The Criminal Justice System Response Training (CJSRT) is an annual project of Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV). The purpose of the CJSRT is to provide communities throughout Texas free, high-quality trainings on topics intersecting with the criminal justice system and family violence. The training is designed to facilitate multi-disciplinary collaboration among your community’s family violence response systems, such as law enforcement, prosecutors and legal advocates, family violence service providers, and community partners.

The CJSRT will be comprised of a personalized one-day training as well as a second follow up training consisting of in-depth technical assistance on creating or enhancing a Coordinated Community Response tailored to your community’s needs. Additional follow up and support will be provided by TCFV coordinators throughout the year after the program receives their training sessions.

Participants can receive six hours of TDCJ-CJAD approved Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) including TCOLE, CLE (upon request), LPC, LMFT and SW. 

To apply, please download the application and return it to Sarah Hilderbrand at by October 31st, 2014. 

2014-2015 Host Programs

  • Dallas, The Family Place – Date TBD
  • Brownsville, Friendship of Women – Date TBD
  • Bastrop, Family Crisis Center – Date TBD
  • San Marcos, Hays- Caldwell Women’s Center – Date TBD


Training Topics

Texas Council on Family Violence Criminal Justice System Response Training Topics
The Texas Council on Family Violence provides the following training topics to hosts of a Criminal Justice System Response Training (CJSRT). Training topics are two hours, unless otherwise noted.

Law Enforcement and Legal Options: Texas Laws Affecting Victims of Family Violence
(2 Hours) Dana Nelson, JD
This workshop provides a basic understanding of legal definitions and laws pertaining to family violence. The law enforcement response and landmark criminal cases are also examined. The session additionally provides extensive information about legal options available for family violence victims and survivors in Texas and updates on family violence-related laws.

Investigative Techniques
(2, 4 or 6 Hours) SAFVIC
This session provides law enforcement techniques and tools for responding, investigating and preparing a family violence case for prosecution. Attention is given to evidence documentation and collection as well as interviewing victims and suspects.

Law Enforcement Strategies for Effective Prosecution
(2 Hours) Harold Thomas
This session provides an overview of initial law enforcement response and investigation and the need for partnerships with service providers and prosecutors in an effort to hold family violence offenders accountable.

Protective Orders
(2 Hours) Julia Raney Rodriguez, JD
This session provides an overview of protective orders including, application process, enforcement and methods to effectively enhance safety for victims of family violence by way of protective orders.

Family Violence and Stalking
(1.5 Hours) SAFVIC
This training provides an overview of stalking laws in Texas and also dissects the intersections of stalking and family violence. Participants will also gain a greater understanding of the role technology plays in stalking.

Navigating Safety: The Use and Misuse of Technology
(2 Hours) Molly Voyles
Technology, from smart phones to iPads, is now an integral part of how we navigate our everyday lives. While these tools have many benefits for survivors of family violence they also can present great risks to their safety and confidentiality. This interactive session will cover technologies batterers use to stalk and abuse victims, tips for evidence collection for law enforcement, and most importantly an emphasis on safety tips and planning with survivors of family violence.

Working With Survivors: Understanding Violence Against People with Disabilities and Older Adults
(2 Hours) SAFVIC
This workshop defines common types of disabilities, provides an overview on aging and discusses the dynamics of assault in the lives of people living with disabilities and older adults.

Understanding Coalition Building
(2 Hours) Barbie Brashear
This workshop addresses the importance of community systems coordination, examines the operations of community organizations and identifies strategies for collaborative responses to the needs of family violence victims and survivors. This session provides an overview of coordinated community responses to family violence and the benefits of building a community coalition. Steps for building and characteristics of a successful coalition are discussed.

Understanding Family Violence in Immigrant Communities and Law
(2 Hours) Edna Yang, JD
This workshop provides an overview of the unique dynamics of family violence and legal remedies specific to immigration communities. Available resources including Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and barriers of providing assistance to immigrant family violence victims and survivors.

Culturally Competent Responses to Victims’ Needs
(2 Hours) Thecia Jenkins
This session addresses the principles of valuing individual differences, understanding cultural dynamics, building cultural awareness, and increasing sensitivity about victimization among culturally diverse populations.

