Making changes in national law to protect victim/survivors of domestic violence!


Needing to Sign the VAWA Petition — Goal 1,000,000 signers!!



Crew –

I realize I usually send you information regarding the Texas legislative process and so you may be surprised to see an email and an action alert from me especially because the Texas legislature will not be in session until January 2013. This email relates to important efforts TCFV and our partners have taken on at the federal level.

For the past year, Congress has been working on the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is a coordinated civil and criminal legal and direct services approach that has worked for over almost two decades. In 2011 alone, Texas received $8.8 million in grants that help communities all over the state take violence against women seriously. I myself served as a VAWA-funded prosecutor and so saw the direct impact to our efforts at keeping vicitms safe and holding offenders accountable.

Bottom line: VAWA represents the federal government’s robust, comprehensive and successful approach to addressing intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The Congressional authorization of VAWA must be renewed from time to time and in fact the authorization for the past cycle expired almost two years ago. TCFV has been participating and monitoring the progress of Reauthorization, including getting into the details of the various bills and offering direct feedback to national partners and the Texas elected delegation. Whereas in the previous two cycles of VAWA Reauthorization the bill drew no opposition, this time around Congress has not come to consensus as easily.

The good news is that the Senate has already passed S.1925; this bill represents the most thoroughly vetted and bipartisan approach to Reauthorization. TCFV supports S.1925 and asks that you do so as well. If you would like to appraise the bill yourself, you can find the full text at The bill passed the Senate by a margin on 68-31.

The House has also taken up the measure with its HR 4970. Although the House version contains significant components of S.1925, it also omits and incorporates different provisions that will harm victims and their service provision. Among several areas of concern are the significant erosion of protection for immigrant victims of violence and the increase of bureaucracy and resulting expense that would come from direct victim services funding. If you are interested, here is the entire bill –

Two important steps in the process most likely will occur this week. First, the powerful House Rules Committee will determine this Tuesday how the debate will occur when the overall House votes on the bill. The Rules Committee will decide whether members will be allowed to offer changes to the bill and even whether debate on the bill can occur on the House floor. TCFV calls for the inclusion of amendments that protect vulnerable immigrant victims and others, a debate of the bill on the House floor and allowing the introduction of amendments during the debate.

Second, the bill will go to the full House for a vote. In preparation for that vote, TCFV calls on Texas House members to support changes to HR4970 that conform with S.1925 to the greatest extent possible.

In service of these goals, TCFV continues to work with our Congressional partners to offer solutions regarding the provisions. This is where you can help.

We have drafted the attached letter that you can use to communicate your support for S.1925 and the needed changes to HR 4970; Texas family violence programs, their boards and community partners will be particularly impactful, but contacts from others will also help. Because time is of the essence, we ask that you make contact today and do so by email rather than a traditional letter. TCFV makes careful and strategic decisions about how often and in what manner to call on programs and supporters to make this kind of outreach. We ask for you to do so because we judge this stage and this approach to be key in the VAWA Reauthorization process.

Do you know who represents you in Congress? Find out at

In addition to your elected members, also consider including:
-Chairman Lamar Smith, who leads the Judiciary Committee (
-Congressman Pete Sessions, who serves on the Rules Committee (

I have also attached a fact sheet which highlights some key areas of HR 4970 that we ask the House to change.

After the House completes it work on VAWA Reauthorization, the Senate and the House would then need to convene a Conference Committee comprised of Senate and House members to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. Following that conference committee work, the resulting bill would then return to both chambers for their ratification. These will also be important steps and as such TCFV will communicate with you in a strategic manner and at strategic points along the way.

Questions? I am happy to speak with you on VAWA or any topic. See below for my card with my cell number.

Cheers –


Call to Action for April 30th – Funds for domestic violence program

Received in my emails today.  Reposted for your information and help too: 



Action Alert: Victims of Domestic Violence Need Your Help Now!


Hi all,


DC is heading into the most important days of its budget deliberations and we need your help to make sure there's enough money to help victims of domestic violence in the budget!


The Mayor's FY13 Budget Proposal does not include enough money for the Office of Victim Services (OVS) to be able to fund vital victim services including emergency shelter, legal services, counseling, and crisis intervention services.  


  • To simply maintain the existing level of services, an additional $2.1 million is needed.  But that only preserves the status quo, which includes harmful cuts to domestic violence shelters and other supportive services.  
  • To reverse these previous cuts, OVS needs an additional $2.6 million, money that is included in the Mayor's budget "wish list" should the City see additional revenue later in the year.  


Please take action to help us get the DC Council to give OVS the money they need to be able to help all victims!


Call Councilmember Mendelson (            202.724.8064      ) & Chairman Brown (            202.724.8032      ) on Monday, April 30th at 11am and tell them: 


"Please appropriate an additional $2.1 million to the Office of Victim Services to provide lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence.  Please also keep $2.6 million for OVS in 5th place on the Mayor's budget wish list - this will help us reverse harmful cuts made to victim services over the last few years."


Stay Tuned -Victims Will Need Your Help Again Next Tuesday & Wednesday!

Please watch this space for additional action alerts to come early next week.  We need to flood the Council's office with phone calls, emails and tweets to make sure our voices are heard!

Thanks for taking action to ensure all victims have access to needed lifesaving services!


The Policy Department


My DV Story – My Voice

The story of my past experiences with domestic violence and how I have moved forward throughout the years to provide advocacy to others.

