Message from the Association Director
Texas Victim Friendly Initiative (TVFI)Board of Directors
TVSA and CVR Research Survey Results
Thank You Donors
Supporting TVSA through Amazon Smile
Save the Date
Mental Health Texas Website Redesign and COVID-19 Support Line
Welcome New Members
Professional Development and Training Committee
Brooke King, MA
Rose Luna, MSLC
Misty Biddick, MS
Jessica Serrano, MPA
Region A Coordinator
Region B Coordinator
Julie Jesperson, BA
Region C Coordinator
Jennifer Sterling, LCSW
Region D Coordinator
Stacey Manigold, MS
Region E Coordinator
John Dominguez, BA
Region F Coordinator
Angela Luna, BA, NACP
Mary Breaux, PhD
Cortney A. Franklin, PhD
Lacy Hensley, LMSW, MA
Natacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.
Donor of the Quarter
Rose Luna, MSLC
This quarter we wish to recognize Rose Luna for her longstanding support of TVSA, and particularly her generosity during the COVID-19 months. Rose is president-elect of TVSA and has served on the board of directors as an at-large member for two terms, including service on the executive committee and as fund development chair. She is also presently chairing our ad hoc IT work group. As CEO of the Texas Association on Sexual Assault, Rose is a shining example of selfless service, giving to TVSA while working full-time at the helm of another statewide non-profit. She exemplifies all the best in collaborative partnerships, and we thank her for her many years of supporting TVSA as a financial and in-kind donor, as well as with her personal time and talent!To make a donation to TVSA, please click here: http://www.txvsa.org/page-837451
Supporting TVSA Through AmazonSmile
Now when you shop on Amazon, your purchases will support TVSA! Through AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of every eligible purchase to TVSA.
How to shop and spread the word:
1. Visit Amazon through TVSA's unique link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch-74-2889588
2. Share TVSA's unique link on social media.
Shoppers that use the generic smile.amazon.com link are asked to select one of over a million organizations to support. Be sure to use and share our unique link, so shoppers can skip the selection process and give to TVSA!
Region D Meeting
November 17, 2020, Virtual
Region F Meeting
November 18, 2020, Virtual
Region E Meeting
December 04, 2020, Virtual
Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance
March 24-May 5, 2021
Annual Membership Meeting
May 6, 2021, Virtual
Biennial Training Conference
Summer, 2021, Virtual
Dates to be announced soon
Mental Health Texas Website Redesign Live
The Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council (SBHCC) through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is pleased to announce the redesign of the Mental Health Texas website, mentalhealthtx.org
This website is a resource to help people locate mental health and substance use disorder services, get information about common mental health conditions and social services, and find crisis hotline services. The website also includes mental health resources related to COVID-19.
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
The COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line (PDF) offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. Call 1-833-986-1919 to reach a mental health professional. Individuals who identify themselves as frontline workers may call the support line for referral to Virtual Support Groups for Frontline Workers in Texas (PDF) where they will have the opportunity to speak with their peers about the mental health effects of helping others during the pandemic.
Message from the Association Director
By Natacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.
The fall is upon us now, and so is the realization that the current Coronavirus environment is here to stay for longer than many of us can estimate or plan for with any certainty. That said, TVSA continues its work to serve our victim services professionals in Texas.
As we settle into delivering our programs and services through a virtual model, we are extremely pleased with the reception that our regular virtual regional meetings have received. Our regional coordinators are all holding meetings every other month, allowing you to connect with your local area colleagues to support one another, through sharing information and resources for serving crime victims during the pandemic. We also are able to directly share with you current TVSA news and information. We encourage you to attend your regional meetings and to invite others to join you at our Zoom meetings.
We have recently completed our curriculum for our Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA) in management and leadership, and just as quickly are now pivoting to adapting it for a virtual academy. We are also preparing to launch our Texas Victim Friendly Initiative (TVFI) pilot project this fall, which is featured in more detail in our Resources column in this issue. And our board ad hoc work group on information technology is actively working to assess our current IT infrastructure and capacity for delivering virtual trainings, along with making plans to address additional needs we may have in these areas.
I wish to thank all those of you who have renewed your membership to TVSA or joined us for the first time this year. We remain primarily a grassroots organization and your support through your membership dues allows us to continue meeting our mission of support, education and recognition to victim services providers in our state. If your membership has lapsed, we encourage you to consider supporting us at this time when other means of fundraising during COVID-19 have become difficult to unavailable. And we invite new members, always. It is you, the people, who make TVSA, through your attendance at our trainings, your active participation in our working groups, our committees, and through your service on our board of directors. We deeply appreciate all of you who are giving of your time and talent to work with us during these challenging times!
