Back Clinic Crime Victims. With El Paso’s ripping growth, there too has been a sad growth in domestic crimes affecting many in our community. The Crime Victims Program of Texas instituted by the State Attorney General now stands ready to assist victims in need. The program is here in El Paso, Texas finally. Defined Here: The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 56 defines a victim as:
A person who is the victim of the offense of sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, trafficking of persons, or injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual or who has suffered personal injury or death due to the criminal conduct of another.
The Office of the Attorney General serves victims of crime by administering the Crime Victims Compensation Program and victim service-related grants and contracts, in addition to offering training and outreach programs.
The Crime Victims Compensation Program reimburses out-of-pocket expenses to victims of violent crime and their families. The Crime Victims Compensation Fund can help eligible victims pay for medical and counseling bills incurred because of the crime and help families cover the funeral cost for a loved one who has been killed.
Grants and Contracts administered by the Attorney General’s Office help fund a broad range of victim-related services. Domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, hotlines, victim advocacy, education, assistance with CVC applications, and other victim-related services are available due to these grants and contracts.
The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
In February, an immigration enforcement case in El Paso earned the attention of domestic violence advocates across the country. As the El Paso Times reported, an undocumented woman was detained by immigration officers right after she went to the courthouse to get a restraining order against a violent and abusive partner. Domestic violence advocates were horrified, worried that it would potentially deter undocumented people from reporting abuse to law enforcement. “It sends a powerful message to victims and survivors that there is no safe place,” Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told Bustle in February.
Now, a month later, the effect of fighting domestic violence is being felt. Sometime after the El Paso incident, Enrique Elizondo, a worker for a domestic violence hotline, received a call from an undocumented woman (I have not included any identifying details to protect her confidentiality), facing an abusive husband. According to Elizondo, she was at the point of fear that the abuse could become lethal. But, after selling all her belongings to come to the United States, she found herself feeling like she was out of options. According to Elizondo, her partner had specifically made threats about contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and having her deported if she took action. The El Paso case made her fear he could. Elizondo tells Bustle he tried to help her contact legal help, but the woman asked him, Is this legal advocate going to deport me? Ultimately, Elizondo says he was able to get her legal help.
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According to domestic violence advocates interviewed for this article, these situations are becoming the norm for dealing with undocumented survivors of domestic violence. The 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protects survivors of abuse from deportation for reporting the crime, but, as fear in undocumented communities has grown due to more expansive calls for immigration enforcement under Donald Trump’s administration, it’s hard for the people helping survivors to convince them they’re safe.
The February El Paso case may very well have been a fluke according to the El Paso Times, the woman detained had further criminal complaints against her beyond her immigration status. But the publicity generated by a women detained while seeking help from a court has nevertheless led to worry among violence survivors. Already, four cases in Denver of domestic violence were dropped due to fears of the survivors about immigration status, according to Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronsonm who spoke to NPR about the situation.
“That case [in El Paso] alone, I am actually sure had a chilling effect,” Ruth Glenn tells Bustle a month after we initially spoke. Her organization, the National Coalition Against Violence, is working “to ensure that advocates know how to support those victims by making sure that they know what the laws and the rules are,” she says. Specifically, it has been focusing on helping shelters figure out how to deal with these issues such as knowing that they are expected to maintain the confidentiality of their residents even if ICE officers shows up at the door.
Unfortunately, some are prioritizing continuing to live with abuse.
Under the Obama administration, a 2011 legal memorandum required ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion when dealing with victims or witnesses to crimes like domestic violence.
According to a statement from Letitia Zamarippa, spokeswoman for ICE, that memo is still in effect. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers will take into consideration if an individual is the immediate victim or witness to a crime, in determining whether to take enforcement action. Particular attention is paid to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking or other serious crimes.”
But even with the law officially in place, the uncertainty caused by Trump administration actions stepping up deportations and limiting restrictions on ICE causes fear among survivors.
If you think about victims of domestic violence who are already being controlled by a perpetrator, that is compounded and exacerbated when you rely on that person to interpret the laws for you, who is filtering all that information to control you.”
“When you have your local sheriff, whose job is to come to domestic violence scenes and to be in the community if they’re also enforcing immigration law the question is whether victims are going to come call when they’re being abused or sexually assaulted,” says Huang. “Entire communities are afraid of reaching out for help. ICE officers are not always the best at finding out if there’s victims.”
