Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
We know that we cannot do the work of creating change that will end violence alone. We need every system and agency that responds to victims and survivors of domestic violence to work together to accomplish this task. We also need your help. By increasing your awareness of what domestic violence is and how it impacts families, and by knowing what resources exist, you become an ambassador in the work to end this violence. We also need your financial support to continue that work that we are doing so that families have access to safety.
HCDVCC is a private, non-profit organization, founded in 1996 by community leaders who wanted to formalize the coalition of services provided to domestic violence victims. The unofficial working agreements and procedures commonly practiced among various entities and organizations providing services for domestic violence victims was identified as an essential building block to establish a coordinated and systemic response. The efforts to coordinate have evolved out of frustrations with the fragmentation of the policies and activities of the various agencies serving victims of domestic violence. These frustrations have been expressed by victims, the community and the service providers themselves. The Council exists to develop systems for a comprehensive community response to domestic violence in Harris County. A Coordinated Community Response for domestic violence has at its core a commitment of the community participants to develop:
o A shared philosophical framework on violence against women;
o An understanding of each other's roles; and
o A plan to improve the response of different institutions and agencies to violence against women.
In Harris County, there are over 40 law enforcement organizations, 8 different domestic violence programs with 8 different hotlines, one of the nation's largest criminal justice systems, and the nation's largest hospital and medical services systems. The Council exists to develop strategic relationships with key service providers to maximize resources, minimize duplication of services, and streamline victims' ability to navigate those complex systems.
Each year there are more than 250,000 victims of domestic violence in Harris County. In Houston, in 2010, the Houston Police Department reported over 30,000 reports of domestic violence and 53 deaths. Most of the reports of domestic violence in Houston occurred in the home, frequently with children present who usually suffer the consequences of witnessing parental violence, including growth and developmental delays and poor academic performance. Domestic violence is a serious crime with severe consequences to families, children and neighborhoods. Children who grow up in violent homes are more likely to be at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, higher risk for neglect and physical abuse, and have poorer cognitive functioning. According to UNICEF, boys who grow up in homes where domestic violence is present are more likely to be violent in adulthood, and girls are more likely to live in violent relationships.
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