Texas Insider » The Right Thing to Do: Extending the Vision & Reaching Every Victim

The Right Thing to Do: Extending the Vision & Reaching Every Victim

On National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

By Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

Texas Insider� Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Helping victims and their families recover from violent crime is the right thing to do. As the State’s chief law enforcement official, I am committed to working with state and local law enforcement to protect Texas communities and prevent crime. Robust crime victims’ assistance is critical to effective law enforcement because investigators and prosecutors rely upon victims to hold criminals accountable for their crimes.��

The Office of the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division (CVSD) works closely with local authorities and crime victim services organizations to ensure that Texas crime victims have the help and support they need to rebuild their lives.

By working together, the Attorney General’s Office, local authorities’ victim assistance officials and nonprofit crime victim services organizations can provide seamless support for victims. Crime victim advocates serve victims by carefully listening to their stories, offering guidance on the crime victims’ compensation process, and referring victims to the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program. The CVC Program was created by the Texas Legislature to ensure crime victims and their families do not bear the cost of violent crimes.

Professional victim advocates who work in local law enforcement departments and district attorneys’ offices balance the needs of the victims with the requirements of the criminal justice system. Advocates at non-governmental or nonprofit agencies such as domestic violence or sexual assault crisis centers, child advocacy centers, or homicide support groups focus on crime victims’ personal needs and concerns. Both groups of advocates have policies that mandate victim safety and support, assistance with crime victims’ compensation, notification of victims’ rights, and information on the impact of crime, the criminal justice process and how to navigate the path to recovery.

Crime victim liaisons, which are legislatively mandated advocates housed in local law enforcement offices, are often the first advocates to respond to a crime victim. They set the tone with a victim or family member regarding how a victim is treated by the criminal justice system and investigative process. Crime victim liaisons also help connect victims with crime victim services organizations’ nonprofit advocates. During this initial encounter, local advocates provide hope and guidance to victims in the aftermath of a violent crime.

As victims progress out of the acute phase of a violent crime, victim advocates continue to assist them with resources and their legal rights. If a crime was reported, investigated and verified, a crime victim liaison will transition a victim to work with a victim assistance coordinator, a legislatively mandated community-based advocate in a local prosecutor’s office. The advocate will often be the bridge and the consistent source of support for a victim during this process.

Often the job includes accompanying a victim throughout their discussions with law enforcement officials and prosecutors, facilitating information gathering, securing updates on victims’ case status, and ensuring that victims and employers understand crime victims’ rights.

Community-based advocates also help victims complete their CVC application for financial assistance from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund so that the financial burden associated with violent crime does not further traumatize victims. Texas law imposes multiple requirements that victims must satisfy to be eligible for reimbursement from the CVC Fund, so advocates are particularly helpful at this stage of the process. Professionally prepared applications are often more complete and therefore easier to process and approve – which leads to quicker reimbursements for victims.

When crime victim liaisons, victim assistance coordinators and local nonprofit agencies such as a domestic violence center or sexual assault center establish effective working relationships, victims benefit from their collaboration. Consequently, the justice process is less traumatizing and more likely to result in a thorough investigation.

This year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is appropriately named, “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim.” It recalls the core ideal of the victims’ rights movement – justice for every victim of crime. Supporting advocates and the work they do continues to be a top priority for the Office of the Attorney General. Advocates help advance crime victims’ march down the path to recovery and serve as their voice as they navigate the criminal justice process.

via Texas Insider » The Right Thing to Do: Extending the Vision & Reaching Every Victim.

via Texas Insider » The Right Thing to Do: Extending the Vision & Reaching Every Victim.

Crime Victims Rights Week – Texas City, 2012

bout a hundred people turned out for the Texas City ceremony for National Crime Victims Week. Among those was Jennifer Schuett, who was kidnapped from her home at the age of nine, raped and had her throat slashed by her attacker 19 years ago.

A suspect was arrested in October, 2009. She encouraged those who attended to speak out and let their voices be heard and she said she hoped to inspire other crime victims to do the same.

Take Action | Crime Victims First

Our team continues to be at the forefront of crime victims’ rights education and enforcement focusing on improving the treatment of victims/survivors and compliance. We are working hard to ensure that victims/survivors are aware of their rights, are afforded their rights, and provide support with rights violations. We are also working diligently on developing remedies for victims/survivors who have substantiated rights violations. Education and enforcement are vital, but advocacy is also key to influencing change. Therefore, we are collecting data and sharing it with policy-makers, so they can make informed decisions about the treatment of victims/survivors and improve accountability.

This legislative session, the CV1 team will update legislators on our progress. Last session, we introduced legislators to the concepts of victims’ rights compliance, enforcement, rights violations, and possible solutions and models to address complaints from victims/survivors regarding rights and process violations.

CV1 will inform them that we have launched our nonprofit victims’ rights resource center and legal clinic, and that we received small foundation grants and private donations to enhance our website, services, and programs. Finally, we continue to explore partnerships and funding to support our services and programs.

1. Establish legislative approval for funding to support crime victims’ rights enforcement programs.

2. Establish legislative authority for enforcement programs.

3. Establish legislative remedies for victims/survivors whose rights are violated.

4. Clarify existing legislative language to support enforcement.

5. Develop new legislation, if needed.

IMPORTANT: Texas is a leader in drafting legislative/constitutional language that provides crime victims with standing (enforcement), remedy (voiding*), and review (standing/writs). However, until CV1 there has not been an entity to help explain or provide assistance with these legal concepts. CV1 has created a process based on a proven civil rights model. We need your support. It’s time to take action! Help us implement our Victims’ Rights Complaint Process

We are building support to ensure that victims/survivors of crime are aware of their rights, are afforded their rights, and are provided remedies when their rights are violated. By signing up, you give Crime Victims First permission to use your contact information to show decision-makers and policy-makers that there is support for victims’ rights enforcement efforts and together we are encouraging them to learn more and do more.

via Take Action | Crime Victims First.

via Take Action | Crime Victims First.