Overall, the growing sense of uncertainty, the anti-immigration rhetoric, and the threats to sanctuary city are leaving a strong impact on domestic violence victims who live in a legal gray area and may not be well versed in their legal rights. “If you think about victims of domestic violence who are already being controlled by a perpetrator, that is compounded and exacerbated when you rely on that person to interpret the laws for you, who is filtering all that information to control you,” Monica McLaughlin, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, tells Bustle.
The underlying problem is that even if undocumented immigrants can technically get help, McLaughlin explains, “if what’s been communicated indicates that they can’t because they’re not safe, then survivors really aren’t going to reach out to law enforcement for help.”
One of the most troubling concerns facing our community is domestic violence. In Texas, 1 in 3 adult women has been a victim of domestic violence. Over the past year and a half, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times has done an excellent job of putting domestic violence at the forefront by covering its effects and exploring solutions to reduce the deadly trend. These stories and statistics should motivate all of us to work to better protect victims.
Since the 1980s, the prevention of domestic violence in Texas has been a top priority and much of my legislation supports programs that aim to overcome domestic violence. When I was chairman of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, we held public hearings that discussed the serious problem of women serving prison time for defending themselves against a violent partner. As a result, several members carried legislation to change the laws to help protect victims of family violence.
In 2009, committee Chairman Abel Herrero and I authored Mary’s Law, which allows for GPS monitoring of domestic violence offenders. And most recently, in 2015, I sponsored House Bill 2645, which allows juries to hear more information about family violence and increases accountability for offenders monitored by GPS as part of a protective order. This bill now allows law enforcement to arrest the violator in real time for a violation of a protective order, thereby increasing victim safety and offender accountability.
Funding to help prevent family violence is critical. As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, I secured a $1 million increase in funding for the Battery Intervention Prevention Program, in which offenders are held accountable for past abusive behavior and taught the fundamentals of leading healthy, nonviolent relationships. The increase in funds allows services to expand and adds innovative approaches to current practice. Additionally, the 2016-2017 budget included $53.9 million for core services provided by family violence programs and $3 million to address unmet needs such as housing and childcare. We will continue to work with advocates to address funding shortfalls for organizations that provide assistance to victims and offenders.
While the Texas Legislature has strengthened laws against abusers to give district attorneys and our communities more tools to protect family violence victims and provide funds for family violence programs, much work remains to be done. In order to end the cycle of violence, our community needs to focus on prevention by raising public awareness while also effectively implementing and enforcing laws.
Implementation is key to protecting victims. It was alarming to learn that the family violence center in our community was closed on weekends. However, through the Coastal Bend Community Coordinated Response Coalition forums, victims and advocates called for change. As a result, Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike Markle implemented changes so that family violence detectives are rotated for weekends and after-hours duty. This is a step in the right direction so that victims of abuse do not live in fear simply because it is a weekend.
One solution to addressing domestic violence is to adopt components from the city of El Paso’s 24-Hour Contact Domestic Violence Initiative. The program takes a proactive and aggressive approach by moving domestic violence cases through the criminal justice system more effectively and focuses on victim outreach. Victim advocates seek face-to-face contact with victims of a domestic violence crimes for which an offender has been arrested within the past 24 hours. We need to collaborate among relevant agencies and discuss how we can improve and adopt El Paso’s model.
It will take more than one person, one agency, or one government entity to curb domestic violence. It will take work from legislators, law enforcement, the probation department, our local family violence shelter, public officials, parents, students and residents throughout our community to ensure we protect victims and hold their abusers accountable. Together, and only together, can we make our community a safer place.
Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T’s insight:
The crime victims program continues to help so many in need here in our very own El Paso. As a practicing Chiropractor, I have seen more than my share of domestic dispute violence drama and the physical toll on individuals and families. We touch these individuals and work on their bodies after the ordeals they undergo at the physical and emotional levels. It is this proximity to our patients that allows us to see firsthand the true effects. Logically, the impact of the unseen consequences may not always be physical in nature; the program’s outreach covers the unseen concomitant emotional damage caused by the crimes. The attorney general and district attorney have pledged continued support of this outstanding program. This continues to be great news in our growing city.
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