Travis County DA calls on victims of family violence to come forward
TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas - Survivors of family violence are starting to see more justice. The conviction rate for these crimes has doubled, and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office is encouraging more survivors to come forward.
Over the past two and half years, DA Jose Garza said they’ve prioritized the survivors of family violence by holding people accountable.
"As we look at the last 10 years of homicide data in our community, a plurality of homicides arises out of a domestic violence context, so we must hold people accountable who commit acts of family violence," DA Garza said.
Since 2018, the conviction rate in these cases has more than doubled. DA Garza said the backlog of pending cases from the pandemic has been cleared, and they plan to present about 240 family violence cases to a grand jury.
"Victim’s participation is critical to holding people accountable who commit violence," TCDAO Director of Victim Services Unit Neva Fernandez said.
The District Attorney’s Office is calling on about 70 victims of family violence to come forward. They said they’ve called, emailed, and tried to make personal contact, but haven’t been successful.
"I hope that with by our deeds we’re showing it is worth it to go through this process," DA Garza said.
The District Attorney said they’ve updated their victim policies to prioritize victims and prosecution, provide counselors and communication throughout the process, and work with community partners to ensure safety for victims.
"We really want them to feel safe first and once they feel safe, we can really guide them and make sure they have all the information and all the resources they need to move forward in the process," SAFE Alliance Katherine Saldana said.
DA Garza said they’ve created a victim services division and increased the number of victim counselors.
"These changes have decreased the counselor caseloads from over 400 cases per cases down to around 260 each," Fernandez said.
SAFE Alliance offers free and confidential services 24/7, and they can help victims navigate the legal system. You can contact the 24-hr SAFEline by calling: 512-267-SAFE (7233) or texting 737-888-7233.