The mission of TVSA is support, education, and recognition for victim service providers.

Texas Victim Services Association

Summer 2021

Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance, Class of 2021


In This Issue

Message from the Executive Director

President's Column

Transforming Victim Services with a Trauma-Informed Approach 

Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA)

Membership Matters

Board of Directors

Welcome New Members

Volunteer Spotlight

Thank You

Job Board 

Save the Date

TAAVA Student Feedback

Board of Directors

Rose Luna, MSLC

Jessica Serrano, MPA

Suzanne Bradford, BBA, CPA

Past President
Brooke King, MA

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
El Paso

Region F Coordinator
Angela Luna, BA, NACP
Corpus Christi

At-large Member
Mary Breaux, PhD

At-large Member
Cortney A. Franklin, PhD

At-large Member
Lacy Hensley, LMSW, MA
Fort Worth

At-large Member
Amanda Elkanick Oder, BS

Ex Officio

Executive Director
Natacha Pel
áez-Wagner, M.Ed.

We welcome the following new members who have joined TVSA this quarter:

Sarah Corbett-Imeny, Austin

Brooke Free, Corpus Christi

Casey Gabriel, Dallas

Charletta Johnson, Houston

Erica Lee, San Antonio

Brenice Morciglio, Orange

Lumarie Orozco, Carrollton

Monica Reid, Abilene

Dalia Rivas, San Antonio

Kristi Thompson, Lubbock

New Agency Members:

Corpus Christi Police Department

Laura Muñoz

Sabrina Solano

Berth Vargas-Aguas

Nerisa Zavala

Volunteer Spotlight

This issue we wish to spotlight our 2021 TAAVA planning committee chair, Rita Flores. Many of you know Rita through her position at the Texas Council on Family Violence. As TAAVA chair, Rita volunteered innumerable hours to work with TVSA staff to adapt our academy to an online format and to execute the academy as close to flawlessly as possible, when one has nearly 60 people connecting online from almost as many locations!

We also wish to thank all our volunteers whose time and talent as instructors, planning committee members, and breakout session facilitators ensured the success of TAAVA 2021:

Sharon Bayliss

Stephanie Books

Suzanne Bradford

Torie Camp

Sarah Corbett-Imeny

Rita Flores

Lacy Hensley

Jennifer Hill

Suzanne Holsomback

Thecia Jenkins

Emily Leblanc

Mary McCaffity

Angie McCown

Dr. Janet Mullings

Sherry Murphy

Amanda Elkanick Oder

Erica Olson

Nicholis Ortiz

And our panel of public agency funders from the Health and Human Services Commission, Office of the Attorney General, and Office of the Governor:

Megan Bermea

Jason Buckner

Ana Goebler

Sally Peña

Cody Rothschild

Did You Know?

TVSA has a new and improved job board on our website! We have retooled the job board to make it easier for employers to submit job postings. Employers wishing to post a victim services position opening can fill out a form online to submit their posting to TVSA. Please send us your available job listings!

Victim services professionals engaged in job searches can view postings as well, with links to the human resources departments of pertinent agencies and/or applications directly for the listed positions. The job board is available at this link:

Some student words about their recent experiences at our Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance:

"Comprehensive expertise, OVC standards, OVC VT toolkit, many resources and ideas for implementation with our organization and staff. Validation and encouragement about standards in the field working to advance and sustain. All great and relevant topics and tools.”

“I feel it gave me the skills and knowledge necessary to be a more effective supervisor and move into a position of management.”

“Being able to network and meet other professionals in the field. I also appreciated the handouts and activities used to bring context to the content.”

"I believe that it was all so valuable. All the information that was provided to us was very valuable as I have been wanting to know how to do and accomplish certain things as well as move up and forward in my department and this was just a great opportunity to learn how to start."

All listings below are for virtual events.

Biennial Training Conference
August 17-18, 24-25, 2021

Upcoming Regional Meetings

Region D Meeting
July 14, 2021, 12-1 PM CT

Region B Meeting
July 21, 2021, 12-1 PM CT

Region F Meeting
July 21, 2021, 10-11 AM CT

Region C Meeting
July 23, 2021, 12-1 PM CT

Region E Meeting
July 30, 2021, 12-1 PM MT

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:

2. Share TVSA's unique link on social media.

Shoppers that use the generic 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!


Message from the Executive Director

By Natacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.

As we approach the summer of 2021, the TVSA calendar reflects the still-different workplace landscape during the COVID-era. Normally, this year would have seen us holding our Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA) in-person in late January, and our Biennial Training Conference would have recently concluded in May.

