The mission of TVSA is support, education, and recognition for victim service providers.
Texas Victim Services Association
TVSA Board of Directors and Staff, strategic planning work session.
Message from the Executive Director
Free Survey Tool: iMPRoVE
National Census of Victim Services Providers
Professional Development and Training
TAAVA Alumni Network
Texas Victim Friendly Initiative
Board of Directors
Welcome New Members
Save the Dates
Rose Luna, MSLC
Jessica Serrano, MPA
Suzanne Bradford, BBA, CPA
Region A Coordinator
Kristi Thompson, BA
Region B Coordinator
Roya N. Williamson, MA, LCDC
Region C Coordinator
Jennifer Sterling, LCSW
Region D Coordinator
Region E Coordinator
Region F Coordinator
Mary Breaux, PhD
Ken Henry, BA
Jim McKee, BA
Christina L. Richardson, MS, LPC
Natacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.
We welcome the following new member who has joined TVSA in the last quarter:
Charlotte Foster, Houston
Shyanne Gines, Roanoke
In this issue we welcome Kristi
Thompson, our new Region A Coordinator (Panhandle/Amarillo/Lubbock/Wichita
Falls) on our Board of Directors. Kristi is a TAAVA alumna, having attended our
2023 advanced academy. Kristi is Assistant Director for Education, Training,
and Administrative Services for the Lubbock County Office of Dispute
Resolution. Kristi has served as her agency’s representative for the Crime
Victim Coalition of West Texas (CVCWT) since 2016 and began serving as the
elected President in January, 2020.
Kristi proudly supports TVSA’s
mission and says that, “Being a member of TVSA has been valuable in making
connections. Being able to connect with crime victim advocates across the state
adds value to our services in the event we find someone in need. Additionally,
the learning experiences add significant value. Specifically, the Texas
Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance gives an extra layer of knowledge in how
to effectively work with crime victims, but especially in how to work with and
support those employees who are in more direct contact with victims. I am
thrilled with the chance to serve on the board and being able to collaborate
with other organizations. I look forward to building this collaboration in
We are very pleased to have Kristi
join the board of TVSA, and look forward to working with her to grow our
outreach to victim services professionals in Region A!
Keeping your profile updated ensures you receive all TVSA communications, including training events and notices. Follow this link to view and edit your TVSA profile: txvsa.org/Sys/Profile
TVSA has a 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 here: Job Board
Message from the Executive Director
By Natacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.
With the delayed change in seasonal weather here in Central Texas our work toward the end of the summer and the beginning of fall seemed to blend together. Regardless, it was as busy and filled with great work as ever!
In late September our board and staff engaged in a very productive and energetic strategic planning work session. We undergo this exercise every five years, to chart our course for TVSA and to guide our work, helping us to move forward in achieving our goals and objectives. Having served in three director positions at victim service organizations in my career, and in management consulting where we conducted strategic planning sessions for innumerable public sector and non-profit clients across the country, I am proud to say that TVSA has been the organization with whom I have been affiliated that has routinely used its strategic plan actively in guiding its organization. Having just completed this exercise most recently, we look forward to what the upcoming future will bring in sustained and improved programs and services for our victim services professionals in Texas.
October also brought us more positive news, with an early awarding of our continuation grant from the governor’s office. We are grateful for the opportunity that this continued funding brings, allowing us to launch another project year of our Texas Victim Friendly Initiative, making it possible for more sites in our state to participate in this TVSA-facilitated, agency self-directed project to become more trauma-informed/victim friendly. Additionally, the funding allows us to continue with our advanced academy alumni network, growing our quarterly series of continuing education trainings and learning opportunities for our management and leadership alumni. We are already hard at work on planning for the network’s next quarterly meeting on January 31st.
We are also currently accepting applications for our eighth annual Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA) in management and leadership, to be held January 24-26 in Hutto. This is one of TVSA’s “signature events” and the planning and preparations are well underway to meet another academy class at the beginning of next calendar year.
We look forward to seeing many of you, virtually or in-person, this fall and winter. As always, in between events, you can follow us on social media or visit our website for current information and updates on all things TVSA!
By Rose Luna, MSLC
As the vibrant colors of autumn begin to adorn our surroundings, I find myself reflecting on the journey we have embarked on together as part of TVSA. With gratitude in our hearts, we celebrate the unwavering support of our members, volunteers, and partners who have made each season a remarkable one.