CV1 Announces Step Up Now! Learn Your Rights Campaign | Crime Victims First

Oct 5, 2011

Thank you for allowing us to introduce a new resource for victims/survivors of crime, providers, lawyers, judges, and our community called CRIME VICTIMS FIRST. Crime Victims First (CV1) is a champion for crime victims’ rights awareness and accountability.� Our mission is to promote and protect crime victims’ rights through education, advocacy, and enforcement.� CV1 is proud to announce our new Step Up Now!� Learn Your Rights Campaign.� The goals are to increase awareness about crime victims’ rights and accountability to ensure rights are afforded and violations are prevented.� Our goal is to raise $50,000 to help support this campaign and the services/programs that support our mission.

“I would personally like to thank Crime Victims First for helping me understand my rights…YOU’RE AMAZING!” – Erica Wildman (Theft Victim)

Too often, victims are not aware they have rights or they find out too late to ensure those rights are afforded to them.� In some cases, victims’ rights are violated and there is limited support and assistance to help them.� Crime Victims First was created to address these challenges, but CV1 needs your support to help increase awareness and understanding about victims’ rights, ensure rights are afforded to those who want them, and to provide support and assistance.

Crime Victims First is launching our new campaign called STEP UP NOW!� Learn Your Rights. The purpose of this campaign is to increase awareness about victims’ rights, support and assistance, and enforcement.� Your support also helps CV1 offer our services and programs.� Please join our Step Up Now!� Learn Your Rights Campaign.� You can make a difference today.

“The Crime Victims First organization has been a tremendous inspiration during this fight for victims’ rights.� CV1 provided the support and assistance I needed over this difficult two year journey to enforce my victims’ rights.� CV1 demonstrated integrity, creditability, and perseverance needed to make enforceable changes in victims’ rights.� I support CV1 efforts to increase awareness about victim rights laws and accountability.” – Steve Watson (Grandfather of Child Sexual Assault Victim)

Step Up Now! Join the Campaign

Crime Victims First – Services/Programs

Crime Victims First provides the following services to anyone affected by crime and those working with them.

Education Services – providing training about victims’ rights, how to ensure these rights are afforded to you, what you can do if these rights are violated, and how those working with victims can move towards compliance.� CV1 created the first victims’ rights:� compliance & enforcement curriculum in Texas with support from the Texas Bar Foundation.� CV1 plans to expand curriculum to address the victim services and legal services perspectives on victims’ rights and enforcement.� CV1 is launching our Online Education Program in the fall 2011.

Victim Services – providing crisis counseling, emotional support and assistance, information, referrals and resources including our Ask an Advocate Program and Victims’ Rights Information Packets.

Legal Services – CV1 is initiating efforts to develop pro bono legal services to provide advice and representation to secure victims’ rights and attempt to resolve rights violations.� CV1 is a member of the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys sponsored by the National Crime Victim Law Institute.� CV1 is also working with the University of Texas Law School Pro Bono Clinic providing learning opportunities for legal interns.� CV1 provides access to the first Online Victims’ Rights Complaint System in Texas.� Crime Victims First receives and attempts to resolve victim general complaints and rights violation complaints.

Public Policy – research shows that there are limited training and funding to achieve compliance with victims’ rights.� CV1 is working to secure the next wave of victims’ rights legislation – legislation that guarantees victims substantive rights and the procedural mechanisms to secure those rights.� CV1 is advocating for permanent funding for victims’ rights, victim services, compliance, and enforcement.� This includes providing funding necessary to fully train all victims, advocates, and those working with victims and ensure providers have what they need to be in compliance.� CV1 can help provide model legislation, and testify when called upon.� Take Action

Special Events – each year during National Crime Victims’ Rights Awareness Week, CV1 offers the Annual Jam 4 Justice Outreach Concerts (April) and the Step Up Now Kickball Tournament (October).� Sponsorship Packets Available

via CV1 Announces Step Up Now! Learn Your Rights Campaign | Crime Victims First.

via CV1 Announces Step Up Now! Learn Your Rights Campaign | Crime Victims First.

Ask An Advocate » Open / General Forum » Open / General Forum » enforcing victims rights | Crime Victims First

enforcing victims rights

on: January 19, 2012, 22:59

I am looking for any help on educating law enforcement on victim’s rights and ensuring that victims are made aware of their rights at the time of the crime. In the area I am in the only one helping victims is the victim coordinator at the DA’s office. The problem is that cases are not coming in front of victim coordinator at the DA’s office until the case is close to trial. In many cases that is months if not over a year after the crime has occurred. That is too long for victims to wait to learn of Crime Victims Compensation and other rights they are allowed by law. How can I go about ensuring that victims in my community are made aware of their rights and the services available to them at the time of the crime?

Chapter 56 article 56.04 section c of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states that “Each local law enforcement agency shall designate one person to serve as the agency’s crime victim liasion” the article goes on to state what duties that person is to fufill. If it is mandated by law that law enforcement has this why is it not being enforced?

Last year I was thrust into the judicial system after the murder of my son. It was in the aftermath of that tragedy that I began to learn that victims of crime are routinely not afforded their rights. I have made it my goal to change that. As a victim I am moving forward trying to ensure that future victims will no longer be met with indifference by law enforcement.

via Ask An Advocate » Open / General Forum » Open / General Forum » enforcing victims rights | Crime Victims First.

via Ask An Advocate » Open / General Forum » Open / General Forum » enforcing victims rights | Crime Victims First.

