Intimate partner violence takes a staggering toll on Texans. One in three Texas women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, which is higher than the national average of one in four. This sobering statistic is even more troublesome when we consider that over three million people—more people than the population of 20 other states—live in rural areas of Texas, where geographic isolation, lack of resources and virtually no anonymity contribute to women being even more vulnerable to harm by their intimate partner and having nowhere to go for help.
Of course, rural communities also have incredible strengths—rural practitioners are adept at wearing many hats, banding together to find creative solutions to community problems and, most of all, looking out for their neighbors. In order to capitalize on these assets and provide a leg up to communities who are motivated to end domestic violence, the Institute for Coordinated Community Response works with teams from six rural counties in Texas each year to provide free training and technical assistance to improve their community’s response to this epidemic.
Together with each county’s team—made up of an advocate, prosecutor and law enforcement officer—ICCR empowers communities to create and sustain a holistic, all-encompassing community response that works to provide more comprehensive support to survivors of domestic violence. Throughout the year, ICCR participants learn not only about the dynamics of domestic violence and survivor-centered, trauma-informed practices, but also how to effectively lead collaborative efforts within their communities. For the first six months, teams complete Praxis International’s Best Practice Assessment (BPA), a system-wide case analysis process that helps them identify current strengths and gaps in their system. After their BPA is complete, Institute staff and consultants help the teams begin building a coordinated community response to address those points. The training year also includes monthly webinars, in-person quarterly training and two years of free registration to the Conference on Crimes Against Women.
Texas will never be a safe place for survivors of domestic violence until we ensure every corner of our great state has access to consistent, high-quality domestic violence training and resources. To that end, ICCR’s free webinars and in-person training sessions are open not only to participating teams, but to anyone with a vested interest in providing safety for survivors and holding offenders accountable.