This fall, we stand at a pivotal moment in our mission, one filled with hope, renewed commitment, and a vision for an even brighter future. I am thrilled to share with you some of the exciting developments and initiatives that are shaping our path ahead.
Partnerships and Collaboration: We believe in the power of collaboration, and this season, we are forging new partnerships to expand our resources and enhance our impact. By working together with like-minded organizations, we can achieve more for the causes we hold dear.
Celebrating Success: This fall, we will come together to recognize the incredible achievements of our community. We have planned events, awards, and gatherings to honor the hard work and dedication that fuel our mission.
Your Voice Matters: I want to remind each of you that your voice, ideas, and passion matter. As we step into the fall season, we encourage you to engage with us, share your thoughts, and become an even more active part of our community. We thrive on your input and support.
Transition in Leadership: And finally, with Natacha’s impending retirement at the end of this year, the board is working on a plan not to replace her, but to continue the success she has brought to the position by responsibly conducting a search and hiring process for a new Director. We will keep membership apprised of this process. Visit the executive director position posting for more information here. If you are interested in applying please email resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In conclusion, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your continued commitment to TVSA. As the leaves fall and make way for new growth, let us stand united, energized by our shared purpose, and inspired by the change we can create together.
Thank you for your unwavering dedication to our mission. Together, we can make this fall season one of growth, unity, and impact.
With warm regards,
Rose Luna President, TVSA
By Brooke King, M.A., Membership Committee Chair
On behalf of your Regional Coordinators (Kristi Thompson
– Region A; Roya Williamson - Region B; Jennifer Sterling – Region C, and
Brenda Fuentes - Region F) we hope you all are enjoying this cooler weather!
We have open Regional Coordinator positions in Regions D
(Southeast: Beaumont/Houston/College Station and E (West: El Paso/Midland/San
Angelo) on our Board of Directors. As a membership-driven organization our
regional coordinators serve a crucial role in our organization. As regional
coordinators we meet monthly to discuss membership numbers, recruitment
opportunities, and coordinate trainings and networking opportunities for our
members and other colleagues across the state. If you’re interested in joining
our team please reach out to myself and Natacha at email@example.com.
We also wanted to make sure you saw the announcement for
our 2024 Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance in management and leadership!
If you’re looking to take your advocacy skills to the next level this academy
is for you! Applications will be accepted through November 22nd. To
apply, or for more information on the Academy, please visit: 2024 Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA) - Information and application. Please share this information with anyone you feel may be
interested in attending.
Thank you for everything you do to support crime victims
Free Survey Tool for Providers: Measuring Provider Responses to Victimization Experience (iMPRoVE)
A new tool is available to help victim service providers measure survivor outcomes and service quality. This tool was developed with funding and support from the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime, Office on Violence Against Women, and the National Institute of Justice, with heavy involvement from experts from the victim service field and survivors. iMPRoVE is an online platform that helps victim-serving organizations create a customized online survey that provides survivors with the opportunity to share feedback on the services they received. It also helps programs sum up and analyze the data through an interactive data dashboard.
Why measure victim outcomes?
First and foremost, we need information on victim outcomes so we can answer the critical question: “How do we know that we are making a difference in people’s lives?”
We also need credible data on client outcomes to convince funders that we are making a difference they can and should invest in.
How is information collected through iMPRoVE different from Performance Measurement data?
The performance measurements grantees already use for OVC/OVW progress reports focus on program outputs – information about how hard their programs are working, such as the numbers of people served and the units of services we provide. iMPRoVE collects information that complements those reports by gathering information on whether programs are achieving their intended outcomes for victims and survivors. Service providers can use the new iMPRoVE tool to collect feedback directly from the people receiving services. That gives the people impacted by crime a voice that programs can use for continuous improvement and for educating the community and our funders.
What does iMPRoVE measure? Outcomes are CHANGES happening in clients’ lives that are strongly associated with their engagement with our services. Some programs collect their own data on client outcomes, but without a tested approach it’s challenging to track improvements over time, or to compare results with other programs pursuing similar outcomes. iMPRoVE tracks OUTCOMES for us in a systematic, tested manner.
What outcomes does iMPRoVE address? Think about the changes you can see after working with survivors for a while. Examples of survivor outcomes:
- Would they say they know something they didn’t know before (e.g., their rights or the way the court works)?