National Crime Victims Rights Week – DFW | Deaf Network of Texas

National Crime Victims Rights Week – DFW

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

By Deaf Network

National Crime Victims Rights Week

DATE: April 10, 2011

TIME: 3:00pm – 4:30pm


313 North Center St.

Arlington, Texas 76011

National Crime Victims Rights Week – North Texas at the First United

Methodist Church of Arlington.

Crime Victims Council Announces Sponsors

For Community Interfaith Service of Help, Hope, and Healing

Rev. Sandra J. Lydick- Executive Director and Victims Chaplain

In observance of National Crime Victims Rights Week, Crime Victims Council

is the organizing sponsor for the 5th Annual Interfaith Service of Help,

Hope and Healing for victims of crime, their families, friends, and the

community to be held on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 3:00 p.m., in the Great

Hall at First United Methodist Church of Arlington, 313 North Center Street,

Arlington, Texas 76011.

The service is for all victims of any crime. Spanish language and ASL

Interpreter will be provided. Information tables will share resources for

victims and their families. Refreshments will be served.

Gold Sponsors

Millwood Hospital

Texas Health Resources

Silver Sponsors

Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church

First United Methodist Church of Arlington

First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth

Inspiring Temple of Praise Church

Metropolitan Board of Missions

Friend Sponsors

Aftermath, Inc.

1st Class Mail & Business Center

Williams Financial Services

Community Sponsors

Advocates for Children of Trauma

Baptist General Convention of Texas

Beth-El Congregation

Campus Drive United Methodist Church

Congregation Beth Shalom

Daughters of Abraham

Disabled Crime Victims Assistance

El Buen Samaritano United Methodist Church

Excel Center

Fort Worth Police Department Clergy and Police Alliance

Grief Support for Parents of Murdered Children

Hurst Police Department

LifePoint United Methodist Church

MADD–North Texas

Multicultural Alliance

Muslim Community Center for Human Services

Open Arms Outreach

Our Garden of Angels

SafeHaven of Tarrant County

Silent Screams – A Cry for Help

Suicide Survivors


Trauma Support Services of North Texas, Inc.

For more information, contact us at



CONTACT TELEPHONE #: ������������(817) 675-6367������

via National Crime Victims Rights Week – DFW | Deaf Network of Texas.

via National Crime Victims Rights Week – DFW | Deaf Network of Texas.

Texas Council on Family Violence » Crime Victims’ Rights Candle Lighting Ceremony Honoring Victims’ Of Crime In Central Texas

Crime Victims’ Rights Candle Lighting Ceremony Honoring Victims’ Of Crime In Central Texas

CONTACT: Angela Hale ������������512-289-2995������

Austin, Texas—April 14, 2011—Tonight, Texans are gathering for a candle lighting ceremony to honor victims of crime as a part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The ceremony is a way to provide communities across the United States with a unique opportunity to contribute to reshaping the future for victims of crime—by raising awareness about crime-victim issues, by identifying and reaching out to victims who need our help, and by thinking anew about how to help individuals and communities harmed by crime.

This annual observance emceed by Texas Council on Family Violence President, Gloria A. Terry, also reminds us that, by honoring the past, we stand on the shoulders of those who led our nation’s struggle to secure basic rights, protections, and services for crime victims.

Many victims of crime will gather at the ceremony tonight to remember their loved ones and bring awareness to the victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drunken driving and a host of other crimes perpetrated on victims.

There are victims of crime every second of every day through out our nation and here in our home state of Texas.

• Victim of murder every 6 hours and 19 minutes in Texas

• A child is reported abused or neglected every 8.5 minutes in Texas

• Victim of sexual assault every hour

• Victim of dating abuse every hour in Texas

• Victim of theft every 14 minutes in Texas

• Victim of domestic violence every 36 minutes in Texas

• Victim of alcohol related crash every 40 minutes in Texas

• Victim of home burglary every two minutes in Texas

• Victim of identity theft every 5 minutes in Texas

• Elderly person is victimized every 11 minutes in Texas

We must work to ensure victims’ rights are always enforced. That is why we need to recall the ideals that inspired the decades-long struggle of the victims’ rights movement and challenge all Americans to honor victims’ rights. Laura Dean Mooney, President of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving will be the keynote speaker.

The Texas observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being organized by the Austin area victim service agencies coalition in cooperation with the Texas Victim Service Association (TVSA). The kickoff event is Thursday night 7 at the Town Lake Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Austin, Texas.

The Texas Council on Family Violence Board of Directors will also honor the 83 staff and volunteers statewide who have dedicated 20 years or more to ending family violence and keeping families safe across Texas. Representing the 83 pioneers in the domestic violence movement are:

• Elva Gonzalez who has served 32 years at the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center

• Gail Rice who has served 30 years in Austin at the Center For Battered Women/SafePlace

• Melinda Cantu who has provided 21 years to SafePlace in Austin

The Texas Council on Family Violence National Crime Victims’ Rights Winners will be honored at a luncheon Friday afternoon at Holiday Inn-Town Lake from 12-1:30 p.m.

The following organizations will be participating in the kickoff event.

