allowing them to give legal advice in over 170 languages. The Project also employs a service for deaf callers. Phone: (512) 476-5377. Also view TAP’s recommend reading list. Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation helps victims and their families when they have no other means of paying for the financial cost of crime. The Fund is administered by the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program of the Office of the Attorney General. The money in the Fund comes from people who break the law.  State-wide: (800) 983-9933 Austin (512) 936-1200 Texas Law Help is a website dedicated to providing free, reliable legal information to low-income Texans.  It is part of a broader effort within the national legal aid community to use technology, specifically the Internet, to enhance and expand the delivery of legal aid. Womens Law provides state-specific legal information and resources for survivors of domestic violence. They also offer a confidential email legal hotline to offer direct support to survivors, their advocates, friends and family members. Texas Legal Aid Map

  • Texas RioGrande Legal Aid(TRLA) is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents in sixty-eight counties of Southwest Texas, and represents migrant and seasonal farm workers throughout the state of Texas and six southern states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. In addition, TRLA operates public defender programs in several Southwest Texas counties, representing the poor who are accused of felonies, misdemeanors and juvenile crimes. Phone: (888) 988-9996
  • Lone Star Legal Aidis the fourth largest legal aid organization of its type in the United States. LSLA has a proud tradition of successful client-centered work, and, historically, the firm has won victories that affect not only the client who initially presented with a particular issue, but groups of low-income people on community, state, and national levels when the firm’s actions have resulted in systemic policy and procedural changes, such as public housing desegregation and health care access for children. Phone: (800)733-8394
  • Legal Aid of Northwest Texasprovides free civil legal services to low income residents in 114 Texas counties throughout North and West Texas, with offices in Abilene, Amarillo, Brownwood, Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth, Lubbock, McKinney, Midland, Odessa, Plainview, San Angelo, Waxahachie, Weatherford and Wichita Falls.

Catholic Charities provides a comprehensive network of social services aimed at promoting and facilitating self-sufficiency. They offer support and opportunities that empower people and communities to grow and thrive.

The Crime Victims Committee is a standing committee of the State Bar of Texas. Its purpose is to educate the legal profession and the public about legal and social resources available to crime victims. (800) 204-2222, ext. 1855 The Hotline, also known as the National Domestic Violence Hotlineis a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. The Hotline answers a variety of calls and is a resource for domestic violence advocates government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public. (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) (800) 787-3224 Love is Not Abuse is a teen dating violence website that has great information for both those living with violence and their friends and family. Love is Respect has highly-trained peer advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence contains current information for survivors and those dealing with violence. The National Center for Victims of Crime information site includes materials on domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) offers a range of programs and initiatives to address the complex causes and far-reaching consequences of domestic violence. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence features various publications and resources for organizations and individuals working to end domestic violence. Stalking Resource Center offers resources and training regarding stalking. Their Stalking Incident Log is a useful tool. Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP) offers training, technical assistance, policy analysis, and consultation on the most promising practices of the criminal and civil justice systems in addressing intimate partner violence. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) provides victim services and has victims resources for victims and their families.  TDCJ also has an offender search engine to help victims locate offenders within the criminal justice system.

Economic Advocates

Economic abuse, lack of resources and opportunities, and the high costs associated with starting over all function as barriers to survivors’ ability to escape violent relationships and maintain safe, stable lives. Effective advocacy centers on the strengths and resilience of survivors and provides tools and options to promote the prosperity among survivors and their children. TCFV is dedicated to supporting advocates and survivors by serving as a clearinghouse of relevant economic related information and resources and promoting economic justice through policy and systems advocacy.


Safety Planning

Economic safety planning is an additional consideration for survivors when developing a comprehensive safety plan.  Financial abuse is one of the most common tactics that abusers use to control and isolate victims.  Learning how to identify the dynamics and complexities of economic abuse can help survivors overcome financial abuse.  Reviewing short-term strategies can assist survivors in economic safety planning in following a crisis as well as  planning for longer term planning.

If you are a Texas family violence program advocate, you may request the TCFV 2012 Texas Advocates’ Guide (TAG) that includes an entire Economic Options chapter with attachments. Please contact TCFV (1-800-525-1978), if you are interested.

