from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Leigh Flores
512/463-0121
May 8, 2001

FAMILY VIOLENCE VICTIMS WILL BE ASSISTED WITH SPECIALIZED TRAINING

Family violence victims who need financial assistance should benefit from a special training program for state employees who work with them. The training is defined in House Bill 1175 by Representative Richard Raymond, D-Laredo, and Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which the Texas Legislature passed Monday (May 7, 2001).

Many domestic violence victims who need welfare and other assistance may not wish to disclose information regarding their new permanent addresses for fear of being found by their attackers. In these cases, HB 1175 directs the assisting agency to make a reasonable attempt to contact the individual to determine whether family violence contributed to any withholding of information or missed appointments, and, if so, the individual should be interviewed to determine services or resources needed. HB 1175 is supported by the Texas Council on Family Violence and the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

The companion bill to Senator Zaffirini's Senate Bill 46, HB 1175 requires the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS), Texas Workforce Commission, Office of the Attorney General and each local workforce development board to provide at least four hours of family violence training to employees who provide information to individuals seeking or receiving financial assistance.

"For many women, domestic violence is a barrier to employment and a safety threat," Sen. Zaffirini said. "Appropriate staff training is an essential component of the state's commitment to assist women in overcoming family violence."

HB 1175 requires agencies to use existing resources to provide family violence training developed in collaboration with at least one organization with expertise in family violence issues.

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