Resource Letter:

For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Welfare Cases

October 31, 2022

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence (referred to as “family violence” in Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004) is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself; abuse by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or dating violence. 

Exposure to domestic violence can have long-lasting negative effects on children's physical and emotional well-being. It is important to note that witnessing family violence, in and of itself, is not child abuse under Texas law. However, co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse or neglect is common. 

Each year, the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) sponsors several statewide events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month including Project Purple. Recently, TCFV hosted their 2022 Virtual Statewide Conference to explore the many areas which intersect with domestic violence, including mental health, physical health, housing, economic well-being, and parenting. TCFV also published their intimate partner homicide study Honoring Texas Victims and shared data from the Annual Domestic Violence Court Report, including Texas specific data, that captures a day in the life of domestic violence shelters and the survivors they serve. Judges and attorneys can contact their local Domestic Violence Program to access opportunities for education and training.  

Additional resources:  

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For a complete list of Resource Letters, please visit the Children's Commission webpage. Information provided by the Children’s Commission should not be read as a commentary by the Supreme Court of Texas or any other court. The Children’s Commission website is not equipped to facilitate dialogue or conversation about matters related to the information in this communique. For more information about the Children’s Commission, please visit our website.