Public Benefits

Public Benefits

Good Cause, also called the Family Violence Option, exists to exempt survivors from certain requirements, such as working and applying for child support, if doing so would place the participant or child in danger. If a TANF participant needs a waiver from the child support requirement, they should inform their Texas Works Advisor at the local Health and Human Services Commission benefits granting office. More information about good cause from child support can be found at: www.getchildsupportsafely.org. If they need a waiver from the work requirements, they should inform their caseworker at the local workforce office.

Public Benefits: Your Texas Benefits Online

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – A monthly cash grant (for children and their parents or relatives who are living with them) that is linked to the parent’s or relative’s participation in work activities and cooperation with program requirements.

One-Time TANF – A one-time cash payment of $1,000 for families in crisis.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – An assistance to help low-income individuals, families and elderly people purchase food, formerly referred to as Food Stamps. Family violence is a basis for Good Cause from Employment and Training (E & T) requirements. In order to receive a good cause waiver for family violence from E & T requirements, a SNAP participant will need to contact the Texas Workforce Center and let their case manager know that they are a victim of family violence and request Good Cause.

Medicaid, CHIP, Healthcare for Women

Some survivors with little or no money might be able to get health benefits through a variety of state programs. If a survivor cannot obtain  get benefits from one of these programs, there may be additional options for health insurance via www.HealthCare.gov.

Medicaid – Government funded health insurance for low-income adults and children. Income eligibility varies by age of child. Medicaid automatically covers individuals receiving TANF. To apply for Medicaid, SNAP, One-Time TANF or TANF, individuals may call 2-1-1 or go to www.yourtexasbenefit.com.  

WIC (Women, Infants and Children) – A program that provides nutrition education, food, formula and other services for low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children under five. WIC clients get vouchers for certain food items they can use at grocery stores throughout the state. Food packages vary depending on the needs of the client, but may include infant formula, milk, cheese, cereal, juice, eggs, peanut butter and beans. To find out more about WIC or to apply, go to www.texaswic.org or call the Texas WIC Program at (800)942-3678.

CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Health coverage for children in families that earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level with sliding scale co-pays. Pregnant women not eligible for Medicaid (with incomes between 185% and 200% of poverty or those lacking lawful immigration status) may be eligible for CHIP coverage of prenatal care, as well as labor and delivery services, if they meet eligibility criteria. To learn more about CHIP or to apply, go to www.chipmedicaid.org  or call (877)543-7669.

Child Support

Parents may apply to receive child support through the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) or a survivor may request child support through a protective order. The OAG will establish paternity, financial and medical support, and access and visitation of the child(ren). The Attorney General also offers parent locator services. If a survivor is concerned for their safety, they should ask for their case to be “flagged” with the Family Violence Indicator (FVI). The FVI ensures that a survivor’s address is kept confidential throughout the application process and routes her case to court.

For more information about safely participating in the OAG Child Support Program, go to: www.getchildsupportsafely.org. To apply for child support services, individuals may go online to www.oag.state.tx.us, go to a local child support office or request an application be mailed by calling 1-800-252-8014. Applications submitted online will be processed much faster. 



Safe, secure, stable housing is critical component to survivor safety.  Understanding the role that state and federal housing protections play in enhancing survivors housing security is paramount. For many survivors housing protections will help prevent homelessness, help survivors escape abuse and violence, and offer critical tools to aid survivors in rebuild their lives.

State Protections
A victim of family violence residing in any rental property has the right to seek police and emergency assistance in response to family violence (TX Property Code § 92.015). A victim of family violence or sexual assault in a rental property also has the right to terminate a lease without penalty. This right applies to:

  • A victim of family violence who has been living with their abuser and who has provided to the landlord a final protective order (under Chapter 85 of the TX Family Code) or a temporary injunction (under Subchapter F, Chapter 6 of the TX Family Code) to stop family violence within a divorce.
    Note: A survivor residing with their abuser and protected under this law is not required to provide a 30-day notice. Texas Property Code 92.016
  • A victim of family violence who does not live with their abuser (abuser is not a co-tenant or co-occupant of the residence) who has provided to the landlord a temporary ex parte order (under Chapter 83 of the TX Family Code), a final protective order or a temporary injunction. They are also required to provide in writing a 30-days’ notice of termination of the lease to the landlord (Texas Property Code 92.016)
  • A victim of sexual assault or parent/guardian of a victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse who was assaulted at their residence or on the premises of the victim’s residence within the previous six months, provided the victim gives 30-days’ notice and documentation of the assault such as; a final PO issued under CCP Ch. 7A, OR Documentation of the assault or abuse from: a licensed health care service provider, a licensed mental health service provider, a victim advocate authorized under Gov. Code Ch. 420 to provide services to victims, to the landlord.  (Texas Property Code 92.0161).
  • A victim or parent/guardian of a victim of stalking that occurred at home or on the property in the last six months may terminate if the victim delivers one of the forms of documentation required for sexual assault  victims, AND a police record documenting the Stalking.  (Texas Property Code 92.0161(d)(2)).

