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

Texas Victim Services Association

Summer 2022

TVFI 2022 Gold Level Agency Designee, Collin County Criminal District Attorney's Office

L-R: Prosecutor Nick Lawrence, VAC Casey Hendrix, DA Greg Willis, Prosecutor Nicola Hines, Investigator Linda Herrera, and Secretary Skyler Martin

Photo Courtesy of Caitlyn Wilson


In This Issue

Message from the Executive Director

President's Column

Membership Matters 

Introducing the TAAVA Alumni Network!

Professional Training and Development

Texas Victim Friendly Initiative Resumes

Board Spotlight: Jim McKee

Board of Directors

Welcome New Members

Job Board

Intern Notice

Amazon Smile

Save the Dates

Board of Directors

Rose Luna, MSLC

Jessica Serrano, MPA

Suzanne Bradford, BBA, CPA

Region A Coordinator

Region B Coordinator
Julie Jesperson, BA

Region C Coordinator
Jennifer Sterling, LCSW

Region D Coordinator

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
Bernice Garza, BA
Rio Grande City

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

At-large Member
Jim McKee, BA

Ex Officio
Executive Director
atacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.

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

Breanna Boppre, Conroe

Cassandra Gonzalez, Huntsville

Kristany Kay, Plano

Tonya Kelley, Virginia

Malorie Lapid, Killeen

Beverly Marcum, Lubbock

Lamont Perkins, Houston

Elisa Reyes, El Paso

Taylor Robinson, Huntsville

Ruth Ruiz, McKinney

James Snow, San Antonio

Larryisa Thomas, White Settlement

New Agency Member

2-Beloved Inc.

Machelle Foster

Felisha Phillips

Did You Know?

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!

Recent job postings have included state level positions and local law enforcement victim services openings.

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:

TVSA seeks interns for the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters. Interns will assist the Executive Director with TVSA communications and event planning. Event planning will include preparing for the TVSA Victimology Research Symposium, the Texas Academy for Victim Assistance in leadership and management, and the biennial training conference. For more information, visit:

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!


Juvenile System Victim Services

September 22 2022, 12:00-1:30 PM


Victimology Research Symposium

October 27-28 2022

Hilton Conference Center and Hotel, College Station

TAAVA Alumni Network Quarterly Meeting

November 15 2022


7th Annual Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance

Winter 2023

Biennial Training Conference 

May 9-12 2023

South Padre Island


Message from the Executive Director

By Natacha Peláez-Wagner, M.Ed.

TVSA has had a very busy summer! While we did not receive a grant from the governor’s office last fall at the start of our fiscal year due to drastic VOCA fund reductions, we were extremely grateful to be notified that we would receive a grant award with supplemental funds provided by our legislature in special session at the end of 2021, to help support organizations through the VOCA fund reduction. With the award being made in May, it meant a very fast ramp up to continue some programming that had been paused due to lack of funds. As a result it was indeed a busy summer!

The fund award meant we have been able to resume our Texas Victim Friendly Initiative (TVFI) project, a quality-improvement program aimed at assisting victim service agencies to become more trauma-informed/victim friendly in their service delivery to crime victims. We welcome nine agencies to participation in the program this year: Mission Police Department, Pasadena Police Department, Roanoke Police Department, the 229th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Williamson County Attorney’s Office, Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center, Hidden Gem Family Center, and the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone.

The award has also enabled us to launch the alumni network for our Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance in management and leadership. This network is designed for all alumni of our annual academy since its inception in 2016 and will provide additional continuing education for professional growth to program managers and leaders, and networking opportunities with professional peers/fellow alumni.

Additionally, we have been busy with planning and preparations for the return of our biennial victimology research symposium this fall after a COVID lockdown hiatus. We will be convening at the Hilton Conference Center and Hotel in College Station October 27-28. Our program is chock full of outstanding presentations on current research and emerging trends for improving direct service delivery, and aimed at assisting providers to better serve victims.

We are also excited to announce that planning is underway for the in-person return of our biennial conference next May 2023; we’ll be back “on the beach”! More information on the conference will be coming your way soon.

As we head into the fall we will wrap up our 2022 systems-based victim services series with our virtual meeting on juvenile system victim services on September 22nd. The application period for our 2023 advanced academy for victim assistance will open this fall as well. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Linked In and on our website for information and updates on all these events!

President's Column

By Rose Luna, MSLC

Summer is quickly melting away the time left with family and preparations for the fall.  It is also a reminder of the strength of Texas communities and those serving victims of violent crimes in Texas.

The last few months have been tough.  The world witnessed a horrific act of violence on innocent children and public-school teachers at Robb elementary in Uvalde, TX.  This tragedy hit close to home on many levels.  We also witnessed the compassion, generosity, and love by the Uvalde community and communities across Texas.  As our state joins the Uvalde community during the difficult days ahead, our prayers and positive thoughts go to the families, those directly affected by this tragedy and to the first responders and medical community who witnessed the outcome of such carnage. 

Victim services from various agencies and communities descended in Uvalde to assist.  Our field of work came together to provide support.  I am humbled by the delicate mix of perseverance and compassion that it takes to respond to crime scenes and to work with victims of violent crimes.

I would like to recognize all system-based advocates and victim assistance coordinators in Texas.  The news headlines did not mention your heroic efforts but those of us who work in the advocacy community know the gravity of your work and the impact you have on Texas communities across our great state. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your service.


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

On behalf of the Regional Coordinators (Julie Jesperson - Region B; Jennifer Sterling – Region C, John Dominguez - Region E, and Angela Luna- Region F) and myself we hope everyone has been able to go on an exciting vacation or spend some time relaxing after the hustle and bustle of the past year!

