Esparza Wins the National Paul H. Chapman Award in Atlanta                 

Austin, Texas – September 27, 2013 - The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today joined the Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia in saluting El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza who is receiving a top national award for protecting victims of domestic violence.

The foundation has selected Esparza as the Paul H. Chapman Award Winner for his efforts to save lives, increase the quality of life for our most vulnerable and forcing his peers in the justice system to closely examine their role.

Jaime Esparza created an innovative first in the nation program called the 24 Hour Contact program to move family violence crimes more quickly and efficiently through the criminal justice system, and second, to hold family violence offenders accountable for their acts of criminal violence.

“Jaime Esparza, the El Paso District Attorney, is an extraordinary public servant with a fierce determination to shift the paradigm on the prosecution of family violence,” said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV’s CEO.   “This shift in core philosophical underpinnings grounded in a prosecutorial response, has frankly resulted in a more genuine victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to strength a survivor’s resolve for a life free from violence.”

Within 24 hours of an arrest, a victim advocate and an investigator will visit the victim.  The sole purpose is to assess her well being and to offer information on resources.  Within the 24 hour period, critical evidence is collected: photographs from the visit, the 911 call, a video from police dispatched to the scene, criminal history of the offender – in essence the DA’s office is ready to go to trial within 24 hours.  However most importantly, the victim receives an in-person visit to offer care and information to know she is supported by the justice system.

“The 24-hour contact program improves our prosecution efforts,” said El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza.“  As a result, victims and the community are better served.  Domestic violence cases are complex and very serious crimes that require our full attention and a well-coordinated criminal justice response.”

The Texas Council on Family Violence, The El Paso District Attorneys Office and the Center Against Family Violence will hold a news conference in El Paso at CAFV’s Family Resource Center on Friday October 11, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. to honor victims of domestic violence who have been killed in El Paso, to release the Honoring Texas Victims 2012 report and to raise awareness about family violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.