For Immediate Release
Sister Rosemary Welsh, 956-744-5312, Rosemary.Welsh@Mercy.Net
Angela Hale, TCFV, 512-289-2995, firstname.lastname@example.org
TCFV Travels to Laredo to Highlight Health Care Professionals for National Health Cares Day to Show the Important Role Health Professionals Can Play in Domestic Violence
Laredo, Texas – October 12, 2016 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today released a new report that shows the largest increase in the number of women killed in domestic violence homicides since the inception of the project 25 years ago. The women were killed in domestic violence murders in Texas by their husband, ex-husband, intimate partner, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. 158 women were killed in Texas in 2015, the deadliest year for women in Texas. That’s a 20% increase over last year – the largest number of fatalities documented by TCFV. Three women were killed in Laredo. That’s an increase over last year when two women were killed.
TCFV joined elected officials and health care professionals in Laredo today during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to release the findings of the report and to recognize Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day (HCADV), a nationally-recognized day that takes place annually on the second Wednesday of October. This awareness-raising day aims to reach members of the healthcare and advocacy communities to offer education about the critical importance of universal education to promote healthy relationships, address the health impact of abuse and offer warm referrals to domestic violence advocates.
Sister Rosemary Welsh, Executive Director Casa de Misericordia, Enrique Gallegos, President and CEO of Laredo Medical Center and a domestic violence survivor joined Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry at a news conference in Laredo to unveil the annual report titled: “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities.”
“158 innocent lives were lost and 158 families forever changed in senseless domestic violence murders in Texas. When a tragic loss like this happens, it reminds all of us, how dangerous domestic violence can be to a family and a community and how much more work there is to be accomplished to ensure victims find help and safety before it’s too late,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “Honoring Texas Victims: Family Violence Fatalities recognizes all Texas family violence victims lost in this tragic crime. The high number of deaths is one reason why we are proud to partner today with the health care community in Laredo to raise awareness about the role health care professionals can play in identifying victims of domestic violence when they come in contact with them and helping victims of domestic violence so we can turn the tables on these terrible statistics in the future. “
Medical studies link the long term effects of domestic violence and abuse with a myriad of health problems, such as smoking, diabetes, obesity, eating disorders, and substance abuse. While doctors and nurses routinely ask about high blood pressure and high cholesterol, too few assess for domestic violence and its impact on health. Universal education provides an opportunity for clients to make the connection between violence, health problems, and risk behaviors. Through a brochure-based universal education approach clients seeking services in health care facilities or domestic violence programs can receive information about healthy relationships and where to get help for abuse.
“During Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Health Cares about Domestic Violence Day, we focus on three important elements of ending violence – supporting survivors, holding abusers accountable and perhaps, most important, preventing the violence before it begins. We are proud to partner with health care professionals that share our commitment to ending violence. We know that health care providers come in contact with domestic violence victims in their daily work and we urge them to connect with the folks that come to them and look into their eyes and build trust so they will open up to tell you if something is happening. Together we will make violence a part of our past and not a tragic daily reality,” said Sister Rosemary Welsh, Executive Director of Casa de Misericordia.
132 women were killed in domestic violence murders in 2014. 119 women were killed in 2013. 114 women were killed in 2012. 102 women were killed in 2011. Harris County had the highest number of deaths in the state with 34 domestic violence murders, followed by Dallas with 13 domestic violence homicides followed by El Paso with nine murders, Bexar County with nine and Tarrant County with six.
The three women murdered in Laredo were:
Anjelica Martinez, 27
Laredo – 07/02/2015
Juan Francisco De Luna-Vasquez, 33, beat, strangled and killed his wife Angelica in her home. De Luna-Vasquez ordered his children out of the home. After murdering Angelica he took the children to a relative’s house. He then fled, wrote a confession, attempted suicide and survived his injuries. De Luna-Vasquez had a history of family violence. Earlier in the year, Anjelica had separated from De Luna-Vasquez. Authorities arrested and charged De Luna-Vasquez with Angelica’s murder. Angelica is survived by her three children, ages 3, 8 and 9.
Rosa Martinez, 49
Laredo – 08/02/2015
Jose Dominguez, 68, beat his girlfriend Rosa after leaving a nightclub. Rosa went to a hospital for abdominal pain and died there from the injuries. Months later, authorities arrested and charged Dominguez with murder.
Amalia Elizabeth Perez, 38
Laredo – 04/30/2015
Erick Tavares, 40, shot and killed his wife Amalia in their home. Tavares then shot himself. Amalia’s mother
called the police and went to their home after not being able to communicate with Amalia. Emergency responders transported Tavares to the hospital where he later died. Tavares had a history of family violence. Amalia had begun the separation process. Amalia is survived by her daughter, 10 years old.
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 list names of the victims and gives brief accounts of their deaths.
Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence and needs help can call the Casa de Misericordia Hotline at 956-712-9591 or 1(877) SU-Casa-2 (toll free) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
Texas Council on Family Violence is the only 501(c) 3 nonprofit coalition in Texas dedicated solely to creating safer communities and freedom from family violence. With a state-wide reach and direct local impact, TCFV, with the collective strength of more than 1000 members, shapes public policy, equips service providers, and initiates strategic prevention efforts. Visit us online at http://www.tcfv.org/
On July 7, 1998, Casa de Misericordia opened its doors. The mission of Casa de Misericordia is the empowerment of women and children, the accountability of the batterer, and commitment to work with the Laredo Community. The vision of Casa de Misericordia (Casa) is that battered women, despite all they have endured, can reclaim their lives by receiving comprehensive, holistic services, and consistent long-term support.
Casa de Misericordia’s emergency shelter is available 24 hours a day to victims of domestic violence and is staffed by trained personnel and volunteers. The shelter offers more than just the basic services of shelter, food and clothing. In the shelter, clients can feel secure and receive information on possible alternative for their future. Through the shelter Casa provides counseling and support groups; legal, child and other types of advocacy and intervention services; information and referral services; and assistance with developing a personalized safety plan and many educational opportunities.
Casa provides services to victims of domestic violence without regard to race, national origin, age, physical handicap, religion, or sexual preference. Casa is committed to changing the way domestic violence is perceived, as well as the way battered victims and their families’ needs are responded to. http://www.casa-de-misericordia.org