Working with Individuals in Crisis
(2 Hours) Jack Nowicki, LCSW
This workshop provides information about the phases of crisis, characteristics of effective coping, and restoring equilibrium for family violence victims and survivors.

Mental Health & Family Violence: Service Provider Response
(2 Hours) Barbie Brashear
This session explores crisis intervention and focuses on safety planning and risk assessment as it relates to family violence victims and survivors who also face mental illness issues. Participants will gain awareness of barriers and challenges experienced by survivors, as well as enhance skills to identify strategies to increase safety for survivors. Participants will be able to assess their current practice and examine how they are working to increase safety for survivors.

Teens and Dating Violence
(2 Hours) Eric May and Catherine Olde
This session provides an overview of Teen Dating Violence dynamics, reviews the types of abuse, and discusses risk taking behaviors and the impact on teens’ emotions. Participants will gain knowledge on the limits and benefits of Protective Orders and school “Stay-Away” orders as well as examine strategies implementing teen dating violence policies for schools.

Children and Family Violence
(2 Hours) Maricarmen Garza, JD
This workshop takes the participant through a child custody case where there have been allegations of family violence. The workshop discusses the common barriers victims face in the various state court proceedings, (divorce, child custody, and Protective Orders) as they try to protect themselves and their children. Participants will gain tools to empower victims in their community to obtain orders that would protect the victim and their children.

Our Facilitators

Barbie Brashear
Barbie Brashear is the Executive Director for the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, a non-profit organization that works to coordinate a community response to domestic violence in Harris County. She attended Indiana University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and is a licensed social worker in the state of Texas. She has worked in the domestic violence field for 20 years and has provided leadership to sexual assault programs, domestic violence programs, and long-term housing programs for over 17 years. She is a certified trainer for the Houston Touchpoints Team and serves on the Boards for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, the Houston Area Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Community Collaborations Council.


Maricarmen Garza
Maricarmen Garza is the Project Director of the Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse, a formal partnership between Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) and 25 domestic violence and rape crisis centers. Garza is a managing attorney at TRLA with over ten years of experience working with victims of domestic violence. Garza received her law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio in 1996, where she participated in an immigration clinical program. Garza then spent four years in family law private practice, and also worked briefly with Catholic Charities in Houston. Garza joined TRLA’s family law team in 2000, and was appointed Project Director for the LASA project in 2003. Garza is responsible for the supervision and mentoring of project attorneys through ongoing communication, regular review and feedback on cases, quarterly conferences, and co-counseling on jury trials or complicated cases.


Thecia Jenkins
Thecia Jenkins is the Human Resources Director and Prevention and Education Director for The Bridge. She has been with the agency since 1997.

Jenkins has been a motivational speaker and trainer since 1998. She has organized over 100 presentations on domestic and sexual violence for civic groups, churches, businesses, associations, law enforcement agencies, medical personnel and schools across the state of Texas. Her topics include cultural competency, domestic violence, sexual assault, emotional intelligence, and she is a certified behavioral consultant.

Previously serving as Vice President of Professional Development for the Houston Chapter of the American Society for Training & Development, Jenkins’s community involvement includes serving on the board of directors for the North Pasadena Community Outreach Center, and the advisory council for Neighborhood Centers, Inc. She is also a past board member of Asians Against Domestic Abuse, and a contributing writer for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault’s Cultural Competency Manual for Advocates.

Jenkins is the sole proprietor of Bold Profession Seminars & Consulting, a professional development company providing seminars, consulting and motivational keynotes.

For more information visit:

Eric May
Eric May has been involved in the prevention field for about 15 years. He has been involved in educating children, youth and young adults in drug and violence prevention and intervention in both Texas and Massachusetts. He possesses a Masters of Science in Art Expressive Therapy from Springfield College, Springfield, MA, 1997. May has worked as both prevention educator in schools and numerous communities and is skilled at community engagement and mobilization around prevention issues. May provides trainings and workshops at the community level and state level around bullying and domestic violence prevention issues.


