Partner to Protect Conference in Houston Seeks to Reduce the Number of Domestic Violence Deaths in Texas By Bringing Family Violence Programs and Law Enforcement Together

Houston, Texas – December 10, 2010 - The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) & the Houston Police Department today announced the launch of a new statewide law enforcement summit to examine the 111 fatalities of women killed in Texas, including 29 in Harris County in 2009.

“The Summit seeks the creation and fostering of dialogue with and among our state’s family violence programs and law enforcement leadership in order to forge strategies for the future of family violence response in Texas,” said Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Martha Montalvo.

A new report released today by the Texas Council on Family Violence and compiled from data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas law enforcement agencies and media reports documents the deaths of the 111 women killed by an intimate partner in 2009.

“The greatest disservice we can do to the 111 women is to not learn from their deaths. Working side by side with law enforcement from counties that had experienced a fatality, we can challenge ourselves to further dialogue to reduce the number of women killed in violent domestic violence incidents in Texas,” said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV’s President.  “In the past 30+ years, Texas has made significant progress in creating safe havens, gaining greater legal protections and establishing remarkable transitional services.  However, family violence persists.  We must continue to examine and strengthen strategies that build on these key foundational services.“

The new report lists names of those victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.

  • In 2009, 27 cases occurred where one or more children witnessed the death of their mother. The youngest child to be present was a 9-month-old baby in a bassinet.
  • 38% of women were killed in a murder-suicide.
  • 110 children are now without a mother or orphaned.
  • The victim’s ages ranged from age 13 to 83. The majority of victims were between 20 and 40 years of age.
  • Three counties with large urban cities had the highest number of women killed: Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, had the highest number of deaths. (29 Deaths)
  • Montgomery County (2 Deaths)
  • Fort Bend County (1 Death)
  • Brazoria County  (1 Death)
  • Galveston County (5 Deaths)

Houston Area Women’s Center CEO Rebecca White, TCFV President Gloria Terry, HPD Executive Assistant Chief Martha Montalvo, a survivor of domestic violence and the Executive Director of The Bridge Over Troubled Waters in Pasadena, Deborah Moseley, will participate in a news conference to discuss the law enforcement summit.

Rina, a domestic violence victim who survived and escaped her abusive relationship will share her story of survival.  ”For several years, I was in an unhealthy and unsafe relationship.  I thought things would change and they only got worse.  I had to leave.  I finally felt safe when I went into shelter and my journey of healing and self-empowerment began,” said Rina.

Attendees to the statewide summit are gathering from the counties in which fatalities occurred, offering an opportunity for coordination between family violence programs and their law enforcement partners.

“The Houston Area Women’s Center has a long history of successful collaboration with both the Texas Council on Family Violence and the Houston Police Department,” said Rebecca White, CEO of Houston Area Women’s Center.  “We believe this timely effort to unite on all fronts is the best way to ensure a strong safety net for all domestic violence survivors, while we work towards preventing these tragedies from ever happening.”

Also, on the night of December 9th, a reception and showing of Verizon Wireless Foundation’s Telling Amy’s Story premiered in Houston as a part of the summit.

“Telling Amy’s Story”, hosted by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay of NBC-TV’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and told by Detective Deirdri Fishel, presents an emotional story about America’s pervasive and largely unreported epidemic-domestic violence.

Amy was shot in the head at point blank range by her husband while her parents and children waited in the car outside in the drive way as she was picking up her belongings and leaving the violent relationship. Amy was a Verizon Wireless employee. The Verizon Foundation is a sponsor of this documentary.

“Raising awareness of domestic violence and aiding in its prevention is a key issue for Verizon,” said Carl E. Erhart, Verizon Central Region President. “Verizon is proud to partner with the Texas Council on Family Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline to bring this important story and its lessons to a wider audience and to hopefully save lives.”

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Texas Council on Family Violence is a statewide organization representing a network of domestic violence programs that provide direct services to victims and their families, and serves as the voice of victims at the state level while working with local communities to create strategies to prevent family violence. Visit us online at http://www.tcfv.org/

Executive Assistant Chief Martha Montalvo has served HPD for 30 years, Her current title is Executive Assistant Chief over Investigative Operations. This Command includes Internal Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Inspections, Human Resources, Training Academy, Psychological Services and the Crime Analysis/Command Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Management, and also has a Master Certification with Texas Commission of Law Enforcement and Officer Standards and Education.

About Houston Area Women’s Center:

The Houston Area Women’s Center helps individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence in their efforts to move their lives forward.  They provide shelter, counseling and advocacy to support them in building lives free from the effects of violence.  They seek social change to end domestic and sexual violence through community awareness and education.  Services are confidential and available to everyone.

About The Bridge Over Troubled Waters:

The Bridge exists to assist women, children and men in crisis’, particularly those who have been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault or homeless situations. Violence issues are rampant across the United States and throughout all ethnic, educational and socioeconomic lines. Violence and abusive situations are not only physically and emotionally harmful, but they can also impact financial stability. In short, perhaps the most significant reason we exist, beyond saving the lives of women and children, is that the nature of these crimes makes it difficult for individuals and families to rebuild their lives without support. The Bridge provides access to critical services for those in crisis situations. The Bridge is a support system-it’s a place to be heard, it’s a way to discover options, and it offers the assistance to realize and attain personal goals

For Immediate Release

Contact: Angela Hale

512.289-2995

angela@redmediagroup.com