News Release

 
December 18, 2018

Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Have Legal Aid Resources Available During the Holidays

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) is reminding Texans that resources are available to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault find safety for themselves and their families this holiday season.

There is often an influx of domestic violence and sexual assault incidents during the holiday season due to high levels of stress, financial hardships, domestic disputes and an increase in alcohol consumption.

“For most, the holiday season is a time of joy and family gatherings,” Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman said. “But for many Texas families, the holidays can be the most stressful time of the year.”

Every year, the Foundation provides grants to nearly 40 nonprofit organizations throughout the state to provide free legal services to approximately 40,000 victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. These organizations help victims with a wide range of legal needs, including finding a new and safe place to live, applying for public benefits, protecting families and confidential information, and ensuring that victims feel secure at school or work.

One client helped by these organizations was Shannon*, a veteran and mother of two who had been with her husband for nine years. When her youngest son was just six months old, her husband threw an object at Shannon and the baby that hit and injured the baby. Shannon knew she needed to seek legal protection from her abusive husband. With the help of a foundation grantee, she was able to receive free legal representation to ensure the safety and security for herself and her sons.

As part of its grants, the Foundation funds the Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA) hotline to provide survivors with a statewide network of legal advocates who can provide free legal assistance and services to help Texans in need. The hotline can be reached at 1-844-303-7233 (SAFE). Since its creation in 2016, the LASSA hotline has helped provide assistance to more than 3,200 survivors of sexual assault.

Added Justice Guzman, “Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are not alone and do not have to spend the holidays in fear. Help is just a phone call away, today and every day.”

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The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the largest state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to more than 150,000 Texas families each year. For more information, please visit: www.teajf.org.

*Name changed to protect privacy

 

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104
kschmitt@teajf.org

 

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