Catherine Olde
Catherine Olde has an 18 year career working with victims of domestic violence. Starting in 1996, as shelter director, Olde developed expertise in crisis hotline assessments, crisis intervention and effective service provision to victims. She has extensive experience in community education and has developed collaborative relationships throughout the community, law enforcement/victim assistance programs and health care providers.



Dana Nelson
Dana Nelson serves as an Assistant District Attorney in Travis County, Texas and spent 13 years assigned to a specialized family violence court handling all felony cases there. She has prosecuted family violence cases since 1999 at the misdemeanor and felony levels.

She has published the Family Violence Resource Notebook for the Texas District and County Attorneys’ Association and served as their course director for their inaugural family violence seminar in April 2012. She is also faculty for the National Institute on the Prosecution of Domestic Violence, the National College of District Attorneys, and speaks for the Institute on Domestic and Sexual Violence at the University of Texas. She is a frequent speaker for the Texas District and County Attorneys’ Association, the State Bar of Texas, law schools and law enforcement in Texas. She has spoken outside Texas for prosecutors, advocate groups and judges. She served a two-year term as Co-Chair of the Austin/Travis County Family Violence Task Force and is currently on the board of her local shelter.

Before becoming a prosecutor in 1997, she worked at Legal Aid of Central Texas practicing housing law. She graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 1995. She earned a BA and BFA from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, in 1991.


Jack Nowicki, LCSW
Jack Nowicki is a Senior Program Development Specialist at the Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) working with network members to schedule and providing practice-oriented trainings and workshops through the XL Institute and working on a Hogg Foundation funded project to work with Texas RTC’s to implement trauma-informed care and reduce the use of restraints and seclusion. Before working with TNOYS, Nowicki spent ten years providing crisis counseling services and brief therapy to youth and families at LifeWorks in Austin, TX.

Nowicki has over 30 years of experience working with families and youth including four years in children’s protective services, three years in psychiatric residential treatment with adolescents, and 14 years in a marriage and family counseling private practice. He also has eight years of experience working as a Manager and/or Clinical Supervisor of social service programs, and 15 years experience providing private clinical supervision for social workers and counselors pursuing licensure as social work LCSW’s and counselor LPC’s.

Nowicki has taught graduate classes in family therapy and solution-focused brief therapy the University of Texas, School of Social Work since 1996. He co-authored several journal articles and a chapter on brief, crisis counseling with youth and families in the Social Worker’s Desk Reference and is currently a Consulting Editor for Children & Schools Journal. He has presented papers and workshops at over 40 statewide and regional conferences, including the Texas Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the National Conference on Nonviolence, the Governor’s Conference on the Prevention of Child Abuse, and the Child Welfare League of America’s Southwest Training Conference.

Nowicki is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Texas, approved as a clinical supervisor for Social Workers and a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.


Julia Raney Rodriguez
Julia Raney Rodriguez is the Director of Legal Services for Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. (FVPS) in San Antonio, Texas, where she works exclusively with victims of domestic violence. In addition to litigating on behalf of victims of domestic violence, Rodriguez has conducted trainings on international parental abductions, and on domestic violence and sexual assault civil legal issues for attorneys, law enforcement, counselors and other domestic violence and sexual assault advocates throughout the state of Texas. Prior to working at FVPS, Rodriguez was the project director for the Sexual Assault Legal Assistance Network (SALAN) at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA), in Edinburg, Texas, where she focused on civil needs for victims of sexual assault. At the same time, she was a supervising attorney for the TRLA family law/domestic violence litigation team. Rodriguez received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Vassar College and her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law.


Chief Harold Q. Thomas
Harold Q. Thomas retired from the Hutto Police Department after five and a half years, and prior to being chief, he was a captain to the Criminal Investigations Bureau of the Odessa Police Department. He has been in law enforcement for over 29 years.

Thomas is a graduate of Odessa College with an Associate Degree received in1993 and in 1998 he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He is a 1982 graduate of the Permian Basin Regional Law Enforcement Academy and a 2001 graduate of the 204th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy.

