From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
April 23, 1997
Contact: Rick Svataro, (512) 463-0113

Senator Ellis Wins Senate Approval of Law to Help Victims of Domestic Violence

AUSTIN, Tx. -- State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today won the unanimous approval of the Texas Senate for legislation (Senate Bill 1253) aimed at helping victims of domestic violence in Texas. Ellis said the legislation would ensure that victims of domestic violence are not charged fees for protective orders, strengthen requirements that offenders complete intervention and prevention programs, and provide additional protections for children in the determination of conservatorship under law.

"We must do all we can to protect victims of domestic violence in Texas," said Senator Ellis.

"By removing fees for protective orders we will remove a barrier to justice for family violence victims."

Ellis pointed to statistics released by the Texas Department of Public Safety as evidence that domestic violence remains a significant problem in Texas. According to DPS, in 1995, 172,000 domestic violence incidents were reported to law enforcement in Texas -- a 5.7 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, 28,900 adults and children were sheltered due to domestic violence, and the Family Violence Hotline received more than 153,000 calls. In the five years since the State of Texas began compiling these records, domestic violence incidents have increased by 28%.

"Domestic violence is a tragedy in Texas," said Ellis. "Families who are victims of domestic violence must not be victimized again by a criminal justice system that is insensitive and unresponsive. The Family Code must truly protect and strengthen families."

Overview of Provisions in SB 1253