We have open regional coordinator positions in regions A (Amarillo/Panhandle/Lubbock) and D (Houston/Southeast Texas/Galveston), so if you are interested in joining our team please reach out to myself and Natacha!  

We hope you have been able to attend one or all of our virtual series on systems-based victim services this year, where we have also hosted regional breakouts to discuss the services at a more local level. We are excited that this series has been so well received. The speakers, information, and connections made have been fantastic! We hope you have gotten as much out of it as we have.

Our last meeting of the series, on juvenile system victim services, is scheduled for September 22nd. We hope you will join us! Registration for the meeting is free for TVSA members and $40 for non-members, which includes a one-year membership to TVSA. Registration is open at: Juvenile System Victim Services: Registration.

We also want to make sure you are aware that registration for the 2022 TVSA Victimology Research Symposium is now open at 2022 Research Symposium. Early registration ends August 31st! Check out the link for more information.  

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

Introducing the TAAVA Alumni Network!

By Joseph I. Garza, BA, Education and Engagement Coordinator

TAAVA Class of 2021

I am beyond excited to join the TVSA team as the Education and Engagement Coordinator. It is an honor to work with such a brilliant and motivated team and to be a part of the Texas Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance and the creation of the Alumni Network. Jeni Pirtle, Natacha Peláez-Wagner, and Kathy Broussard did a phenomenal job of researching, organizing, and creating the foundational steps to help bring the Alumni Network to fruition and I hope that you find the final product beneficial, useful, and effective. As many of us know, a career in victim services can be difficult to manage, with many advocates either working on their own or with a geographically scattered team and those two variables, coupled with a very broad operational environment, can make this career field isolating and difficult to navigate at times. The vision of the TAAVA Alumni Network is to provide a place for the alumni of our management and leadership academy to receive continuing professional growth, resource awareness, networking and, most importantly, camaraderie with your statewide academy alumni peers. Our first meeting was held on August 16th and was well attended. We are already preparing for our next gathering on November 15th. I look forward to meeting many more of you soon!

Professional Development and Training 

By Dr. Mary Breaux, PhD, and Lacy Hensley, LMSW, MA, 2022 Symposium Co-Chairs

Please join us in College Station on October 27-28 for TVSA's 2022 Victimology Research Symposium, From Theory to Practice: Victimization, Justice & Healing. This two-day event is designed to provide a forum to share current research that is informing practice and emerging responses in different settings and disciplines. Workshops will focus on research that affects the work of victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and mental health service providers. Practitioners, researchers, and students alike will walk away equipped with emerging trends and best practices for improved services to crime victims in their communities.  

Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Early registration is now open through August 31st2022 Research Symposium. Registration is of $199 for TVSA members and $225 for non-members and includes lunch for one day. CEUs in Social Work, LPC, or LMFT may apply.

Texas Victim Friendly Initiative Resumes

By Larryisa Thomas, BA, Texas Victim Friendly Initiative Program Coordinator

TVSA has resumed its Texas Victim Friendly Initiative this summer, with nine new sites participating in the program across our state: the Mission Police Department, Pasadena Police Department, Roanoke Police Department, Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Williamson County Attorney’s Office, 229th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center, Hidden Gem Family Center, and the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone.

The TVFI Program is a year-long facilitated, quality improvement program that provides support to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and advocacy organizations to become more trauma-informed (“victim friendly”.) The nine agencies have created work groups of staff that have committed to the program and will work collaboratively to grow in their level of victim friendliness throughout the year. All sites have completed a baseline organizational self-assessment that includes eight key areas of measurement: leadership and governance, policy, physical environment, cross-sector collaboration, interventions and interactions, training and staff development, program evaluation, and crime victims’ rights. The sites are now developing their action plans for growth and conducting baseline staff surveys to measure attitudes, knowledge and perceptions of their agencies’ victim friendliness. TVSA facilitates their progress throughout the year and provides technical assistance and support in the area of resources and referrals during their work. At year end, the sites will once again undergo the self-assessment and staff survey to measure their organizational improvement and, coupled with their action plan accomplishments, TVSA will determine their level of Victim Friendly Agency designation at the completion of the prorgram.

An addition to the TVFI program this year is our new resource team, composed of past program participant agencies who have opted in voluntarily to be available to sites in sharing their knowledge and experience based on their participation in the program last year. We are excited and appreciative to have the Collin County District Attorney’s Office, Manor Police Department, Abigail’s Arms and Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston serving on our TVFI resource team this year.

Board Spotlight:
Jim McKee

Jim McKee was elected to the TVSA board of directors this spring and took office at our annual membership meeting in May. Jim has been a TVSA member for many years. He serves as Executive Director of Crisis Response Ministry, an organization providing practical, emotional and spiritual care and support for victims of crime or disaster in several regions in our state. Jim's life in public service started with working as a volunteer with the Mabank Fire Department in East Texas. Volunteering with the fire department guided Jim into taking emergency medical care courses where he later obtained his paramedic license. Jim is also a reserve deputy sheriff and mental health officer.

“TVSA has provided the training and resources I need to better advocate for victims,” Jim shared. “TVSA provides a professional foundation for reference. Having high standards and best practices makes them an indispensable tool for resources and advocacy for direct victim services."

 “As a board member I hope to become a resource for advocates and desire to encourage faith-based victim organizations to become a part of the TVSA family. To serve a bellwether organization like TVSA is truly a privilege. It is an excellent opportunity to encourage and support other members as we face new challenges and opportunities in victim services."

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