Instead, we held TAAVA virtually, in once-weekly classes over seven weeks this spring. As you will read in another column in this newsletter it was a great success, notwithstanding having to adapt a recently completed new curriculum to an online delivery model. TVSA staff, working with victim service professional stakeholders representing the geographic, programmatic, and demographic diversity of our state, developed the new curriculum in 2020. Its unveiling, while different from what we had originally envisioned, went extremely well, in large part thanks to the members of our academy planning committee, our staff, and many volunteers who assisted with our online classes.

Concurrent with the TAAVA class we have been engaged with planning and preparations for our biennial training conference. While we will not be in our usual conference home on South Padre Island, our virtual conference, being held August 17-18 and 24-25, will present a robust schedule of trainings over the four days, with a preconference session on ethics in victim services the afternoon of August 17, our opening plenary session and concurrent workshop offerings on the 18th, a full day of concurrent workshops on August 24, and our closing plenary session the morning of August 25th. Early registration is now open through July 7th!

TVSA Biennial Training Conference

Aug. 17: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Aug. 18: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Aug. 25: 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

(All conference times are in U.S. central time.)

Registration and conference information is available at . 
Sponsorship and exhibitor information can be found at 
Partial list of workshops can be found at

Stay tuned for more conference announcements via email, our website, and on our social media for further information on all we have planned for the conference. We hope you are planning to join us this year!

President's Column

By Rose Luna, MSLC


It is my first “message from the President” in the TVSA newsletter.  First and foremost, I would like to extend a huge congratulations and thank you to Brooke King for her leadership and devotion to TVSA.  I certainly appreciate Brooke’s work and direction resulting in many great things at TVSA. One of many and my personal favorite, is the consistent communication and learning opportunities via the board’s regional coordinators, creating space and time for connection and learning across the state of Texas.  Second, I appreciate the vote of confidence by TVSA membership to entrust me with TVSA’s President of the Board position. My goal is simple; support and recognize system-based advocacy as a component to wraparound services for all victims in Texas. I plan to work collaboratively with each of you to achieve the following goals:

  1. Further clarify TVSA’s identity as the professional organization for system-based advocates
  2. Support system-based advocates as we work collaboratively with community- based advocates
  3. Advance system-based advocacy as a whole in Texas

Together we will partner with community-based advocates, all the systems in Texas as well as community members to ensure a safer and more just Texas.

First, TVSA has an identity and my goal is to simply further clarify or remind all of TVSA’s roots and beginnings. In the early days, some of the great ideas for the work of TVSA were born in a hot tub in South Padre Island (as most non-profit ideas are). The brilliant minds recognized a gap in representation and support for system-based advocates and voila! TVSA was created.  My goal is to substantiate the original intent and goals by focusing on the needs of system-based advocates, highlighting the great work of system-based advocacy as we collaborate with allied professionals to advance the needs, safety, and healing of victims. I hope to work with you all to achieve those goals in the following ways:

  • Assess the needs and hopes of system-based advocates in general, with professional development, and victim service delivery and management
  • Work with the TVSA board (including its regional coordinators), and staff to ensure we deliver content relevant to advance the work of system-based advocates representative of the varied victimizations
  • Create opportunities to highlight successful collaborative systems providing wraparound services to victims of crime in Texas.  

The goals are lofty but measurable and achievable. I look forward to connecting and working with you all as we promote TVSA and elevate crime victim service delivery in Texas.

Transforming Victim Services with a Trauma-Informed Approach 

By Torie Camp, M.Ed., TVFI Program Specialist

Trauma is embedded in the work of victim services.  Every victim that walks through the doors of an advocacy organization, law enforcement department or prosecutor’s office has experienced a trauma.  Many victims have suffered a series of traumas, sometimes stemming from their childhoods, which compounds the effects of their most recent victimization. The chances of negative outcomes rise with each additional trauma.

Rates of trauma among those working in human services fields, including victim services, are higher than in the general population. Staff suffering the impact of trauma, including secondary trauma, can develop negative feelings towards the population being served, impacting organizational effectiveness. In addition, staff burnout can lead to high rates of turnover, which is costly for employers.

With support, victim service organizations can meet the challenges that trauma brings to their organizations. A first step is learning about the six principles of trauma-informed care and how they apply to victim serving organizations.  Below are each of the six principles identified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), alongside how each principle might apply to an organization that works with victims of crime.

1. Safety

  • The safety and security of staff and those served are protected from intimidation, threat or physical harm while on the premises. 
  • Victims and staff are safe from emotional abuse, i.e. there is no shaming, people are treated with respect, people's thoughts, feelings and opinions are treated as important.