Office of Governor

Office of the Attorney General

Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

People Against Violent Crimes

Texas Advocacy Project

MADD Texas State

Texas CASA

Texas Council on Family Violence


Travis County District Attorney’s Office

For the Love of Christi

TDCJ Victim Services Division

Texas Victim Services Association

Texas Department of Public Safety

Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

United Way Killeen

Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue

Texas District & County Attorneys Association

Texas Lawyers Care

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas

Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Travis County Sheriff’s Office

Texas Legal Services Center

The Ortralla LuWone Mosely Foundation

Stephanie Frogge/Garden Charms

Texas Sheriffs Association

via Texas Council on Family Violence » Crime Victims’ Rights Candle Lighting Ceremony Honoring Victims’ Of Crime In Central Texas.

via Texas Council on Family Violence » Crime Victims’ Rights Candle Lighting Ceremony Honoring Victims’ Of Crime In Central Texas.

Criminal Justice Connections

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Reshaping the future, honoring the past

By Mike Jones, TDCJ Victim Services Division

Every April in communities across Texas, crime victims, victim advocates, criminal justice professionals and the general public commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. For 30 years Texas has been a leader in the victims’ rights movement, and there is no better time than now for Texans to focus on the hard-won rights that victims of crime in our state have earned.

Crime victims, determined to overcome the effects of crime and regain control of their lives, were the driving force behind the creation of the Texas Crime Victim Bill of Rights, which became law in 1985. Prior to that, crime victims in Texas had little or no opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process. Even among criminal justice professionals, few were aware of victims’ needs: to feel secure, to be informed, and to be heard and heeded by the criminal justice system.

In May 1993, a Victim Services section was established in the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The section notified crime victims, whose offenders were incarcerated within TDCJ, about their offender’s status, particularly in regards to the parole review process.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice demonstrated its commitment to crime victims when “to assist victims of crime” was added to the agency mission statement and elevated the Victim Services section to division status in 1997.

National Crime Victims Rights’ Week

The first crime victims’ rights week was organized in 1975 by the district attorney’s office in Philadelphia. Six years later, President Reagan established National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) as an annual event. Since its inception, NCVRW has challenged the nation to reshape the future by seeking rights, resources, and protections needed to rebuild crime victims’ lives.

The 2011 NCVRW theme – Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past – recognizes the ability of the victims and their advocates to alter history and transform lives. Each year, we celebrate decades of hard-earned progress and renew our commitment to overcome the harm caused by crime. By asserting rights and mobilizing resources that did not exist 30 years ago, victims hope to reshape their destinies by overcoming the negative effects of crime.

The U.S. Department of Justice will officially begin National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with the Annual National Candlelight Observance on Thursday, April 7, in Washington, D.C. The Attorney General’s National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony, which honors individuals and programs for innovations and outstanding achievements, will be held on Friday, April 8, also in Washington, D.C. For times, locations, and other event details, visit

TDCJ Victim Services will join with other agencies and advocacy groups to host a statewide event honoring crime victims and their advocates on April 14 and 15 in Austin.

The Victim Services Division invites all TDCJ employees to support NCVRW by participating in scheduled activities in communities all across Texas. These events, which include community walks and runs, education and art expos, and a variety of recognition ceremonies, are designed to increase awareness of victims’ rights issues and the accomplishments achieved during the victims’ rights movement.

For more information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, contact the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse at ������������800-848-4284������ or ������������512-406-5931������, or by e-mail at

via Criminal Justice Connections.

via Criminal Justice Connections.

How far CAN we go?

How far CAN we go?

It’s worth a shot to try to help victims and survivors of domestic violence. We appreciate any and all assistance that you can provide us in sharing effective domestic violence laws on this site that are unique to your state.

Contact me, if you are interested in sharing articles on this blogsite about your laws, sharing your survivor story on here or on my radio show called BEYOND WORDS LIVE (, and or would like to share some additional resources that may help domestic violence victims and survivors. :)

Look forward to working with you… to help save as many lives as we can!!

Texas Youth Commission To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

TYC To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week


Jim Hurley, Director of Public Affairs

(512) 424-6016/

Tim Savoy, Communication Director

(512) 424-6005/

April 24, 2009

The Texas Youth Commission (TYC) will join with other local, state and national organizations in observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week from April 26 to May 2, 2009. During this week, TYC youth will participate in events designed to help young offenders understand the effect of their crimes on their victims, their victims’ families, and their communities.

TYC’s CoNEXTions rehabilitation program, the core treatment program for every TYC youth, requires young offenders to understand the consequences of their actions from the perspective of their victims. While CoNEXTions is a year-round program, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an opportunity to focus on the victims of crime, and for TYC youth to hear victims’ stories firsthand.

A number of TYC youth will meet face-to-face with crime victims. Youth at Giddings State School, Crockett State School, Corsicana Residential Treatment Center and McFadden Ranch in Roanoke will participate in victim impact panels, where they will meet the victims and surviving family members of violent crime. These panels provide crime victims the opportunity to describe their losses to young offenders and explain the continuing impact crime has on their lives. TYC’s McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart will sponsor a shoe drive and display a pair of shoes for each victim of the TYC youth at the facility. The shoes will then be donated to a family abuse center in Waco, benefiting victims of abuse and crime.

Additional events occurring throughout all TYC facilities include flower planting in victim gardens, tree plantings, weeklong empathy lessons, and prose and poetry competitions in which youth must put themselves in their victim’s place and express how the crime has affected them.

“We realize that for each youth in our care, there are many victims of their actions,” said TYC Executive Commissioner Cherie Townsend. “Bringing this realization to the youth is an important step in their rehabilitation, and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is the perfect opportunity to help our youth develop empathy for their victims.”

