The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Technology Assistance Grant

Grant Information
Categories Community
Location Texas
Cycle Year 2013
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Texas Advocacy Project, Inc.
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Andrea Sloan, executive director
Phone 512-225-9580
P.O. Box 833
Additional Information
Used for Texas Advocacy Project is seeking funding to facilitate and expand the availability of legal services by purchasing six computers to be used by our staff attorneys in providing free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and teen dating violence throughout Texas.
Benefits As a society there are some fundamental truths on which we should all agree--the right to live free of the fear of violence in your home is one of them. Victims of violence face many obstacles in attempting to get and stay safe and access to an attorney is primary among them. We would use funding from the Foundation to purchase computer eequipment needed to provide free legal services necessary to permanently break the cycle of violence for women and their children across Texas.
Proposal Description The Project is a nonprofit, legal organization that provides free legal services to help women and their children who are experiencing violence in the home. Started in 1982 as a legal hotline, the agency has evolved into an expert on legal issues affecting survivors of domestic violence, teen dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Today, we provide a range of legal and advocacy services proven to break the cycle of violence. Our mission is to ensure that every victim of interpersonal violence in Texas who needs access to legal services to get and stay safe can get them. Our attorneys, staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors are all committed to advancing our vision that no child should ever have to watch one parent hurt the other.

Domestic violence affects every economic, educational, cultural, and ethnic group. In a recent report issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Department says that there were 177,983 reported cases of domestic violence in Texas in 2011. Sadly, we know that the actual number of cases is much higher.

When violence happens in a home, every member of the family is affected. According to a 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 in 10 children has seen one parent assault another. Although children react to exposure to violence in different ways, all too often children who are watching one parent harm the other undergo lasting physical, mental, and emotional harm. It goes without saying that children who are witnessing domestic violence face greater challenges in school and studies support the obvious. The Center for Disease Control ( “CDC”) recently released the first comprehensive study on the effect of domestic violence on bullying. According to CDC, a growing body of research indicates that family violence is associated with bullying. The statistics are shocking. Compared with students who were neither bullies nor bullying victims, both middle and high school bully victims were more than three times as likely to have witnessed violence in their family (22.8% versus 6.6% for middle school; 30.6% versus 7.2% for high school). Through countless national studies, the regrettable repercussions of family violence have been illustrated: children are doomed to repeat the cycle as victims or abusers themselves, jail cells continue to be filled with adults who witnessed abuse as children, and over a hundred lives are lost annually in our state alone.
The statistics are overwhelming, but there is hope. The legal system can intervene to stop the violence. Legal interventions have repeatedly been shown to be the most effective tool available to end the cycle of family violence. Several nationally-recognized sources support this contention:
• According to the U.S. Department of Justice, victims who access the criminal justice system are 80% less likely to be re-victimized in their lifetimes.
• “Courts intervene early-on with the recognition that escalating domestic violence can turn lethal. One third of all female homicide victims in this country are killed by a husband or boyfriend. In addition, the children who observe the violence have a higher rate of delinquency, suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, and may go on to become victims or perpetrators.” U.S. Office on Violence Against Women.
• Protective orders offer the broadest form of legal relief to victims of domestic violence. If the victim presents credible testimony regarding past violence, or the threat of future violence, then the judge will issue an order protecting the victim from being harassed, abused, or even contacted by the batterer. A protective order may also require that the batterer: surrender all deadly weapons, turn over keys to specific motor vehicles, vacate the couple’s residence, and attend a batterer’s intervention program. In addition, a protective order can define parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the minor children and address issues involving child or spousal support. National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Using an innovative combination of hotline services, direct representation, technical advocacy, and legal system reform, the Project provides an unparalleled array of legal support for women who are fighting for their safety and the safety of their families. The Project closed 4900 family violence and sexual assault cases in 2012, benefitting almost 12,000 low income Texans. Although we serve all victims of family violence and sexual assault regardless of age or gender, the majority of our clients are women aged 16-50 and their children who live in constant fear of death or further violence. We are proud that we serve a diverse client base. In 2012, 39% of our clients identified as White, 17% Black, 42% Hispanic, and 2% Other. The overwhelming majority of our clients are the poorest of the poor. In fact, 62% report no income at all and 87% were living at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level.

We are seeking funds to purchase six computers for attorneys who will provide legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, and stalking through our existing legal programs.