2. Trustworthiness and Transparency

  • Before a victim discloses anything, staff share the extent and limits of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements within the program.
  • The agency provides clear explanations and information about why questions are being asked.

3. Peer Support

  • Consider hiring peer professionals to leverage the power of connecting in the process of healing from trauma.
  • Provide regular opportunities for staff to debrief and exchange feedback in a non-judgmental way.

4. Collaboration and Mutuality

  • Implement a victim advisory board or taskforce to ensure your organization meets the needs of victims. 
  • The program educates victims about trauma and its impact, including asking people what is helpful to them when they are in distress.

5. Empowerment, Voice, and Choice

  • Staff, where appropriate, provide information to help victims make informed choices about their level of participation in the criminal justice and service systems.
  • Staff help victims to identify stressors, remove or reduce stressors, and empower victims to regain a sense of personal control.

6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

  • As part of ongoing program evaluation, survey the demographics of the victims served by your organization and compare to the demographics of the community as a whole.
  • All staff receive foundational training on trauma-informed care, including training on the trauma experienced by individuals due to their race, ethnicity, culture, or gender.

Implementing trauma-informed services often requires organizational change, which must be guided by its leaders. According to SAMHSA, “desirable organizational change doesn’t occur by accident. It comes from steadfast leadership, a convincing message that change is necessary and beneficial for staff and consumers, and resources that support change.”

TVSA has developed the Texas Victim Friendly Initiative to support leaders who desire to create more trauma-informed organizations.  The 12-month quality improvement program is free and available through an application process.  To be notified when the next application period opens in the fall of 2021, please email

Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA) 

By Rita Flores, BA, TAAVA Planning Committee Chair

On March 24, the Texas Association for Victim Services hosted 53 victim service professionals for the annual Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA). This year marked the launch of the new leadership and management curriculum developed by TVSA. The new curriculum is grounded in the Office for Victims of Crime model program standards for the management of victim services programs and the TVSA Code of Ethics for victim service providers and is designed to train managers and administrators through a trauma-informed lens.

The 2021 TAAVA cohort represented all that makes our work remarkable – resilience, compassion, and a desire to learn and grow. This group comprised a broad spectrum of community-based programs, including family violence, sexual assault, faith-based services, human trafficking, legal services, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and children’s advocacy center programs, as well as systems-based professionals from law enforcement, prosecution, and corrections agencies. Additionally, they were geographically diverse, representing urban, suburban, and rural communities. This diversity in experience allowed for rich discussion and perspective. The cohort gathered each week with a desire to learn and left with a new network of peers.

The academy would not have been a success without the professionals who volunteered their time to deliver the material.  This year Angie McCown, Emily Leblanc, Mary McCaffity, Sherry Murphy, and Sharon Bayliss, tenured and trusted professionals, along with myself, returned as instructors. The academy also included representatives from the Health and Human Services Commission, Office of the Governor and Office of the Attorney General, including Megan Bermea, Cody Rothschild, Jason Buckner, Ana Goebler, and Sally Peña. The academy also featured new instructors Thecia Jenkins, Amanda Elkanick Oder, and Lacy Hensley. This dynamic group shared their content expertise as well as their commitment to those they serve and supervise. We remain in awe of their brilliance and dedication to victim services.

The success of the academy is a collective approach. As we continue our work to create safe communities, we know we are stronger together. We look forward to ours paths crossing again in the near future. 

By Brooke King, M.A., Membership Committee Chair

Happy Summer TVSA!!! Summer is in full swing and so are your regional coordinators! We have regional coordinators for region B (Julie Jesperson), C (Jennifer Sterling), D (Stacy Manigold), E (John Dominguez), and F (Angela Luna). If you are interested in filling the open coordinator position in Region A please reach out to myself and Natacha. We would love to have all regions covered!!

We hope you have been able to attend one of the regional meetings that have happened over the past year! If you have not, you are missing out and we would like to encourage you to make time to attend an upcoming one! We have worked hard to structure these virtual meetings for your convenience while ensuring we provide speakers to share resources that are available to you in your region! We are committed to providing you support and opportunities for staying connected in your regional area. As the membership chair, I urge you to contact your regional coordinator with any ideas you have to support you, or your agency’s needs; if you have thoughts for a needed virtual regional training; or want to provide support to a virtual (or in-person) social. We are always looking for opportunities to spread the word about the benefits of joining TVSA and keeping you connected with one another! Stay safe and cool this summer and I hope you take some time to unplug!

News from the Regions:

Region A (Panhandle - Amarillo/Lubbock/Wichita Falls): Coordinator: Vacant. Please contact us if you are interested in serving as Region A Coordinator. 

