AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is providing printable materials listing services and resources for Texans being threatened or exposed to family or dating violence.
Senate Bill 1325, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in May 2023, requires HHSC to provide printable resources for law enforcement, campus peace officers, and health care providers to give to those experiencing dating violence, stalking, harassment, a terroristic threat or family violence. The “Notice to victims of family violence, dating violence, stalking, harassment or terroristic threat” (PDF) informs survivors of their rights and where they can quickly access support services, shelter and protection.
“We want to make sure Texans who feel threatened, or experience family violence know where to turn to for help,” said Crystal Starkey, associate commissioner of HHSC Family and Youth Services and Supports, which oversees the Family Violence Program. “With this new law, we are providing law enforcement and health care providers an important tool that will equip survivors with the critical information they need immediately.”
HHSC has also launched a new webpage that includes contact information for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Texas Department of Public Safety victims’ support services and the HHSC Family Violence Program. The webpage includes information on filing criminal charges, obtaining a protective order and, if needed, terminating a residential lease. Both the notice and website are available in Spanish.
The new law, authored by State Sen. Carol Alvarado and State Rep. Vikki Goodwin, was named in honor of Natalia Cox, a college student who was a victim of dating violence.
“I am grateful for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s quick implementation of the Natalia Cox Act,” Alvarado said. “Natalia’s tragic passing highlights the critical need for awareness and accessibility of resources for those facing domestic violence and stalking. Despite the availability of help, her story sadly reflects the consequences when such resources remain unknown or inaccessible to those in dire need. I am hopeful that these resources will help aid survivors of domestic violence as they determine the best route to ensure their safety as they heal after their traumatic experiences.”
“It’s in our power to save lives by providing critical information as soon as possible to people who have been threatened or assaulted,” said Goodwin. “The Natalia Cox Act and the subsequent standardized brochure produced and provided by HHSC will be a life saver. I appreciate the work being done by HHSC to implement these materials, and am grateful for the contributions of Natalia’s parents in making Texas a safer place. Knowing about available resources and the law around protective orders and exiting a lease agreement will be helpful for many Texans.”
If you or somebody you know is experiencing violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, call 800-799-SAFE (7233), (800-787-3224 for TTY) or text “START” to 88788 any time. Information on filing a protective order or lease termination due to family or dating violence is also available on the Texas Advocacy Project and Texas Council on Family Violence websites.
To learn more, visit the HHSC Family Violence Program webpage.