30 Day Notice to Vacate Forms
The 30 Day Notices to Vacate below are intended to assist survivors in asserting their rights under the Texas Property Code.

  • 30 Day Notice to Vacate for Victim of Family Violence (English and Spanish)
  • 30 Day Notice to Vacate for Victim of Sexual Assault (English and Spanish)
  • 30 Day Notice to Vacate for Victim of Stalking (English and Spanish)

Federal Protections
The following housing protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, dating violence and stalking were enacted through the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 and apply to federally funded “covered housing programs”. Public housing authorities, owners and managers of participating in the covered housing programs must comply with VAWA 2013.

  • Housing Provisions 42 U.S.C.A. § 14043e-11(a)(3), 42 U.S.C.A. § 13925(a)(8), (a)(9),
    (a)(10), (a) (29) – The housing protections listed below were enacted through the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2005 & 2013 and apply to all federally administer covered public housing programs and protects victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and affiliated individuals.
  • Eviction Protection 42 U.S.C.A. § 14043e-11(b)(1), (b)(2) – Criminal activity relating to domestic violence, dating violence and stalking does not constitute grounds for terminating a victim’s tenancy. Victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking cannot be evicted because of incidents of actual or threatened violence.  Further, victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking cannot have their housing assistance terminated based on their status as victims unless there is an actual or imminent threat to other tenants or employees.
  • Consistency with Court Orders 42 U.S.C.A. § 14043e-11(b)(3)(C)(i) – PHAs, owners and managers must honor court orders addressing a survivor’s access to or control of property, such as civil protection orders and orders concerning the distribution or possession of property.
  • Ability to Bifurcate Leases 42 U.S.C.A. § 14043e-11(b)(3)(B)(i),(B)(ii) – PHAs and Section 8 landlords may evict, remove or terminate the assistance of the offender while allowing the victim who is the tenant or lawful occupant to remain.
  • Portability 42 U.S.C.A. § 1437f(r)(5) – Victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking using the Section 8 voucher can transfer their voucher to another jurisdiction if safety is a concern, even if moving would otherwise terminate their lease. Public housing residents can request an emergency transfer to another PHA not within the same jurisdiction.
  • Emergency Transfer Plan: 42 U.S.C.A. § 14043e-11(e), (f) – VAWA 2013 includes a new provision mandating that each federal agency adopt a model emergency transfer plan to be used by PHAs and owners or managers of housing assisted under covered housing programs. This transfer plan must allow survivor tenants to transfer to another available and safe dwelling unit assisted under a covered housing program if they (1) requests the transfer and (2) reasonably believe that they are threatened with imminent harm from further violence if they remain in the dwelling.
  • Confidentiality 42 U.S.C.A. § 14043e-11(c)(4) – PHAs, landlords and managers must maintain the confidentiality of any information or documents of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
  • Notification 42 U.S.C.A. § 14043e-11(d), (2)(D) – HUD must develop a notice of VAWA housing rights (“HUD notice”), which includes the right of confidentiality, for applicants and tenants.  Additionally, PHAs, owners and managers must provide the HUD notice and an agency-approved, self-certification form to applicants and tenants. The HUD notice must be available in multiple languages.

Tools & Information 

Survivors asserting their VAWA protections as a qualified tenant, participant, applicant, and or affiliated individual may be requested to provide documentation of the victimization to the public housing authority, owner, and or manager of participating in the covered housing programs.   Survivors may provide one of the following forms of documentation to demonstrate victimization;

  • HUD Form 50066 Self-Certification Form
  • Police, Court or Administrative Record including; federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local entity or administrative records
  • Statement from Third Party; including a victim service provider, medical professional, mental health professional or attorney.  This statement must be signed by the third party under penalty of perjury.