This year, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act, the landmark legislation that made a national commitment to victims of crime.

via TYC To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

via Texas Youth Commission To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Part I – Texas Victim Assistance Timeline | Texas District & County Attorneys Association

A Texas Victim Assistance Timeline, Part I

The Crime Victim Rights Week Guide published by the Office for Victims of Crime contains a timeline for national milestones in victim assistance. It is often helpful to review the history of victim rights especially when financial and legislative issues are at stake. It is always interesting to note that the issue transcends politics with early champions like the liberal Ralph Yarborough and the conservative Ronald Reagan. We are in the process of updating our timeline for Texas events. Your input is welcomed. Thank you to Barry Macha, former Criminal District Attorney in Wichita County, for his.

��� 1965��� U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas introduces the first federal crime victims’ compensation bill in Congress (S.2155).

��� 1977��� Harris County District Attorney Carol Vance establishes the first victims’ assistance program in a Texas prosecutor’s office. Suzanne McDaniel is the program director.

��� 1977��� Texas becomes one of the first states to pass legislation requiring law enforcement to pay for forensic sexual assault exams.

��� 1979��� The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Act establishes a fund to compensate victims of violent crime for their crime-related financial losses, to be administered by the Texas Industrial Accident Board.

��� The Texas Legislature also passes HB 1075, the first bill to provide protection and temporary shelter in a family-oriented environment for victims of domestic violence and their families until the victims may be properly assisted through counseling, medical care, legal assistance, and other aid. The act requires the Texas Department of Human Resources to contract for services with a maximum of 12 centers that provide shelter and services to victims of family violence with a maximum contract payment of $50,000 a year for each center. The act also amends the Family Code by adding Title 4 (Protection of the Family) and Chapter 71 (Protective Orders).

��� 1980��� The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Program is established on January 1 with revenues collected from court costs. A total of 1,060 claims were filed the first year and only $417,000 paid in reimbursements. It becomes apparent to administrators that insufficient funds are available and a waiting list for awards is established on December 1.

��� See the next issue for a continuation of the timeline!

via Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012 | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

via Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012 | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

Free Technology and Stalking Resources | Texas District & County Attorneys Association

Free technology and ­stalking resources

The Use of Technology to Stalk Online Course is a new resource produced by the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice. The purpose of this self-paced, interactive online training is to increase the ability of criminal justice professionals and victim service providers to recognize how stalkers use technology and, ultimately, enhance their ability to work with victims of stalking. The course begins with an introduction to the concept of stalking and then moves on to share how technology is used to stalk. Each technology module includes information on documenting evidence and investigation and considerations for victim safety. The course concludes with a discussion on how stalking affects victims and resources for additional information and assistance. Visit www for more information and to register.

��� The Use of Technology to Stalk training video and discussion guide is another free resource produced by the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime. This 15-minute video is designed to enhance awareness among professionals working with stalking victims and offenders of how stalkers use a vast array of technologies today. The video provides an overview of the most common forms of technology used by stalkers, victim testimony, and commentary from professionals on considerations for working with victims. The short format of the training video makes it ideal for situations in which time for training is short, such as law enforcement roll-call trainings or victim advocate training. To request a free copy, please visit the Stalking Resource Center website at www

via Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012 | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

via Free Technology and Stalking Resources | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012 | Texas District & County Attorneys Association

TDCAA Victim Services Director in Austin

The 2012 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide is available at ncvrw2012/index.html. It contains everything you need to host and promote NCVRW in your community, including posters, camera-ready artwork, web ads, and a Spanish version. NCVRW will be observed April 22-28, 2012; “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim” is the theme. Please send us articles and captioned pictures on activities in your community.

via Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012 | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

via Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012 | Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

Video: Crime victims week vigil in Texas City

Video: Crime victims week vigil in Texas City

By TJ Aulds | Share |�Permalink�| Add Comments

About a hundred people turned out for the Texas City ceremony for National Crime Victims Week. Among those was Jennifer Schuett, who was kidnapped from her home at the age of nine, raped and had her throat slashed by her attacker 19 years ago.

A suspect was arrested in October, 2009. She encouraged those who attended to speak out and let their voices be heard and she said she hoped to inspire other crime victims to do the same.

Jennifer Schuett addresses the crowd.

Texas City Police Captain Brian Goetschius, left, and Chief Robert Burby stand with Sylvia Joiner Crawford and her niece Felecia West. Crawford’s two brothers were murdered in two separate incidents. One of the men, Ernest Joiner was West’s father.

Jennifer Schuett started a victim’s voice website that gives the details of her case and helps crime victims speak up about criminal incidents. Click here to go to her site. Jennifer is shown with supporters of her Use Your Voice campaign.

via Video: Crime victims week vigil in Texas City.

via Video: Crime victims week vigil in Texas City.

Jennifer’s VOICE!

Happy New Year 2012!

Posted in on Monday, January 9, 2012 7:15 PM by Jennifer

Happy New Year 2012!

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to blog with last year being so busy. I had so many amazing opportunities in using my voice last year that I’m truly grateful for. I believe the last time I blogged was after I got home from Pittsburgh, PA. From there I travelled to Denver, CO – El Paso, TX – South Padre Island, TX – and finally, Galloway, NJ. Alot of flying/driving in those last couple of months of the year, but was honored to be able to use my voice and share my story with others. One of the most amazing experiences I had was in El Paso speaking at their “Help. Hope. Healing!” conference for crime victims. Talk about POWERFUL. I usually share my story at conferences that are attended by law enforcement, judges, district attorneys, social workers, therapists, nurses, etc., but to speak infront of hundreds of crime victims…wow, it was unbelievable. To be able to stand up and show a room full of people that “it’ll be okay” and see the hope in their eyes is an indescribable feeling. I love what they’re doing in El Paso and I’m hoping after meeting with our head DA, Jack Roady, here in Galveston County, we’ll be able to soon start a yearly conference of our own for crime victims to bring more awareness to our communities in this area…it’s greatly needed and I know will be beneficial and positive in so many ways!