To make a donation to TVSA, please click here: http://www.txvsa.org/page-837451.
By Brooke King, M.A.
There are still some things COVID-19 has not changed or been able to cancel: the cooler weather brought on by the change of the season and welcoming the deliciousness of pumpkin spice are two that immediately rise to the top for me as I embrace the fall.
We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, but it also presented us with an opportunity to encourage innovation and reimagine what supports to victims could look like; ensuring every Texan has access to justice and the supports they may need to not only survive the pandemic but come out thriving, in light of facing the unimaginable.
As frontline support you have maintained a connection to survivors, assisted them in coping with the impacts and stress brought on by their victimization that has been compounded by living through a pandemic, and served as a connector to other support services in your community.
I appreciate your commitment to the victims in your communities and hope you feel supported by TVSA. You are all in our hearts and minds as we continue to create connection, education and recognition opportunities for you. Take care of yourselves and each other.
By Brooke King, M.A.
Membership Committee Chair
We currently have regional coordinators on our board for regions B (Julie Jesperson), C (Jennifer Sterling), D (Stacey Manigold), E (John Dominguez), and F (Angela Luna). If you are interested in filling the open coordinator position in Region A (panhandle region) please reach out to myself and Natacha.We hope you have enjoyed and taken advantage of the TVSA meetings that occurred over the past few months in your regions and hope they provided you the opportunity to stay connected and share resources within your regions. As the Membership Chair and Board President, I urge you to contact your regional coordinator with any ideas you have; support you, or your agency need; if you have thoughts for a needed virtual regional training; or want to provide support to a virtual social. We are always looking for opportunities to spread the word about the benefits of joining TVSA and keeping you connected to each other!
Region A (Panhandle - Amarillo/Lubbock/Wichita Falls): Coordinator: Vacant. Please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in serving as Region A Coordinator! Region C (Northeast - Dallas/Fort Worth/Tyler): Coordinator: Jennifer Sterling, University of Texas at Arlington Police Department Victim Services; Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org; (817) 272-9254. Region C had a great end of September Lunch & Learn Mixer with TVSA board member Lacy Hensley of One Safe Place in Fort Worth, to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We talked about the serious implications of strangulation and local ordinances that are going into place surrounding it, followed by current program updates and events in other attendees’ agencies. We held another Zoom mixer event on November 13th. Region C member and past TVSA board president Derrelynn Perryman spoke about her service as a crime victim advocate on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.
Region B (Central-Austin/Waco/San Antonio): Coordinator: Julie Jesperson, Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Victim Services Division; email@example.com; Office: (512) 406-5920; Cell: 512-970-5162. Region B held its first ever virtual meeting via Zoom in September. Meeting hosts Julie Jesperson and Mike Jones, Region B TVSA board members, discussed outreach to counties in Region B that are underrepresented or unrepresented in our membership and what current members would like to see from future virtual meetings. We also talked briefly about the revised TVSA Code of Ethics. We held our next meeting on November 16th and TDCJ-Victim Services Division Deputy Director Mary McCaffity spoke on changes to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 56.
Region D (Southeast - Beaumont/Houston/College Station): Coordinator: Stacey Manigold, BCFS Health and Human Services, firstname.lastname@example.org; 832-948-3841: For Region D I plan to continue my outreach to local advocacy agencies that are working with victims of crime. I have been reaching out to the Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners and sexual assault nurse examiners and law enforcement at Precinct 4 and 3 for the constables’ offices. I have also been working on reaching out to lapsed members to invite them back to TVSA. Our next virtual meeting is November 17, 2020 from 12 p.m.- 1 p.m. We hope to see you there!
Region E (West - El Paso/Midland/San Angelo): Coordinator, John Dominguez, El Paso County Attorney’s Office Victim Services. JohDominguez@epcounty.com; (915) 303-6069: Region E held its first virtual meeting on September 25th. I had the opportunity to meet with some great people who share the passion, diligence, and hard work to ensure education and safety to people who have been victimized. Some great topics were discussed in our meeting, such as how other areas in this region in our vast area stay connected, especially during this difficult time (COVD-19). I have to say, technology has allowed us to have the capabilities to stay connected with other people in our workplace and other agencies and being able to network and collaborate together. As we move forward, with our regional meetings TVSA is providing the support and leadership needed to spearhead our goals and succeed in our region. Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 4th, from noon to 1:00 p.m. mountain time. Please join us!
