Houston Agencies Want Victims of Domestic Violence to Know There Are Many Services Available in the Houston Area     

Houston, Texas – July 17, 2014 –Today, the Texas Council on Family Violence and domestic violence experts, who comprise the largest domestic violence and sexual assault programs across Harris County, are speaking out on a horrific week of domestic violent murders in Houston including the domestic violence murders in Spring, Texas. 

“We are standing together today to let anyone in the Houston area who may be a victim of domestic violence know there are many services across Harris County to assist them if they are in an abusive relationship,“ said Houston Area Women’s Center President and CEO, Rebecca White. 

“Our hearts and prayers are with the Stay family, their friends, neighbors and the entire Houston area after this unthinkable tragedy in Spring, Texas.   We want the community to know, that as we have seen in this case, where we have four dead innocent children and their parents – that domestic violence is very dangerous to the entire family.  We are increasingly seeing that when a perpetrator is determined to kill, not only their target, but often innocent family members, children and friends are caught in the crossfire,” said Gloria Terry CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence. 

Domestic violence is a serious problem in Texas and across the country.  3 women are killed every day in the United State in domestic violence murders.  In 2012 in Texas countless children were either witnesses or victims to the murder and 114 women lost their lives in domestic violence murders. 

“This case should motivate all of us who work to protect victims of domestic violence in Texas to dig deeper and continue to improve our system, strive to better protect victims and understand that the most dangerous time for a woman fleeing a violent relationship is when they are leaving or attempting to leave the relationship,” said Deborah Moseley, Executive Director of the Bridge Over Troubled Waters. 

In most abusive homes, there can be years of name-calling, threats of violence, walking on eggshells, black eyes, isolation from family and friends or dozens of other types of abuse before the situation turns deadly.  Chances are also great that someone, outside the marriage, recognized there was a problem but perhaps did not recognize the danger. 

Sheryl Johnson, Director of the Northwest Assistance Ministries’ Family Violence Center that is less than five miles away from the shooting, says as a community, we should all be more aware and report abuses before the situation escalates to murder.   “We must be aware of what these abuses look like.  We must be aware of our friends and family members who are hurting.  We must be aware of abusers who are becoming more violent.  We must be aware that we can all be at risk, whether the abuser lives in our home or not.“ 

True coordination is not only necessary, but also, vital to keeping victims safe.  Harris County is working together in a local Coordinated Community Response.  

“The Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council will continue to focus on building systemic, collaborative relationships that ensure that victims of domestic and sexual violence have access to services and safety.  The Council is comprised of representatives from all of the systems that serve victims of domestic violence, including the Domestic Violence Agencies and working together we will continue to improve our collective efforts to better keep victims safe,” said Barbie Brashear, Executive Director of the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. 

Sherri Kendall, the Chief Executive Officer of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) says she wants any victim of domestic violence to know her organization is one of many that provide direct services to families that are victimized by domestic violence.  “We provide free legal representation for protective orders, divorce, child custody, and battering intervention programs for the abuser.  AVDA also has an extensive youth and outreach program, as well as counseling. We want Houston to know that there is help for everyone to seek a life free from abuse.”

Another important tool for the public is to know there are many 24-hour hotlines that can help in times of crisis in Houston.   At the other end of these 24-hour hotline numbers you will find compassionate, caring and trained advocates who can answer questions, help with safety planning, provide shelter, offer counseling and help the caller seek a safer life.   If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call one of these 24-hour Hotlines:           

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

            800/799-SAFE

Houston Area Women’s Center Hotline

           713.528.2121 

Northwest Assistance Ministries’ Family Violence Center

            281/885-4673 or 888/750-4673

The Bridge Over Troubled Waters Crisis Hotline

           713-473-2801

Bay Area Turning Point Hotline

          281-286-2525

Or for legal assistance call:

Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse

          713-224-9911