I’ve taken a break from travelling for at least a few months at the beginning of this year for some personal time. Jonathan finished the welding program and is a certified welder now so he’s looking for a new job and life in general is just wonderful! I feel so blessed by having your continued support, prayers, and positive thoughts! I check my e-mail and read my guestbook daily on the website, and I really thank each of you who have used your voice in expressing your feelings & emotions and those that have shared your personal experiences and stories of survival with me. I hope that with this time off, I’ll have more time to blog and keep you all updated!

via Jennifer’s VOICE!.

via Jennifer's VOICE!.

The Resurrection of a Woman’s Life

The Resurrection of a Woman’s�LifePOSTED BY THELIFEOLOGISTCHRONICLES ⋅ APRIL 8, 2012 ⋅ 6 COMMENTSFILED UNDER �COUNSELING, COURAGE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, EMPOWER, EVE ENSLER, FAITH, GIRLS, GOD FEAR FAITH COURAGE TRUST, RESURRECTION, THE LIFEOLOGIST, V-DAY, VAGINA MONOLOGUE, WOMENI was a victim of domestic�abuse for 20 years; 4 years as a teenager by my boyfriend, who later became my husband of 15 years. I was 16 when this first began and was 35, when I finally got the sense and the courage to leave. However, the affects�of the abuse weren’t quite over. It took 10�long years for me to really regain my life and for him to stop attempting to destroy it for leaving him. In hindsight, there are a plethora of unreasonable reasons why I stayed in this relationship and later married my abuser and why it took me so long to get out of it; I kept it a secret for a long time, it was your classic textbook case with a very unusual twist.�The blessing of it all, is I lived through it, to become the woman I am today. There are tens of thousands of women who didn’t and that’s why I tell my story in hopes of raising awareness�of women and girls out there who�may be�headed down this familiar road to take another route.In May 1997 on Mother’s day and the day after I received my Master’s Degree in Counseling, I was severely assaulted by my husband and ended up in a hospital emergency room and that’s when I finally decided, this was the last time and I would never go back and I didn’t. It took years of spiritual healing, relocating, gut-wrenching sacrifices and a heartbreaking choice that involved saving the lives of my two children as well as my own to heal from the affects of this experience. Over the years, I’ve experienced ongoing financial hardships, have had some friends and family support me and�overcame the emotional harm inflicted by those who knew the truth, but chose to judge me in the aftermath.In 1995, just a few years before my marriage ended, I began to actively help women like me who didn’t know I was also being abused. I know now that I was also seeking help for myself in addition to helping them; it was the beginning of the end of this extremely unhealthy and undeserving life as I knew it.Today, 14 years after my divorce, I have a beautiful new story to tell and the miracle of my life speaks for itself. Although it was extremely difficult at times, I never gave up hope, I never stopped trusting in my faith and in myself and I never stopped doing the hard work I needed to do to forgive myself and my ex-husband in order to�heal.My children are amazing young adults now, I am extremely grateful to God for that and we are making new memories together. I am living the essence of�my dreams, looking forward to more beautiful experiences and by sharing my real and authentic life lessons, I have made it my life’s work with every opportunity I get to inspire and educate women and girls, including my daughter, to make wiser choices in life to help avoid this experience and empower them to take their lives back, if they find themselves in a similar situation.ReTina Broussard “The Lifeologist”Social Commentator/Media Personality/Speaker/Writer/Performercopyright 2012, ReTina Broussard. All Rights Reserved.I have always wanted to be�in a production of “The Vagina Monologues” because of my experience and I�now have the honor of participating in this phenomenal play in this phase of my life, it is a sweet gift from God and dream come true!V‑DAY, THE DISTRICT JOINS GLOBAL EFFORT TO STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS … V-Day The District 2012 Presents a Benefit Production of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUESwithDeborah Bond, ReTina Broussard�and Majic 102.3’s Cortney HicksJoin Us As We Raise Funds And Awareness To End Violence Against Women And Girls�On Sunday, April 22, 2012, at 7 pm, V‑Day The District will present a�ONE-NIGHT ONLY�benefit reading of Eve Ensler’s award winning play “The Vagina Monologues” at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring, MD.Tickets may be purchased at

via The Resurrection of a Woman’s Life.

via The Resurrection of a Woman's Life.

48Hrs Expose: Forced Marriages and Honor Killings, a global issue

Tonight, they did a great expose about cultural beliefs, differences of moral beliefs, consequences not adhering to one’s original cultural and moral beliefs, and honor killings that may result in light of what cultural you are from.

After viewing the show tonight, I posted a comment in hopes of reaching Javsinder Sangher, founder of the Karma Nivarna program in Great Britain, designed to help those who are being forced in marriages and/or being threatened to be killed by honor killings.


The comment states:

Extra: Helping victims of honor-based violence
by txbluebonnet2006 April 7, 2012 11:25 PM EDT
As a domestic violence advocate, I would love to get to talk to Jasvinder Sanghera more. I know that this is indeed a strong culture thing among these cultures, but it would seem that, no matter if one perceives that their family isn’t complying to their own morals, culture – even when in a different country that doesn’t adhere necessarily to the same ideas, morals as upheld in the family’s own culture/beliefs, that killing is killing and should be held to the same standards universally. It is one thing to punish the child, but to kill them seems inhumane to say the least.

It is shocking that that the U.N. recognizes that over 5,000 girls are murdered due to honor — and, not much more has been done about it.