Region F: (South-Corpus Christi/Laredo/McAllen): Coordinator: Angela Luna, Victims' Assistance Coordinator, Nueces County Juvenile Justice. Angela.Luna@nuecesco.com; direct line (361)561-6019, Office (361)855-7303: People are always searching. We search for acceptance, understanding, a place to belong, a community, a family. Membership in TVSA is exactly that – FAMILY. When you join TVSA, you are introduced to a community of advocates, victim service providers, and like-minded, inspired individuals that genuinely want to help victims of crime. When you join TVSA, you build a collective identity of what is good and what is just. When you join TVSA, you are family. Region F held its first virtual meeting on September 4th, and our next one is scheduled for 10:00-11:00 a.m. on September 18th. I am looking forward to meeting more advocates in South Texas’ Region F at this next meeting!
To join TVSA, or to renew your membership, please go to http://www.txvsa.org/page-837452
Texas Victim Friendly Initiative (TVFI)
By Torie Camp, TVFI Program Specialist
The Texas Victim Friendly Initiative, the Texas Victim Services Association’s newest project, is a quality improvement program targeted at helping law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and non-profit advocacy organizations become more trauma-informed.
The initiative has its roots in the premise that an organization that works with victims should do no harm to victims. With that premise, TVSA asked a simple question: What if every organization that works with victims was a welcoming and ‘friendly’ place for victims? With that question, TVFI was born.
The cornerstone of the TVFI process is the TVFI Self-Assessment. Designed to measure an organization’s environment, policies and practices related to victim care and interactions, the self-assessment reflects best practices of trauma-informed care, Texas Crime Victims’ Rights and Office for Victims of Crime model standards.
The Self-Assessment addresses the following key areas:
- Leadership and Governance
- Physical Environment
- Cross-Sector Collaboration
- Victim Interventions and Interactions
- Training and Staff Development
- Program Evaluation
- Crime Victims’ Rights
Once the Self-Assessment is completed, organizations are supported through a 12-month period of coaching and technical assistance in the areas identified by the organization as highest priority. At the end of the 12 months, organizations have the opportunity for TVSA certification as a Victim Friendly Agency.
“The Texas Victim Friendly Initiative fulfills an important component of TVSA’s mission: recognition of the outstanding work of victim service providers in Texas,” said, Natacha Peláez-Wagner, TVSA Director. “To be sure, any agency that is certified as a Victim Friendly Agency has outstanding victim service providers.”
While other certification and licensing programs exist, TVFI’s focus on trauma-informed care sets it apart. This focus provides solutions to some of the challenges faced by victim serving organizations: victims will make contact once, but then stop engaging with the agency; victims do not tell us everything, are not always completely honest; staff is unfamiliar with signs and symptoms of trauma; organizations are missing opportunities to provide trauma-informed care and improve case outcomes.
“The Texas Victim Friendly Initiative is meant to inspire and support organizations to improve their interactions and response to victims,” said Brooke King, TVSA Board President. “Not only is that good for victims, but when victims’ needs are recognized and respected, victims are more likely to seek and participate in services, including the criminal justice system.”
TVSA is now seeking applications for the first group of organizations to participate in the Texas Victim Friendly Initiative pilot year. We are looking for law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and non-profit advocacy organizations who are interested in improving their environment, policies, and practices around trauma-informed care.
- Participation in the TVFI Self-Assessment process.
- Individualized coaching, technical assistance, and resources on improving victim-centered and trauma-informed care.
- Opportunity for certification as a Victim Friendly Agency by TVSA.
The pilot will be conducted with six organizations: two from law enforcement, two from prosecution, and two from the non-profit sector. To apply to participate in the pilot please click here: http://www.txvsa.org/event-4044974. Deadline to apply is December 7. For additional information about the project please contact email@example.com.
TVSA and CVR Research Survey Results
By Cortney A Franklin, PhD
Thank you to the 130+ of who took part in the TVSA/Center for Victim Research survey this summer. We learned so much from you that will help us focus our efforts to meet your needs in the future.
You told us about the types of products you would like to see, factors that influence your trust in research, and resources you would find helpful. We asked about the format you prefer for research information, and the highest rated formats were one-to-two page brief reports on research, and research webinars.
We asked you how you and your organization use your own data. Here’s what you said:
We also asked about resources – in addition to funding – that would help you partner with a researcher. You told us:
The good news is that there are already some excellent resources available – FREE – from the Center for Victim Research. You can find:
The information gleaned from our survey with CVR will inform our future TVSA victimology research symposiums, and some of our upcoming conference programming as well, to better serve you, our victim services professionals across the state.
