As we enter the holiday season, HHS and DFPS want to remind Texans about resources available for victims of domestic violence, persons using domestic violence, and family and friends who want to help.
The use of violence and coercive control is along a continuum and may start with a person using emotional or verbal abuse and then escalate to physical violence.
“The holidays may present challenges with people being at home more and having less contact with the outside world, as well as struggling with financial demands,” said Deborah Tucker, domestic violence specialist with DFPS.
The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence offers the Manifestations of Violence chart (PDF), which explains different types of abuse, how to recognize them and that the person using violence may grow more dangerous, if not challenged to change their behavior.
“It’s all connected,” Tucker said. But she added, people might not know what to say to or how to help victims of domestic violence.
“You don’t have to wait until you see a black eye or other injuries to say, ‘I worry about you and your safety,’” Tucker said.
For more information about how to approach someone, view the Five Things to Say to a Victim handout (PDF) from the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. The Texas Family Violence Interagency Collaborative — which includes representatives from HHS, DFPS and the Texas Council on Family Violence — also created a podcast that discusses what to say in more detail.
The Texas Council on Family Violence offers resources and training for victims and loved ones, as well as those who work with organizations that seek to end family violence.
People who use violence can receive help from one of the many Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs (PDF), which are available around the state and are accredited through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. If you have a relationship with a person using violence, consider how important it can be to the victim and getting the person using violence on a path to ending the violence. Challenge them with the “Five Things to Say” and encourage them to stop causing harm to the people they love.
If you or somebody you know is a target for a person using domestic violence, remember that shelters and centers remain open. The HHSC Family Violence Program works with over 80 centers in Texas who provide shelter and support services to people experiencing family violence. The quickest way to find resources in your area is to visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, call 800-799-7233 (800-787-3224 for TTY), or text “START” to 88788.
Learn more by visiting the HHS Family Violence Program webpage.
Domestic Violence Resources
- Manifestations of Violence chart (PDF), National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
- 5 Things to Say to a Victim handout (PDF), National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
- Podcast discussing how to approach victims, Texas Family Violence Interagency Collaborative
- Resources and training for victims, loved ones and related organizations, Texas Council on Family Violence
- List of Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs (PDF) available around the state for those using violence, Texas Department of Criminal Justice
- National Domestic Violence Hotline website, or call 800-799-7233 (800-787-3224 for TTY) or text “START” to 88788
- List of local centers and shelters and other resources, HHS Family Violence Programs