Project Connect: A Coordinated Public Health Initiative to Prevent Violence against Women is a two-year violence prevention initiative designed to improve the health and safety of women and children. It aims to find new ways to identify, respond to and prevent family and sexual violence, and promote an improved public health response to abuse.

Ten sites from around the country were chosen to create a comprehensive model of public health prevention and intervention, working with providers from family planning, adolescent health, home visitation, and other maternal-child health and perinatal programs. Project Connect is funded by the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with OWH and Family Violence Prevention Fund providing technical assistance and support.

The Texas Council on Family Violence was selected to lead Project Connect in Texas. As part of Project Connect, TCFV is leading a unique collaboration between state and private organizations including the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Association against Sexual Assault and Texas Healthy Start Alliance.

Project Connect Texas is working with reproductive health and home visitation providers with particular emphasis on raising awareness about reproductive coercion and increasing provider capacity to detect and respond effectively. The key activities for the two year grant period include:

  • In collaboration with DSHS, create a best practices guide of screening methods and develop policy and protocol for training health care providers and home visitors on violence screening, assessment and response.
  • Conduct pilot studies at three different residential or non-residential shelters exploring best ways to provide healthcare services to residents, either by an onsite clinic of a partnership with a community healthcare center.
  • Form a Virtual Council of Providers, creating an open forum of discussion about family and sexual violence issues, programmatic challenges and successes
  • Review the various sources that collect data on family and sexual violence and make recommendations on how to improve the information given to provide a clearer more comprehensive picture of family and sexual violence.
  • Review the policies and procedures of each collaborating organization to ensure congruence with family and sexual violence methodology.