TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas - The Travis County District Attorney's office has established the Division of Victim Services to ensure victims' needs are prioritized across all departments.
Neva Hernandez, the previous manager of Victim Services, has been named the director of this new division and will be reporting to First Assistant District Attorney Trudy Strassburger. She is also part of the senior leadership team, making the Travis County DA's office one of the few offices in the U.S. to include their victim services director on the team.
The Travis County DA's office says the new division is charged with ensuring that victims of interpersonal violence and complex trauma know that reporting their abuse or harm will not mean they are retraumatized, ignored, or accused of not being credible.
Previously, the victim services function and team of victim-witness counselors was operated within the Special Victims Unit. Moving the function to a separate division elevates the role of victim services and further enables counselors to carry out the office’s victim policies for everyone who comes through, says the DA's office.
Fernandez is an experienced and nationally recognized victim advocate and has served in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office since the beginning of 2021. Prior to joining the DA’s Office, Fernandez served as Advocacy Manager in the Crime Victims Program at the Texas Legal Service Center, where she advocated for victims of violent crime across the state of Texas.
Previously Fernandez served as Senior Victim Counselor at the Travis County Attorney’s Office. She served as a Co-Chair of the Austin/Travis County Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team (SARRT) from 2019 to August of 2021, and currently serves as a Commissioner on Austin’s Commission for Women.