By Commissioner Lesley Briones
As we observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, I continue to double down on my commitment to public safety, not only as your commissioner, but as a mother of three young daughters.
Right now, the reality is domestic violence is a pervasive issue in every community — in the United States, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. We stand in solidarity with survivors facing the difficult journey towards healing. You are not alone.
We will not let the status quo continue – our children and all of us deserve better.
In Harris County, we have made significant investments in justice and safety to support survivors and end the cycle of violence. Last October, we approved $4.7 million in federal funding for the Domestic Violence Assistance Fund, run by the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC).
Twenty local agencies received this funding to support the immediate safety needs of survivors and connect them with the resources they need. Through our partnership with the DVCC, the County is currently exploring ways to further support and invest in organizations that provide services for survivors. The DVCC is hosting a community partner meeting on Oct. 12 for service providers to meet, engage, and decompress through a guided yoga session.
Harris County Commissioners Court also invested $1.7 million this June to enhance the Harris County Sheriff’s Office TeleDeputy Unit and improve 911 call response times. This program allows officers who are working overtime to handle low-priority, non-urgent 911 calls remotely, rather than sending out the officer to write a report. Deputies on patrol are then able to more rapidly respond to urgent 911 calls, including those related to domestic violence.
These initiatives, among others, are part of our ongoing efforts to create a safer Harris County for all people. But we know that government is just one part of the solution — to effectively address complex issues like domestic violence, the community, law enforcement, and all levels of government must work together.
With that in mind, I invite you to join us tomorrow on Oct. 3 for our National Night Out events across Precinct 4 to meet other members of your community and build relationships with local law enforcement. Recognizing that trust is not built overnight, every opportunity to engage and have open dialogue will help us move further toward advancing our shared goal of creating safe, thriving communities.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by domestic violence and strive to create a community where everyone feels safe, valued, and supported. If you or someone you know needs support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for free services available 24/7. You can also visit the DVCC website for additional resources and information on local organizations. We are here for you.