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

Texas Victim Services Association

Fall 2021

Fall at the Guadalupe River 


In This Issue

Message from the Executive Director

President's Column

Membership Matters 

Professional Development and Training

TVSA Sponsor Feature

Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2021

Board of Directors

Welcome New Members

Thank You 

Job Board 

Amazon Smile

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
Lacy Hensley, LMSW, MA
Fort Worth

At-large Member
Amanda Elkanick Oder, BS

At-large Member
Sarina Rios-Scamardo, MSW

Ex Officio

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

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

Julie Scheps, Decatur

And the following new members of the Round Rock Police Department Agency Membership:

Maricela Amaral

Myra Bantay

Kathryn Schroeder

And the following new member of the RAFT Cares Agency Membership:

Mariam Hashimi

Volunteer Spotlight

In this issue we spotlight our conference workshop monitors. It takes a lot of “people power” to ensure our conference program runs smoothly, and our team of workshop monitors provided facilitation for all the sessions, including introducing the presenters, managing question and answer and discussion periods, and overseeing the workshop evaluation process. Thank you, all! We could not have had a successful conference without you!

Mary Breaux
Crime Victims’ Institute, Sam Houston State University

Kathy Broussard

Torie Camp

Sarah Corbett-Imeny
TDCJ-Victim Services Division

John Dominguez
El Paso County Attorney’s Office

Imani Hall

Jennifer Hill
TDCJ-Victim Services Division

Julie Jesperson
TDCJ-Victim Services Division

Brooke King
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Stacey Manigold
BCFS-Common Thread

Terrika Mitchell
TDCJ-Victim Services Division

Jeni Pirtle

Jessica Serrano
Plano Police Department

Jennifer Sterling
UT Arlington Police Department

We wish to reiterate our extreme appreciation to our conference sponsors, whose support was essential to the success of our conference!

Gold Sponsor: Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

Bronze Sponsor: Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney

Bronze Sponsor: Proforma Printing and Promotional Products

Supporter Sponsor: AAA Scene Cleaners

Supporter Sponsor: Texas Advocacy Project 

Friend Sponsor: Angela Luna, TVSA Region F Coordinator

Friend Sponsor: Natacha Peláez-Wagner, TVSA Executive Director

We would also like to thank our additional conference exhibitors, who joined our sponsors in sharing their many resources that serve to support crime victims in our state.

Crime Victims' Institute of Texas

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Victim Services Division

Texas Council on Family Violence

Texas Muslim Women's Foundation

United Tissue Resources

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:

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.

Here at TVSA, our summers are usually rather quiet as our signature events (our advanced academy, our conference, and our research symposium), are all held at different times of the year. Not so in this new virtual world! This being our regular conference year, but it being a most irregular time due to pandemic era operational realities, we determined our best course of action was to hold our conference virtually and in the summer, in late August. Thus, our summer months were chock full of planning and preparation activities, leading up to the conference days. Stepping into the fall months now, it almost seems anticlimactic after such a busy season, but with the change in weather and the ushering in of a new fiscal year, all of us at TVSA are ready to turn the page and move into our next offerings of training and technical assistance for our state’s victim services professionals. We at TVSA are not ones to rest on our laurels!

As referenced by our board president in her column, we are hard at work preparing for a quarterly regional series statewide to bring professionals together around those systems-based services rooted in our state constitution and mandated by legislation. We are also continuing to work with our six sites piloting our Texas Victim Friendly Initiative project and are excited to launch our Texas Advanced Academy alumni network this fall. We hope to see many of you at our regional meetings, and to have active participation in the new alumni network from graduates of all our TAAVA classes!

President's Column

By Rose Luna, MSLC

As summer has come to an end, the fall season brings with it an opportunity for new beginnings. Grant year beginnings bring many changes, both good and bad. During this particular grant year, many agencies, community-based organizations, and statewide non-profits suffered cuts in VOCA. Please know TVSA will continue to support members with free training and online discussions to assist those working directly with crime victims. 

The fall also ushers in new Texas laws. There have been many changes to both the government code and code of criminal procedures and survivor-centered regulations. We appreciate the work of all who advocated on behalf of crime victims at the Texas Capitol. TVSA hosted a panel to discuss many of the new laws that directly affect systems-based advocates and all who work with crime victims. Texas legislative updates are essential to TVSA. We appreciate the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, and the Office of the Attorney General for their time and expertise in providing legislative updates at our TVSA Biennial Training Conference this year. 

TVSA’s regional coordinators are busy scheduling meetings to kick off our systems-based advocacy focus this coming year. We hope to invite conversations, information exchanges, and collaborations to complement the efforts of grassroots and community-based advocates in Texas communities to ensure crime victims receive the support they deserve. 

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

On behalf of our TVSA regional coordinators and myself, happy fall! We still have an opening on our board for a regional coordinator position in Region A. If you are interested in joining our board and the membership committee as TVSA region A coordinator please reach out to myself or Natacha!

We hope you have been able to attend a regional meeting, but if you haven’t we encourage you to make time to join us in an upcoming one! These meetings are designed to provide you with information, support, and opportunities for staying connected in your regions. So please let us know how we can support you or your agency's needs.