By submitting one of the above listed forms of documentation the survivor meets the requirements under VAWA  (§ 5.2007(b)) and the PHA, owner or manager may not require additional evidence from the Victim.

Financial Education

Financial Education

Financial Education Curriculums

Cost of Living Plans / Budgeting

Debt collection & defense


Payday Lending & Auto Title Loans

Asset Building

Asset Building

Asset Building Organizations

Consumer Rights

Consumer Rights

As one of four organizations selected to participate in the national pilot project; Building Partnerships for Economic Justice, TCFV and the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice (CSAJ) continue their collaborative efforts.  The Building Partnerships for Economic Justice Pilot Projects, has enhanced TCFV’s economic and consumer rights work for domestic violence survivors.

Survivors experience a wide range of consumer rights issues including; credit reporting law, Federal Tax, Debt Collection Defense, Foreclosure and Eviction Defense, and employment discrimination, identity theft.   Consumer law education and tools can provide advocates a general overview of common consumer rights issues and offer advocacy tips to help survivors.  To learn more visit the CSAJ website or review the Consumer Rights Screening Tool for Domestic Violence Survivors.



Employment Rights


Unemployment Insurance:

Survivors who must leave their job to protect themselves from family violence or stalking, or sexual assault against themselves or an immediate family member, are eligible for unemployment compensation if they show:

  • An active or recently issued protective order documenting the occurrence of or potential for family violence or stalking against the employee, or sexual assault against the employee or immediate family member, OR
  • A police record documenting family violence or stalking against the employee, or sexual assault against the employee or immediate family member, OR
  • A physician’s statement or other medical documentation of family violence against the employee, or sexual assault against the employee or immediate family member, OR
  • Written documentation from a family violence center or rape crisis center describing the family violence or sexual assault.

None of the above information may be disclosed to any person without the consent of the employee. Individuals may apply for unemployment insurance through the Texas Workforce by going to www.twc.state.tx.us or by calling (800)-939-6631 / 1-800-735-2989 (TDD).


Tax education and advocacy a critical strategy to helping survivors maximize financial assistance available through the federal tax code.  Knowing how to accurately recognize specific tax provisions available for survivors can play a pivotal role in translating tax refunds into short and long term assets.  Additionally, establishing effective collaborations with tax experts is critical to ensuring survivors have access to professionals who specialize in the topic.  Learn more about: available tax relief available to survivors, approaches for effective collaborations, and integrating asset building strategies into tax advocacy via our tax webinars.

Federal Tax Information & Credits

Various tax credits and protections are potentially available to survivors and others. Individuals may receive refunds for returns filed within three years of the due date.

  • Earned Income Tax Credit: A tax credit available to lower-income, working individuals who meet income guidelines and additional eligibility requirements (though the credit is available to individuals without children, the credit increases with the number of eligible children). The Earned Income Tax Credit can mean thousands of dollars refunded to a family.
  • Child Tax Credit: A tax credit that may be up to $1000 per qualifying dependent child, subject to income and other eligibility requirements. The Additional Child Tax Credit also may be available, depending on eligibility.
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit: A credit available to people who, in order to work or to look for work, have to pay for child care services for qualifying dependents under age 13. The credit also is available for those who pay for the care of a spouse or a dependent of any age who lived with them for more than half of the year and is physically or mentally incapable of self-care. The credit is a percentage, based on adjusted gross income, of the expenses paid for child and dependent care.

Innocent Spouse Relief

Relief from tax liability, penalties and interest available to spouses who signed joint returns and are now being held responsible for taxes or income of which they were unaware.

*NOTE:  By law, the IRS must contact your spouse or former spouse.  There are no exceptions, even for victims of family violence. However, to protect your privacy, the IRS will not disclose your personal information (for example, your current name, address, phone number(s), information about your employer, your income or assets or any other information that does not relate to making a determination about your request for relief from liability. Additional information about this relief is available via the IRS in the Innocent Spouse Relief publication 971.


The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs offer free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individual.  Identifying local VITA sites and establishing collaborations with these vital organizations can aid survivors in accessing free reputable tax assistance; click here to locate a local VITA site

Free Tax Help

Other Resources