For a full summary of the survey results, please click here: http://www.txvsa.org/page-1681880/9349374
We welcome the following new members who have joined TVSA this quarter:
Mary Breaux, Huntsville
Rebbecca Freeman, Granbury
Rakesh Ganeriwala, Austin
Karen Gonzalez, Houston
Sam Jaroudi, Katy
Raelene Pace, Lubbock
Valerie Payton, Spring
New Member of Communities in Schools – Southeast Harris County & Brazoria County Agency Membership:
Lisa Odom, Alvin
New Members of the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone Agency Membership:
Mariza Barrera, Rio Grande City
Joan Garza, Alton
Ilene Salas, Alton
New Agency Members:
Richland Hills, N. Richland Hills, Watauga, & Haltom City Police Department:
Tom Green County District Attorney’s Office:
And our newest Lifetime Advocate Member!
Angela Luna, Corpus Christi
Professional Development and Training Committee
As we look ahead to 2021, the board and staff of TVSA, along with the chairs of our Professional Development and Training committee and of our academy planning committee, are assessing how best to deliver our annual academy (TAAVA) and our biennial conference. The conference is our longstanding training we hold the first full week of May in South Padre Island every two years. TAAVA is normally a two and a half day intensive academy for a class of up to 60 students. Its design is interactive and intended to allow for peer relationships to develop that will last beyond the academy itself. Recently the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVCTTAC) held a four-part webinar series for victim assistance academy directors and personnel across the country on transitioning in-person academies to a virtual model. The TVSA academy director, planning committee chair, and curriculum specialist attended the webinars, which provided valuable information on changes to academies during the Coronavirus pandemic.
After much deliberation we have determined that next year’s events will need to be conducted virtually. These events will continue to provide you with the high quality, trauma-informed, victim-centered training and instruction for victim services professionals, by victim services professionals that are the hallmark of TVSA’s education programs. TAAVA will be held in a weekly series on Wednesdays, beginning March 24 and running through May 5th, a schedule most conducive to delivering the course content modules in an online format. The application process will open and be announced shortly. The conference will be held in the summer. Confirmed dates will be announced before the end of 2020. In the meantime, if you are interested in serving on the conference planning committee, or have questions about serving on the committee, please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be rolling up our sleeves and getting to work very soon!
Jennifer Sterling, LCSW
Jennifer Sterling serves as the founding Crime Victim Services Coordinator in the UT Arlington Police Department. Jennifer holds an undergraduate degree and Master of Science in Social Work. Jennifer is also a therapist, working with victims of trauma in private practice, where she assists victims in their healing journeys.
Jennifer was re-elected to a new two-year term on the board this year, where she serves as Region C Coordinator for the Northeast/Dallas/Fort Worth/Tyler region. She is also a recurring instructor at TVSA’s annual Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance in management and leadership.
“Serving on the Texas Victim Services Association board is important to me because TVSA provides an important professional fellowship for victim service providers and works as a driving force to continue to grow and give back to the profession.”
Angela Luna, BA, NACP
Angela Luna serves as the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Nueces County Juvenile Justice Center. Angela holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and is currently working on obtaining her Master of Science in Victim Service Management at Sam Houston State University. She has served Nueces County for five years in her position within the continuum of law enforcement, juvenile court, and corrections. Angela has been a TVSA member for five years and was a presenter at our 2019 training conference. She is also a graduate of our inaugural Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance in management and leadership in 2016. She joined the TVSA board earlier this year as Region F Coordinator, covering the South/Corpus Christi/Laredo/McAllen area, and is our newest Advocate Lifetime member!
“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society” — Vince Lombardi — is a favorite quote of Angela’s. And she further states, “I am continuously amazed by the amount of teamwork shown by our board. TVSA works hard for Texas advocates and their victims and I’m so proud to be a part of this organization.”
Suzanne Bradford has volunteered with TVSA for five years in a variety of capacities. As a career criminal justice consulting professional, working primarily with county jails, she became increasingly interested in victims’ rights issues as part of the justice services continuum. Suzanne is an ally member of TVSA, a membership level for persons who do not work directly with crime victims, but who support the professionals who do.
Suzanne is presently serving on the TVSA ad hoc IT work group, lending her expertise in technology assessment to the team. She also assists TVSA staff with technology support issues and use of software applications. Her assistance “behind the scenes” often allows our staff to conduct their work with much greater ease. We are very grateful to Suzanne for her availability in our times of need, and for always being there with a positive attitude and a smile!