We look forward to connecting with you at an upcoming meeting!

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)406-5924: our summer meeting had a terrific turnout for a presentation by Roya Atashi and Allison Kolb of the Texas Advocacy Project, who spoke about their statewide legal advocacy services available for victim of family violence. We are now planning for this next fiscal year's regional meeting series.

Region C: (Northeast - Dallas/Fort Worth/Tyler): Coordinator: Jennifer Sterling, University of Texas at Arlington Police Department Victim Services,; (817)272-9254: this summer we had a meeting featuring a most informative presentation from Mona Kafeel, Executive Director of the Texas Muslim Women's Foundation. While located in region C in North Texas, the foundation can also serve victims statewide, and sometimes nationally and internationally. Their reach extends to interfaith associations and is doing extremely valuable work. We are also grateful to the foundation for joining our conference this year as an exhibitor, to share their organization's resource information to our wider TVSA members and conference participants.

Region D (Southeast - Beaumont/Houston/College Station): Coordinator: Stacey Manigold, BCFS Health and Human Services,; 832-948-3841: Many members from region D recently had the opportunity to attend the TVSA 2021 Biennial Training Conference. We were able to meet with other professionals who shared the passion, diligence, and hard work to ensure education and safety to people who have been victimized. Though staying connected during this pandemic is difficult many advocates have pushed forward, continued networking, and working hard for the victims in our region. Region D had Dr. Katherine Bacon from the Parris Foundation speak at our summer meeting which had a great turn out. Our most recent regional meeting on September 28th featured a presentation from Cheryl Moores, Victim Specialist with the FBI's Houston field office. Both Dr. Bacon and Cheryl are longtime members of TVSA and we appreciate their commitment to sharing information about their services with our regional colleagues. As we move forward, with our regional meetings our goal will remain to uphold our TVSA code of ethics as victim advocates.

Region E (West - El Paso/Midland/San Angelo): Coordinator, John Dominguez, John Dominguez, El Paso County Attorney’s Office Victim Services;; (915) 303-6069: This year’s TVSA conference was held virtually, nevertheless the conference was a success. We had great speakers and exhibitors at our conference, who shared important information with our TVSA members. Those of us from region E were proud to have one of our own, Ms. Arely Hernandez of the University of Texas at El Paso, present a workshop on campus-based victim advocacy. TVSA is an important component in the advocacy profession because it creates a gateway for victim advocates, to receive the training and education, that is needed to serve victims of crime. A BIG THANK YOU to our TVSA Director Natacha Wagner, for another successful conference!!!! Our most recent regional meetings featured a presentation from Rebecca Garcia, west Texas Regional Victim Services Coordinator for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Victim Services Division, who spoke on post-conviction victim services. We thank Ms. Garcia for sharing her time with us.

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: In July, Region F met with Rose Treviño, a Regional Victim Services Coordinator for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Victim Services Division. She spoke to us about Crime Victims’ Rights and post-conviction victim services.  In September, we met with Clarissa Mora, the Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Coastal Bend. She updated us on the new House Bill 2462. Both advocates represented what I love best about TVSA, an association of collaboration. Rose works as a systems-based advocate and Clarissa works in a community-based agency. One is in the investigative process and the other in post-convictions and parole. They have very different occupations with one main goal. They both strive to provide the best trauma-informed care to victims of crime. As the TVSA region F coordinator, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with so many advocates in my field. I have learned and grown as an advocate due to these collaborations and I thank TVSA for the opportunity.  

Professional Development and Training

By Natacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.

TVSA held its biennial training conference over four days in August, our first ever virtual conference. As could be expected, the planning and preparation for it was much different than the usual four days at our regular conference home, South Padre Island, but we were very pleased with its success!

The conference followed much the same format as our traditional in-person schedule, which we opted for to retain a sense of familiarity for those who regularly attend our conferences. We began with our half day preconference ethics session, a cornerstone of our trainings, which are always rooted in our TVSA Code of Ethics for victim services professionals in our state. Our ethics instructor Derrelynn Perryman, MSW, LCSW-S, did an outstanding job presenting an interactive workshop on this most important topic to our profession.

The following day we began with our opening plenary session, Beyond the Primary Victim: A Socio-Ecological View of the Impacts of Crime, presented by Aubrey Lloyd, Program Director of the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. The remainder of the day, and the third full conference day following, we presented 32 workshops in four concurrent tracks: Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities, the 2021 theme of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week; Equity and Justice; Innovations in Victim Services: Pandemic and Beyond; and Management and Leadership in Victim Services, which built on our annual advanced academy curriculum in management and leadership. Forty-nine presenters from Texas and numerous other states across the nation explored current practices and emerging trends in providing high quality direct services to crime victims, in both systems-based and community-based settings.

Our final day was capped with an informative, top-notch closing plenary panel on the 87th Texas legislative session. Panelists Rose Luna, CEO of  the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and TVSA Board President, Justin Wood, General Counsel Vice-President for External Affairs of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, and Gene McCleskey, Chief of the Crime Victim Services Division of the Attorney General’s Office presented a summary of the key legislative accomplishments of the session for victims and victim services provision in our state.

