Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Health News

Texas Health and Human Services Commission Responds to New Legislation with Resources for Victims of Violence

In response to Senate Bill 1325, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in May 2023, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is taking proactive steps to provide essential support for Texans facing threats or exposure to family or dating violence. The bill mandates the commission to furnish printable resources for law enforcement, campus peace officers, and health care providers to distribute to individuals experiencing dating violence, stalking, harassment, a terroristic threat, or family violence.

The newly introduced "Notice to victims of family violence, dating violence, stalking, harassment or terroristic threat" aims to inform survivors of their rights and guide them on accessing immediate support services, shelter, and protection. Crystal Starkey, Associate Commissioner of HHSC Family and Youth Services and Supports, emphasized the importance of equipping survivors with critical information through this new law.

"We want to make sure Texans who feel threatened, or experience family violence know where to turn to for help," said Starkey. "With this new law, we are providing law enforcement and health care providers an important tool that will equip survivors with the critical information they need immediately."

HHSC has further expanded its efforts by launching a dedicated webpage that includes contact information for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Texas Department of Public Safety victims’ support services, and the HHSC Family Violence Program. The webpage provides information on filing criminal charges, obtaining protective orders, and, if necessary, terminating a residential lease. Both the notice and website are available in Spanish.

The legislation, known as the Natalia Cox Act, is named in honor of Natalia Cox, a college student who fell victim to dating violence. State Senator Carol Alvarado and State Representative Vikki Goodwin, the authors of the bill, expressed gratitude for the swift implementation of the Natalia Cox Act by HHSC.

“I am grateful for the Health and Human Services Commission’s quick implementation of the Natalia Cox Act,” said Alvarado. “Natalia’s tragic passing highlights the critical need for awareness and accessibility of resources for those facing domestic violence and stalking."

Goodwin stressed the importance of providing critical information promptly to those in need, stating, "The Natalia Cox Act and the subsequent standardized brochure produced and provided by HHSC will be a life-saver. I appreciate the work being done by HHSC to implement these materials and am grateful for the contributions of Natalia’s parents in making Texas a safer place."

If you or somebody you know is experiencing violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, call 800-799-SAFE (7233), (800-787-3224 for TTY) or text “START” to 88788 any time. Information on filing a protective order or lease termination due to family or dating violence is also available on the Texas Advocacy Project and Texas Council on Family Violence websites.

You May Also Like