In this issue, we highlight a successful fundraiser, steps in developing a Coordinated Community Response Task Force, the Region 1 Membership Meeting, and the Member Appreciation Party and Membership Drive, as well as domestic violence resources for Hispanic Heritage Month and upcoming trainings.

Program Updates:

Family Support Services, Amarillo, TX

Family Support Services in Amarillo held its 18th annual Original Harley Party on Saturday, July 28. The outdoor party was successful and included live music, food from 20 Amarillo restaurants, a cash drawing and a drawing for a 2012 Harley-Davidson Street Glide.   More than 2,500 people participated and helped raise money for Family Support Services.

Family Support Services is a Category 1 member.  For more information, click here

Family Services of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX

Victim safety. Offender accountability. Battering intervention. Awareness. Violence prevention. We frequently use these phrases when discussing effective strategies to combat family violence offenses in our communities. Our terminology is paired with a professional insight on the dynamics of family violence, and we understand the magnitude of responsibility behind each element. However, when we use these phrases collectively, the reality of our limitations as single service provider emerges – “I can’t do this alone.” Onto the next buzz phrase: Community coordinated response.

Coordinated community response (CCR) is an intervention strategy developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) in Duluth, Minnesota. A number of Texas communities have implemented similar response systems, tailored to the specific issues they faced when responding to family violence.

Family Services of Southeast Texas in Beaumont has taken strong steps to formulate a CCR to address the specific challenges in their community. Frustrated with the number of domestic violence cases being dismissed for prosecution, Family Services revitalized their domestic violence task force team and began exploring how other programs utilized CCRs in their regions. “We wanted to see what other communities were doing to decrease domestic violence,” said Janet Walker, Executive Director of Family Services. “Seeing so many models was like a shot in the arm on how to have an effective CCR.”

The newly updated task force has since incorporated elements from El Paso’s 24-Hour Initiative project and Bell County’s District Attorney’s classes for victims of domestic violence. The task force then collected survey responses from more than 200 victims to hear their frustrations with the system. The task force also teamed up with Jefferson County District Attorney Tom Maness to develop a PSA to air locally and announce to the community the collective efforts to take domestic violence seriously and prosecute cases. But they didn’t stop there.

Family Services expanded their research to national CCR trends. They hosted Graham Barnes from DAIP to present “A Blueprint for Safety,” the Duluth approach on how to educate community partners to work together with victims and offenders of domestic violence. Barnes provided a day-long training to professionals, discussing the big picture of the Duluth-Model CCR, including victim-centered interventions. Barnes followed up with a training tailored specifically to task force members, allowing the multiple agencies to address the gaps in their current CCR. To advance communication on each individual offender in the system, the task force implemented a new software system, the “Domestic Abuse Information Network” (DAIN).

DAIN software allows BIPPs to communicate with law enforcement and the judicial system with greater efficiency. Walker explains, “We can provide real-time updates on BIPP participants with the courts and probation officers immediately after group sessions instead of monthly contacts.” DAIN allows CCR service providers to instantly track an offender’s court records, convictions, court and BIPP referrals, BIPP attendance, upcoming hearings, and re-offenses. Walker expects this increased communication particularly to assist in cases where one family must appear in multiple courts for civil and criminal matters.

The proactive nature and collective efforts of Family Services exemplifies that maintaining an effective CCR is much more than attending monthly interagency meetings. The task force aims to provide offender accountability and victim safety by incorporating additional words and phrases into their daily tasks: Dialogue. Perception. Inevitable disagreement. Alliance. Results. With added vocabulary in mind, Dr. Alvin Williams, Community Education Director of Family Services, recognizes the accomplishments of the task force over the last several months but also acknowledges the enormity of the task ahead. “Our work is still cut out for us.”

Family Services of Southeast Texas is a Category 1 member.  For more information, click here.

TCFV Updates:

Region 1 Membership Meeting

The Panhandle regional membership meeting was held in Hereford and hosted by Deaf Smith County Crisis Center and its Executive Director, Caryn Elliot.  The training topics were protective orders (presented by Joy Borjes, TCFV Public Policy Analyst) and engaging communities of faith (facilitated by Maria Limon, TCFV Prevention Coordinator).

We also celebrated the birthday girl, Maria Limon, TCFV Prevention Coordinator who trained on engaging communities of faith!


Membership Appreciation Party

Thank you for being a TCFV Member!

Members gathered for an appreciation party in Austin on the evening of Tuesday, September 4 and enjoyed great food, beverages, a cash bar and fun with fellow TCFV members.  A photo booth and special recognition of Texas staff and volunteers with 20 years or more of tenure in domestic violence work were party highlights.

The party site, Scholz Garten, is an Austin tradition that has been in operation since 1866, making it one of Austin’s oldest businesses.

The party was free for all members.  Non-members who attended were offered an opportunity to become a member at the party.