Family violence in Texas happens in a family or household where a member commits an offense against another member that causes them harm. The act can be physical and result in bodily injuries. It can also be sexual assault or any other form of assault. Making threats to harm the victim or intimidating a family member is also considered a family violence offense.
The relationship between the members of the family or household also determines if the offense will be considered an act of family violence. For instance, a child is a victim of family violence if they are coerced or persuaded to engage in illegal sexual relations, trafficking, pornography performance, or the use of controlled substances.
Dating violence classifies as a form of domestic violence. Such incidents occur when there is violence between people that are romantic partners. In this case, one of the partners suffers any form of physical or mental abuse from the other.
Studies by the Texas Council on Family Violence claim that one in every three Texans is likely to be a victim of a family violence offense. For context, the estimated population in Texas as of 2021 is 29.5 million, and 1 in 3 amounts to about 9.8 million people.
In 2018, the Texas Department of Public Safety published a report on family violence crimes in the state throughout the year. The publication shows that there were a total of 197,023 known family violence incidents throughout 2018. This is 0.9% compared with the incidents reported for the previous year. Members of a family/household who were victims of family violence totaled 212,885 people. 207,360 offenders engaged in family violence offenses.
Anyone can be a victim of family violence. However, research by the DPS shows that women are the more likely victims of family violence in Texas. According to the 2018 publication, the known gender of family violence victims is 71.6% female and 28.4% male.
The DPS categorized the victims of family violence in 2018 by different age groups and reported that victims in the age bracket of 25 to 29 are the most among the age groups considered. People aged 65 years old and above are the least likely to be victims of family violence in Texas. The age group survey also disclosed that among teenagers the highest number of victims were between 15 to 19 years of age.
Offenders in family violence incidents are mostly male. 72.9% of male offenders accounted for the incidents published in 2018, while 27.1% of the offenders were female. Similar to the victims’ age group statistics, the age bracket of 25 to 29 had the highest family violence offenders.
33.4% of the relationship between the offenders and victims were marital, either still married or divorced at the time of the incident’s occurrence. Female partners/ex-partners were the victim of family violence in 13.1% of the reported incidents.
The publication also accounted for family violence between parents and children. It included biological relationships and adoptions. 16.4% of the relationship of victim to offender fell under this category. Mothers were the highest number of victims reported (6.1%), while daughters were the second-highest report of victims in this category.
39% of family violence victims and 39.2% of offenders were Hispanic. Among the 61% of non-Hispanic victims, 68.5% were white, and 28.9% were black. Of the non-Hispanic offenders, white offenders accounted for 65.6%, while 32.1% were reportedly black. Other offenders were of native American origin.
Most Prevalent Family Violence Offenses in Texas
There are many offenses categorized as family violence offenses in Texas. The state Department of Public Safety records the following offenses as the prevalent in family violence incidents:
A report on family violence in Texas published by the Department of Public Safety (2018) corroborates that Assaults make up 96% of the family violence incidents reported in 2018. While simple assault is the most committed family violence offense (75.1%), Aggravated assault is the second highest type of assault reported (13,2%), and Intimidation is the least (7.7%).
Sex offenses are the second-highest family violence incidents recorded in 2018. Such offenses accounted for 3% of the family violence offenses recorded throughout the year. They include rape, sodomy, sexual assault using weapons, fondling, and statutory rape.
Family violence offenses reported in 2018 also included robbery. This could be the theft of property or other items by a family or household member under certain circumstances. Robbery offenses made up 0.4% of the total reported family violence offenses in 2018.
The abduction of a family/household member by another is a family violence offense. Children are the most common victims of this offense. The DPS family violence report of 2018 shows that kidnapping made up 0.5% of the total family violence offenses for the year.
Homicides include murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, and negligent manslaughter. Homicides are felony offenses in Texas that carry a severe penalty. 0.1% of family violence offenses reported in Texas, in 2018 were either murders or nonnegligent manslaughter. Homicides are more prevalent between romantic partners.
The death toll of women killed by a romantic partner (male) across the state was 174 in 2018. 34 men were murder victims in the same year, and the offenders were their female intimate partners. For same-sex intimate relationships, there were murder reports of 4 men and a woman by their partners.
The Texas criminal legal system severely punishes family violence offenders. More importantly, the state provides help to survivors of family violence. There are numerous private and state resources available to survivors to protect and rehabilitate them.