AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A roundtable was held in the Capital on Wednesday to discuss federal funding coming to Texas to aid domestic violence and child sex trafficking victims.
Texas will receive $163 million in federal formula funding to Texas victim assistance and compensation programs, and an additional $1.5 million will go toward the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Jessica Hart, the director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, spoke with local Texas organizations including the Texas Council on Family Violence, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, and SAFE Alliance for insight on how state organizations are helping victims. A representative from the Office of the Governor was also part of the discussion.
“Every year, we know that over 200,000 calls are made to law enforcement because home is not safe,” TCFV CEO Gloria Terry explained. “And we also know from a statewide perspective, 48% of requests for shelter is declined due to capacity.”
Terry added that COVID-19 pandemic, like many other emergencies, is leading to an increase in calls.
“What we learned from the research was that post-Harvey, the frequency and severity of violence significantly increased. I share that context with you, because the same stressors are present through COVID,” Terry said.
The funding will help agencies and programs across the state improve their technology services and track available shelter beds.