We were pleased to have past and new exhibitors who took a chance on our interactive virtual exhibit hall. By all accounts the hall proved to be user-friendly, and attendees’ evaluations indicated they liked the opportunity to be able to speak with exhibitors live and to view brochures and embedded information videos online.

While the virtual venue presented some challenges with our usual self-care components of our conference we were nonetheless determined to give our attendees some measure of care and relaxation. We sincerely thank Krista Del Gallo for presenting an online yoga class one early morning, and one which we were pleased to see had a sizeable turnout!

The conference could not have been possible without the trust and engagement of all who joined us as a part of it: our tremendous sponsors, our exhibitors, our workshop monitor volunteers, and above all, our presenters who gave their time and talent to present from remote locations, and who had to commit the time to prepare on our virtual platform, But the biggest thanks goes to all those who stayed with us this year and who made the time and commitment to attend the conference, and to receive the training virtually this time around!

TVSA Sponsor Feature

The Office of the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.

In the next few issues of our newsletter we will feature one of our 2021 virtual conference sponsors. For this issue, we spotlight our bronze sponsor, The Office of the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.:

The Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney's Office is currently under elected official, Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, Jr. Under the administration of Mr. Rodriguez, the Victims Unit and the Domestic Violence Unit were established in 2015.

The goal of these two units is to assist victims of violent crimes in Hidalgo County during the criminal justice process and inform them of their Crime Victim Rights according to Chapter 56. Throughout Mr. Rodriguez' tenure, there have been approximately 54,600 victims that have served by his office. Services include safety planning as well as protective orders. Over the past six and a half years, the office has issued 3,265 protective orders. 

The advocates assist victims with victim impact statement documents to help express their emotional/psychological, physical, and financial impact they endured as a result of the crime. The advocates specialize in assisting victims in receiving assistance through the Crime Victim Compensation program associated with the Office of the Attorney General. The office informs the victims of the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) program that can assist when wanting to be updated with information regarding defendants. 

The Victims Unit and Domestic Violence Unit take the lead on community engagement and participate in every event to provide prevention and awareness to their community. They aim to provide the most reliable community resources to assist victims with basic needs, information regarding domestic violence shelters, counseling services, youth resources, and much more. The office collaborates with all law enforcement agencies throughout Hidalgo County to continue to seek justice in their communities.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2021

By Suzanne Holsomback, Technical Assistance & Leadership Development Manager, Texas Council on Family Violence

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is held throughout the month of October to bring advocates and allies across the nation together to highlight domestic violence in communities and resources to support survivors. Advocacy organizations and communities speak with a unified voice challenging myths, addressing barriers to justice, and championing a world in which all are free from violence and abuse. 


DVAM evolved from The Day of Unity conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981. The goal was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national levels. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed, and the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline was established. In 1989, Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since.


This year, local domestic violence programs and the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition in Texas shaping public policy, equipping service providers with essential tools, and initiating strategic prevention efforts to create safer communities and free from family violence, will hold numerous events throughout the month and across the state to raise awareness of Domestic Violence.

October 4 | All Day | The Day of Unity

Begin DVAM with a day of reflection. This day offers time and space to remember where we have been, where we are going, those who have journeyed with us, those furthering the movement today, and those who we have lost along the way. Please check with your local domestic violence program for vigils and events.

October 7 | 10am-12pm CST |TCFV Texas Townhall 2021:  Spotlight on Risk and Resilience

Gather with TCFV for a virtual townhall that will offer space to hear about data and trends around domestic violence homicide, discuss the increase of firearm fatalities, explore solutions, and find inspiration in stories from survivors and advocates. The townhall is virtual and open to all. Register here.

October 13 | 1pm-2pm CST | Health Cares about Domestic Violence Day Webinar

Support the national “Health Cares about Domestic Violence Day” and join TCFV’s webinar, Advocacy Response to SB8 and Reproductive Coercion:  Empowering Conversations and Resources. Register here.

October 19 | 10am-12pm CST | Faith & Family Violence:  Recognizing and Addressing Abuse

Explore with Houston area faith leaders how we define violence, how religious texts across multiple faiths address domestic violence, and how we can support survivors and keep families safe together. Register here.

October 20 | 11am-12pm CST | TCFV Legislative Update Webinar

Join TCFV’s Public Policy team in this overview of legislation pertinent to survivors and stakeholders passed by the 87th Texas Legislature including funding to support services for survivors. We will discuss next steps in implementation and ongoing strategies as well as the importance of engaging with elected officials and highlighting simple ways to get started on Purple Thursday. Register here.

October 21 | All Day | Purple Thursday

Show Your True Colors! Purple Thursday or “Go Purple Day” is a national day of action each October during DVAM. We encourage you to wear all things purple as a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor, and personal dedication to domestic violence awareness.

Please make sure to connect with your local domestic violence program to support and join in community-based efforts to raise awareness and end domestic violence.


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