The Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) will direct more than $18 million in grant funding to Texas to support efforts to curb domestic violence throughout the state, announced U.S. Attorneys Erin Nealy Cox, Ryan K. Patrick, John F. Bash, and Stephen J. Cox.
As the state grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, reports indicate that many cities – including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio – may be experiencing surges in domestic violence. Because of the virus, many domestic violence victims feel they’re safest inside their homes, but that may or may not be the case.
Research shows that intimate partner homicides are troublingly common. According to the CDC, roughly 1 in 6 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. Tragically, Texas accounts for 10 percent of the nation’s domestic violence homicides. Armed
abusers are especially dangerous. Research shows that abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than abusers who don’t have access to a firearm.
Given these troubling statistics, in June 2019, Attorney General William P. Barr formed a Domestic Violence Working Group in order to encourage prosecution of armed domestic violence offenders. (Federal law bars domestic violence offenders – those subject to certain protective orders or convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors or felonies – from possessing firearms.)
Districts across the nation, including all four districts in Texas, have prioritized their own initiatives designed to keep guns out of the hands of abusers. In the 18 months since the first federal domestic violence initiative kicked off in Dallas, federal
prosecutors in Texas have charged dozens of armed abusers with gun crimes.
However, the federal government is just one in a host of stakeholders determined to end the scourge of domestic violence – and only a portion of domestic violence cases fall within federal jurisdiction. The OVW grants announced today will provide resources to local prosecutors, victim service providers, healthcare professionals, training organizations, and academic researchers, including several with national scope.
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