AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ten years after the 2006 shooting death of Jennifer Ann Crecente, a then-senior at James Bowie High School in Austin, the victim’s mother is continuing the fight for more funding and awareness for teen dating violence.

“Jennifer was really intelligent, very wise for her years, and she was so witty and funny,” said Elizabeth Crecente, her mother. “Jennifer and Justin [Crabbe] dated for about two and a half years, on and off. It was a troubled relationship. It could be fairly volatile.”

Now a victim advocate, Crecente says one in three teens experience teen dating violence.

“You can’t walk down a high school or a middle school hallway and not see it,” said Crecente. “Sometimes I hear, ‘Not in our school, not in our community, not in our church.'”

In memory of Jennifer Crecente, the Texas legislature passed a law in 2007 requiring every school district in the state to have a teen dating violence policy. The law states:

Each school district shall adopt and implement a dating violence policy to be included in the district improvement plan under Section 11.252. (b) A dating violence policy must: (1) include a definition of dating violence that includes the intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person in a dating relationship, as defined by Section 71.0021, Family Code; and (2) address safety planning, enforcement of protective orders, school-based alternatives to protective orders, training for teachers and administrators, counseling for affected students, and awareness education for students and parents.”

“Even though we’ve passed this legislation, requiring policies in place, we need them to step forward,” Crecente said. “It’s very, very difficult when there’s not the funding they need to back that up.”

“[The legislation] addresses response to victims, education for parents and teachers, support services on campus and prevention education,” said Barri Rosenbluth, the senior director of the Expect Respect, teen dating violence program at SAFE Alliance.

Jennifer Crecente (Family Photo)

Crecente said that even though progress has been made in the 10 years since her daughter was killed as a result of teen dating violence, there’s more progress to be made.

“We need to stand for our loved ones that have been murdered. We need to know as much information as we can. We need to feel that we’re a part of that process and that it matters what we have to say,” she said.

For more information about teen dating violence, visit or

The 26th Annual Tree of Angels ceremony took place Tuesday evening at Central Christian Church in downtown Austin. People Against Violent Crime and members of the local criminal justice community organized the event.

Family members, friends of victims and survivors of violent crime brought an angel to place on the Christmas tree, in memory and support of those impacted by violent crime. This year, Elizabeth Crecente addressed those in attendance and shared her experience.

26th Annual Tree of Angels event in memory and support of victims of violent crime in Travis County. (KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)