Family violence in Texas is addressed comprehensively by the law. Texas laws depict it as a crime involving family/household members or people in a relationship. It occurs when the offender causes some sort of physical harm, emotional abuse, or threats to the victims. Family violence can manifest in different ways, including violence between partners, child abuse, parental alienation, or teen dating violence. It may also involve an act considered sexual assault under Texas laws.
The most reported family violence cases in Texas usually occur between married couples. A significant percentage of these cases involve parental/child issues.
Although family violence crimes are not uncommon in Texas, many cases are unreported to the local authorities. Research shows that women are more likely to experience crime as a victim/survivors than men, and it could also affect minors if they witness the incident.
While the consequences of physical brutality can include body wounds, other casualties that occur from family violence include low confidence or depression. Victims can also begin to engage in drug use and intoxicants. It changes the psychology of victims and can make them violent or suicidal.
Family violence has severe effects on victims. While physical violence will result in bodily injuries, there are several troubles that victims may face, including depression, low self-esteem, or abuse of drugs and intoxicants. Typically, it alters the behavior and emotions of victims and some may become violent or suicidal.
Because family violence is a serious issue, there are several family violence prevention services created to prevent more cases, protect the victims, and empower survivors of these crimes. Through the program, Texas provides affected persons with the resources needed to overcome and manage their situation.
Through family violence prevention services, Texas assists victims in the following way:
Provision of Shelter
Texas family violence prevention services provide shelter to victims of family violence. The shelters are usually temporary (many of them are 24-hour shelters). The essence of temporary housing is to ensure that the survivors have a place to go after experiencing a violent act. It protects them from further abusive or harmful acts till they are in a safer place.
The Texas Health and Human Services have temporary shelters and support services across different cities. Victims can find shelters close to them for assistance.
A 24-Hour Hotline
Texas has a hotline (800) 799-SAFE (7233) that victims and survivors of family violence can call for any assistance. Hotline service functions 24 hours a day, every day. Callers can speak with skilled workers or volunteers who can assist them with the following:
- Swift response and intervention for victims currently facing family violence. The workers can use safety planning to assist them.
- Provision of the necessary information and resources that victims need.
- Hotline workers can provide emotional support and empathy to victims.
- Callers can also be referred to other crucial service providers they need.
Provision of Legal Assistance
Victims and survivors may have legal needs or need to explore legal actions against offenders. Since family violence is a crime, legal issues may ensue, and some victims might not be able to afford a lawyer or know how to navigate their options. They may also need guidance or a professional to accompany them during the litigation.
Individuals can direct inquiries about the Texas Violence program via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ensure to include your valid contact details in the mail if you need a representative to reach back. Complaints regarding the family centers are also entertained by Health and Human Services through the online complaint form or via a phone call at (877) 787-8999.
The Office of the Attorney General also assists victims through various programs such as the following:
Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program
The CVC program was created to financially assist the victims of family violence. The program carter to some expenses or costs incurred due to the crime. The expenses catered for include medical bills, child care, therapy, and loss of income. The program can grant up to $3,800 to help victims pay for housing expenses, including rent or utility bills.
Victims can visit a law enforcement agency around them to apply for the CVC program or contact them via call at (800) 983-9933. They can also complete and send the application form.
To qualify for the program, the victim must reside in Texas or be a resident of any other U.S state, and the incident must have transpired in Texas. The victim must also have reported the incident to the law enforcement agency at the appropriate period.
Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)
Some victims may still be at risk of getting harmed by their abuser. The ACP is a safety plan method to ensure the nondisclosure of the residential address of victims and vulnerable family members. Through the program, victims will possess an alternative address and mail service. Interested individuals may contact the OAG to apply for the program, visit a family violence shelter, or contact the law enforcement agency around them. You can call 1-888-832-2322 to get an application form.
Child Support Assistance
Family violence victims, especially survivors of partner violence, may need to apply for child support. However, the child support process is long and may not be easy for the applicants. The OAG has a Child Support Division that can assist victims with the child support process. The CDS partners with other agencies to sensitize people to the resources at their disposal, and it evaluates the risks and benefits of applying for child support.
Victims can apply to have their names taken off public records and related documents containing details of the incident. This program is only applicable to records concerning family violence crime. Applicants can get the pseudonym form, complete it, and submit it to a law enforcement agency.