- Might they have developed a skill they needed to remain safe (e.g., safety planning)?
- Have their living conditions changed for the better (e.g., secure housing)?
Learn more and register for a free account at iMPRoVE
The 2023 National Census of Victim Service Providers
Has your organization responded to the National Census of Victim Service Providers? All Texas providers should have received an invitation with an organizational PIN via email or postal mail. If you have NOT received an invitation – or you’re not sure -- fill out this quick form.
The National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and provides the only source of data collected from all victim service providers (VSPs) across the nation. This national picture of victim services can inform funders, policymakers, advocates, and providers. Accurate data about the makeup of the victim services field are crucial – by accurately gathering information on all providers, we can identify service and funding needs for survivors across the country.
The NCVSP was last conducted in 2017 and so much has changed. New organizations have emerged and existing victim services agencies may have updated contact information, ceased operations, added services, or changed structure. Collecting data on all victim service providers (VSPs) in the United States will help us gain critical knowledge and answer questions like:
- How many VSPs, and of what type, are in our state?
- How dependent are VSPs on federal funding?
- How many nonprofit VSPs have culturally or ethnically-specific programs?
- How many VSPs have a focus on trafficking victims?
- How many VSPs use volunteers to provide direct assistance to victims?
- How many VSPs offer language accessibility services?
Learn more – and see how the Texas response rate compares to the rest of the country, at https://victimresearch.org/ncvsp-2023/
Professional Development and Training
TVSA is currently accepting applications for our eighth
annual Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA) in management and
leadership. The application period is open through November 22nd.
The academy is designed for current or emerging victim
services program leaders/manager/supervisors, who wish to develop or continue
to grow their skills, with a training curriculum developed specifically for
managing and leading in a trauma-based profession. Applicants should have a
minimum of three years in victim services and have received foundational
training in victim service delivery in the past.
Our TAAVA class of 2024 will be held January 24-26 at the
A.W. Grimes Williamson County Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutto. The
class will be capped at 45 students. For more information on the academy, or to
apply, please go to 2024 Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance (TAAVA) - Information and application .
One of the ongoing benefits of attending TVSA’s Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance in management and leadership is becoming part of a community of academy alumni. The TAAVA Alumni Network was created by TVSA in 2022 to provide continuing education and networking opportunities for alumni to grow in their management and leadership skills and to remain connected with their academy peers. Through our quarterly lunch and learn virtual meetings, alumni can avail themselves of further training relevant to their roles in operating victim service organizations, and to hear from fellow alumni who work in agencies with regional and statewide reach, who share information about collaboration opportunities and/or referral resources.
We are pleased to announce the first network meeting of 2024, scheduled for January 31st at noon central time. Our trainers will be Malore Dusenbury, Associate Director of the national Center for Victim Research and Dr. Emily Wright, Principal Research Associate at the Urban Institute, who will present on the importance of program evaluation for informing management and administrative decisions in better service delivery to victims. Our featured alumni segment will be presented by Megan Humphrey of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), who will share information about DPS’s services to crime victims statewide
Registration for the meeting will open on January 3rd. Save the date!
Texas Victim Friendly Initiative
TVSA is pleased to announce that our Texas Victim Friendly Initiative is underway once again, with another project year!
At the conclusion of our 22-23 project year, seven sites were awarded a Victim Friendly Designation from TVSA, for their development and growth during the project period in becoming more trauma-informed in their service delivery to crime victims: the Pasadena Police Department, Mission Police Department, Williamson County Attorney’s Office, Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center, Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone (gold designation recipients) and Roanoke Police Department (silver designation recipient). All seven agencies worked hard for a year, through our self-directed, TVSA-supported quality improvement program to increase their level of trauma-informed service delivery to victims of crime. It is our hope that the agencies that participate in the TVFI program will continue to utilize the tools, knowledge and skills they have gained during the project year to sustain their trauma-informed practices, especially in light of the attrition many agencies undergo on a regular basis.
As we begin our new project year, we had the difficult task of selecting this year's sites from a host of very worthy applicants. We are happy to announce this year’s project participants: The Harris County Sheriff’s Office, The Smith County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, the Austin Community College Police Department, the Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County, Victim Services of Big Spring, Communities in Schools of Southeast Harris and Brazoria County, and Redeemed Ministries.
We are grateful to the governor’s office for their continued funding of TVFI for another year.
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