Thomas holds two Certificates of Civic Achievement and numerous letters of commendation. He was also very active in Odessa’s community and is now active in Hutto and Williamson County. While in Odessa, he was the Board President for the Crisis Center and Angel House for six years; President for the Permian Basin Chapter-Texas Association of Sports Officials; Adjunct Professor for law enforcement at Odessa Junior College; an advisor to the multi-disciplinary team at Harmony Home’s Child Advocacy Center; an Advisory Board Member of Odessa’s “Links – A Community Network”; and is currently a member of the Public Policy Committee for TCFV in Austin, Texas and on the Board of Directors for Hope Alliance in Williamson County. Thomas has been contract training with TCFV since CJSRT began.

Thomas worked in various specialized areas throughout his law enforcement career. He worked in patrol and as an investigator in burglary, narcotics, persons and homicide. He has appeared on national television five times: three times on “America’s Most Wanted”; CBS’ – “48 Hours” and the “Prosecutors” on the Discovery Channel.

Thomas is married to his wife, Teri, and has five children: Kenneth, DeShea, Tommy, Cyle and Heather.


Molly Voyles
Molly Voyles is a Policy Manager for the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV.) In her position At TCFV, Molly provides technical assistance and training across the state on programmatic policy issues and serves as a liaison between family violence service providers and funders. Prior to joining TCFV, Molly worked in a variety of roles within domestic violence programs with a primary focus on assisting survivors with accessing safe and stable housing and working with children of survivors of domestic violence. Molly attended Indiana University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.



Edna Yang, JD
Edna Yang is the General Counsel for American Gateways, formerly the Political Asylum Project of Austin (PAPA). Previously, Yang served as the Interim Executive Director for American Gateways. Edna began her work at PAPA in 2002 as the coordinating attorney for the Program Representing Immigrant Survivors of Abuse, providing direct representation to immigrants seeking relief under the immigration provisions of Violence Against Women Act.

Yang conducts training sessions for law enforcement officials and social service providers about how to work with, and provide services to, immigrants in the community. She also organizes outreach and educational sessions for immigrant members of the community. From 2004 to 2005, Yang served on the Austin Commission for Immigrant Affairs. She is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas. She is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Immigration Project, and the National Lawyer’s Guild.

Yang received her B.A. in Russian Language and Literature and Political Science from the University of Michigan, and graduated with a J.D. and a M.A. in International Studies, focusing on Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, DC.


The Sexual Assault Family Violence Investigators Course (SAFVIC) is designed to provide law enforcement officers around the state with the tools they need to effectively investigate and prevent sexual assault and family violence. SAFVIC is funded by a grant from the Criminal Justice Division, Office of the Governor and the National Violence Against Women Office. This program was originally developed by a statewide steering committee composed of representatives from law enforcement, prosecution and victim services. The SAFVIC program uses a network of certified trainers to deliver the training on a local basis, thus enabling more officers the access to training opportunities.


CJSRT Presentation Materials

Name Size Version Last Modification Date
Brashear Building Collaborations 1.43 MB   21 July 2013
Brashear Mental Health 675.20 kB   21 July 2013
Garza Aba Custody Myths 189.15 kB   21 July 2013
Garza Children And Family Violence 821.25 kB   21 July 2013
Jenkins Cultural Compentency 175.51 kB   21 July 2013
Law Enforcement Strategies For Successful Prosecution 2013 Handouts 743.91 kB   21 July 2013
May Olde Teen Dating Violence 337.17 kB   21 July 2013
Nelson Texas Laws Affecting Fv 4.23 MB   21 July 2013
Nowicki Handouts 853.89 kB   21 July 2013
Rodriguez Protective Orders 2.39 MB   21 July 2013
Yang Scenarios 2013 55.88 kB   21 July 2013
Yang Immigration Law And Fv 552.86 kB   21 July 2013
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Interested in Hosting?

Interested in hosting?

A CJSRT is provided at no cost to your program or attendees and offers continuing education to many disciplines.

Your organization must be a non-profit organization that primarily serves survivors of family violence to be eligible for hosting the CJSRT training. The host organization will partner with their local police or sheriff’s department and be responsible for participating in the planning process, obtaining a training location, marketing, and other logistics.

Programs will be selected by criteria including location, CJSRT history, and available resources.

For more information, please contact Sarah Hilderbrand at or (512) 685-6375.