I host a radio show on BlogTalkRadio called Beyond Words Live! (, maintain Domestic Violence Voices on (, partner on the National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project (, and on the board to Survive2Thrive Foundation ( to help me get the messages out and more awareness of all domestic violence issues (which forced marriages indeed fall upon that realm). I would love to get an opportunity to talk more to Jasvinder Sanghera about her organization for victims of forced marriages and honor-based violence in Great Britain.

Please have Jasvinder Sanghera contact me as soon as possible so that I can help her to spread more awareness about this issue.

I sincerely believe in that more needs to be done. As an advocate, I am probably more aware about the issues than most people; however, it is so true that more people need to be informed about this horrible event that is occurring globally and in our United States of America as well.

No matter the beliefs, it is no reason to commit harm to another individual, especially one’s own child. How can a parent even think about harming one’s own child? Where do you stand on your beliefs?

As in the case that j48 hrs focused upon tonight (which happened in Peoria, Arizona), do you feel that the father killed his daughter in a premeditated manner – or not?

Love to hear more from you….


Additional information about tonight’s story on 48hrs:;cnav

AHA Foundation


Amnesty International


Karma Nirvana


Tahirih Justice Center


UN Women: United National Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women


Women Thrive Worldwide

Joyful Heart Bringing About Change to NY’s DNA Sexual Assault Laws

The use of DNA technology has revolutionized the criminal justice system in the United States. It has meant that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes, survivors receive the justice they deserve and thousands more are spared the trauma and pain of sexual violence.

Studies show that individuals who commit serious crimes, like rape, are generally serial offenders who have also been convicted of lower-level misdemeanors. A single DNA sample often matches to multiple cold cases when entered into the New York DNA Databank. In fact, since New York began collecting DNA samples for some misdemeanor convictions in 2006, offender profiles from shoplifting and criminal trespass convictions alone have matched to 332 sexual assault cases.

And yet, current law limits the collection of DNA samples for entry into the Databank to offenders convicted of penal law felonies and only certain misdemeanors. As a result, the Databank captures offender profiles for only 46% of crimes in the state penal law.

It is now time for New York to use DNA to its fullest potential.

Please join Mariska, the Joyful Heart Foundation and a broad-based coalition of advocates, including the Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims, in supporting efforts to expand the New York DNA Databank. Send a message to your New York State representatives today, encouraging them to pass a bill that will bring healing and justice to survivors, hold violent offenders accountable, solve and prevent crimes and avoid wrongful conviction.

Click here to send your message.

Visit to learn more about expanding New York State’s DNA Databank.

First of several domestic violence-related bills passes Maine Legislature (reposted)

First of several domestic violence-related bills passes Maine Legislature

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted April 01, 2012, at 8:16 p.m.
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Paul LePage

Pat Wellenbach | AP
Paul LePage

AUGUSTA, Maine — The first of several bills introduced in the past few months aimed at curbing domestic violence in the state passed in the senate on Thursday and will be on Gov. Paul LePage’s desk for his signature this week.

LD 1841, the governor’s bill that was sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, is an act to ensure funding for the Victims’ Compensation Fund.

“These domestic violence bills highlight what can be accomplished for the people of Maine when Republicans and Democrats — legislators and advocates alike — come together,” said Adrienne Bennett, press secretary to Gov. LePage. “The governor applauds the efforts of Representatives [Emily] Cain, [D-Orono], and Fredette for their leadership. All of the domestic violence-related bills this session are important for the safety and well-being of victims and the governor looks forward to signing each one.”

The bill prohibits a court from waiving the $25 assessment on a person convicted of murder or a Class A, B or C crime and $10 on a person convicted of a Class D or E crime. Those assessments are used for the Victims’ Compensation Fund.

“Tragedies stemming from domestic violence are becoming more prevalent in Maine,” said Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, in a statement. “[Thursday] we took a good step forward in making sure that the Victims’ Compensation Fund is preserved and available to the victims and family members of violent crime.”

In addition to LD 1841, other bills related to domestic violence have passed through the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in recent months.

The bills came largely in response to the murder of Amy Lake and her two children, Coty and Monica, by her estranged husband last year.

Lake and her two children were murdered by Steven Lake on June 13, 2011, in Dexter. Steven previously had been charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence criminal threatening against his wife.

Mason, who is the chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said he is proud to have worked on so many bills regarding domestic violence.

“I think we did some good work this year,” Mason told the Bangor Daily News on Friday. “The members of the committee worked really, really hard to make sure this was something we were all really comfortable with and we could get behind to the best of our ability.”

LD 1704, which would have amended Maine’s bail code to protect domestic violence victims, sponsored by Fredette, was killed because another of the governor’s bills, LD 1867, was very similar, said Mason.

LD 1867, sponsored by Cain, calls for bail of a person charged with a crime involving domestic violence be set by a judge and not a bail commissioner. It also requires a judge to deny bail in certain circumstances.

“Bail is a very important fundamental right in our judicial system. We take it very seriously,” said Mason. “Domestic violence is a very serious thing and we have to make sure justice is handed out properly.”

LD 1760 requires notification to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking when defendants are released on bail.

“When someone is released out on bail when accused of domestic violence, sometimes they get bailed within hours [of the crime]. When they do get out, it’s usually not a good thing for that person to return home and to return in the situation they were,” said Mason. “We need to make sure the [victim] knew that person was out on bail.”

Of those bills, only LD 1841 has passed through the House and Senate.

“Everything’s been voted out of committee. Not everything has made it downstairs yet,” said Mason.

Sisters of Silence – Official Book Trailer

Video just out to promote the upcoming book — “Sisters of Silence” about the Sin By Silence law.


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