Region B (Central-Austin/Waco/San Antonio)Coordinator: Julie Jesperson, TDCJ Victim Services Division,; (512) 406-5920: Region B held a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12th. Libby Hamilton, the Victim Services Program Liaison for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (and TVSA member!) presented an overview of the parole process and how her position, the first of its kind for the parole board, serves victims during this part of the criminal justice process. After Libby’s presentation we had a great discussion about the parole review process and victims’ rights during parole review.

We are looking forward to our next Region B meeting scheduled for July 21st from 12:00 pm– 1:00 pm.

Region C (Northeast - Dallas/Fort Worth/Tyler)Coordinator: Jennifer Sterling, University of Texas at Arlington Police Department Victim Services,; (817) 272-9254: Region C appreciates our presenters, TVSA member Jason McBride and Sheyla Camacho of the Parkland Victim Intervention Program (VIP)/Rape Crisis Center in Dallas, who shared information about their services at our May meeting. Our next meeting is July 23 at 12 pm and we are excited for Mona Kafeel, Executive Director for the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation to join us. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any topic requests, offers, or presentations. Try to stay cool this summer while you’re so diligently working with victims!

Region D (Southeast - Beaumont/Houston/College Station)Coordinator: Stacey Manigold, Common Thread, Region D held a very successful May meeting. Kara Breeden, CEO of Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners was our featured speaker. Following her presentation, Ashlee Evans Common Thread gave a brief presentation also, on the work of Common Thread and services for victims of human trafficking.  Our next virtual meeting will be held on July 12th from 12pm-1pm.

It is my desire to increase membership here in region D by continually inviting members to bring in co-workers, advocates, and service providers from throughout the region D community. With this request, we are holding a membership drive, with two gift cards valued at fifty dollars each. Members that bring in at least three new members to TVSA will be entered in a drawing for the gift cards. Staying connected during this pandemic is difficult though many advocates have pushed forward and continued networking and working hard for victims within our region. As we move forward, our goal will always remain to uphold our TVSA Code of Ethics as victim advocates within our regional meetings.

Region E (West - El Paso/Midland/San Angelo)Coordinator, John Dominguez, El Paso County Attorney’s Office Victim Services;; (915) 303-6069: As the Regional Coordinator for region E, I am always happy to share the great things that are occurring in our west Texas region. In past regional meetings, we’ve had special guests join us to speak to us on how their agencies are educating our community, and bringing awareness and resources to victims of crime. At our most recent meeting in May Ms. Arely Hernandez, Director of The University Of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)/Campus Advocacy, Resource and Education (CARE), made an outstanding presentation to our TVSA members and shared the types of services her team offers to students who have been victimized, and the different trainings she provides to our victim service professionals.

Our next virtual regional meeting is scheduled for July 30th, from noon to 1:00 p.m. mountain time.

As a board member and coordinator for region E, I believe membership matters, because members are the core of our organization and it allows for TVSA to move forward and expand our ability for TVSA to provide education and trainings across the great state of Texas. When membership continues to grow, TVSA also grows. As I continue to partake of the opportunity to be a part of this great journey with TVSA, it makes me proud to say; I’m part of the “CORE”.

Region F: (South-Corpus Christi/Laredo/McAllen)Coordinator: Angela Luna, Victims' Assistance Coordinator at Nueces County Juvenile Justice;; Direct Line (361)561-6019, Office (361)855-7303:

One of the newest members to join TVSA Region F is Texas A&M University Corpus Christi student Brooke Free. In August of 2020, a time when the world stood still due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she interned with the Nueces County Juvenile Justice Center and actively researched the needs of victims of juvenile offenders. Noticing a gap in service, she created an online petition for the revision of the Texas Family Code Sec. 57.003. The code states that the Juvenile board MAY designate a VAC for victims of juvenile offenders. Brooke called for the word MAY to be changed to SHALL, mandating Victim Assistance Coordinators. Her research continues to grow and has been accepted by her university for statewide research in the fall. Brooke will receive her undergraduate degree in Political Science in May of 2022 and plans to next attend law school. She has proven herself to be a true advocate for victims. In her own words: “We need a system that doesn’t prioritize the punishment of offenders over the needs of victims,” but one that "promotes change and helps victims”.

Brooke Free is an example of our future. A new generation of providers taking up the cause. TVSA region F is honored to have her as a member.

In other news, our May meeting featured another bright star in region F, Brenda Fuentes, coordinator in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, who gave an informative presentation on the services of the unit, and how it works with the Victim Services Unit of the office. Our next meeting is scheduled for July 21st from 10:00-11:00 a.m., and we look forward to seeing many of you in attendance.


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