El Paso District Attorney’s Office ‘First in the Country’ 24 Hour Domestic Violence Program called ‘Innovative’ in a New Study Released from the University of Texas

Latest Statistics Show Domestic Violence Murders Rise: 142 Killed in New Report Released for Domestic Violence Awareness Month


El Paso, Texas – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today visited El Paso to showcase the El Paso District Attorney’s Office innovative 24-hour domestic violence program and to honor the 142 women who were killed in domestic violence murders in Texas.

“The 24-Hour Program is an innovative solution that seeks to respond to family violence crimes in ways that hold offenders accountable and restores victims, “said Gloria A. Terry, President of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “24 hour rapid response shows leadership from the District Attorney, creates a culture change at the courthouse, captures evidence of the abuse and holds abusers accountable.”

Under the 24-hour program, the District Attorney’s Office responds to domestic violence cases within 24 hours of a domestic violence incident. DA investigators reach out to the victim, make sure they are safe, take photographs of the abuse, gather the 911 evidence and interview the victim at the time she believed her life was in jeopardy.

A new study conducted by the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault from the School of Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin says the El Paso Program is victim friendly, increases the prosecution rate of domestic violence cases, holds abusers accountable, allows a case to move forward without the victim and can be replicated in other cities across Texas and the country.

“The 24-Hour Program has instituted a noteworthy paradigm shift in El Paso, where family violence is viewed as a serious prosecutable crime that will not be easily dismissed and for which offenders will be held accountable for their crimes of
violence,” said Noël Bridget Busch-Armendariz, PhD, LMSW, MPA Associate Professor & Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Center for Social Work, University of Texas. “This program is the only one of its kind in the country to take on this complex social program in this way. The empirical findings clearly suggest that the program’s strengths outweigh its challenges. What is remarkable is the dedication and passion those in the District Attorney’s Office exhibit on a daily basis in addressing family violence in the greater El Paso community.”

District Attorney Jaime Esparza implemented the 24-hour program four years ago.

“Our goal is to hold offenders accountable, try to prevent repeat offenders from slipping through the cracks and strengthen our prosecution of domestic violence cases in El Paso,” said District Attorney Jaime Esparza. “Traditionally, it would not have been uncommon for it to take six months after an incident to make meaningful contact with the victim. By that time, the defendant has bonded out of jail, may still be living in the house and it is more difficult to document the evidence and prosecute the case.”

“Domestic violence tears at the very fabric of our society and the surviving families of these victims remain changed forever,” said Stephanie Karr, Executive Director of the Center Against Family Violence. “As a community committed to keeping women and children safe, we must constantly look for innovative new ways to respond to family violence crimes. The 24-hour program is working to create the social change necessary to make El Paso safe for women and families.”

Also, today the Texas Council on Family Violence released a new report that shows an increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence murders in Texas. 142 women were killed by an intimate partner in 2010. That is an increase of 31 deaths over 2009.

The report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence and compiled from data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas law enforcement agencies and media reports lists names of the victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.

The report also includes a map, where the white counties represent counties where a woman has been killed in a domestic violence murder. The purple represents counties where there were no women killed by their intimate partner in 2010.

“Family violence represents a serious, preventable public health problem. We challenge all of Texas to Go Purple and strive for a state where no woman loses her life as a result of family violence,” said Gloria A. Terry, President of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities recognizes all Texas family violence victims lost in this tragic crime.”


We challenge Texans to simultaneously remember victims and
envision a Texas where the whole map turns purple.


• The victims’ ages ranged from age 17 to 78. The majority of victims were between 30 and 39 years of age, followed by 20-29 and 40-49.

• Six women murdered were under the age of 20. Three were teenagers. Of these six, three were murdered by a boyfriend and three were murdered by an ex-boyfriend.

• Two 78 year old women were murdered by their husbands

• Murders Resulting in Children Losing Their Mothers- 53 homicides involved women who had children. In 41 of the cases, a total of 39 children witnessed the death of their mother. A three month old represents the youngest surviving child.

• Three 17 year old high school students were murdered

• Five pregnant women were murdered

• 56 cases were murder-suicides

• Four women were murdered despite having a protective order in place

• Three counties with large urban cities had the highest number of women killed: Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, had the highest number of deaths. (35 Deaths)

• 1 woman killed in El Paso County in 2010

Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities serves multiple purposes.
First and foremost, it pays tribute to Texas victims by memorializing their story with a brief account of the crime. This report will evoke deeper and more meaningful discussions about barriers and realities that affect the ability of women to escape danger within their relationships.

The report strengthens our collective communities’ resolve to end violence against women and girls and work earnestly to save lives. We encourage the media to contact their local shelter or domestic violence program to localize this report in your community.

View the full report or to check the number of deaths in each county at: http://www.tcfv.org/pdf/Honoring-Texas-Victims.pdf.

You may review the entire UT report on the 24 hour program at: www.tcfv.org.


Texas Council on Family Violence is a statewide organization representing a network of domestic violence programs that provide direct services to victims and their families, and serves as the voice of victims at the state level while working with local communities to create strategies to prevent family violence. Visit us online at http://www.tcfv.org.