Community leaders have come together to ensure that local victims of domestic violence will continue to receive the support they need after the closing of the only family violence shelter in the Del Rio area.
Brought together by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), community leaders from Val Verde and Kinney counties met in early August to assess the impact that domestic violence has on the area and review the many resources still available to residents who are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, dating violence, or stalking.
“The closest emergency shelter is now more than 100 miles away,” said TRLA attorney and director of the Legal Access to Rural Shelters (LARS) Project Maricarmen Garza. “Many victims are facing life and death situations. They need services immediately right here in the community.”
The meeting highlighted the importance of providing services to victims in the Del Rio area after the closing of the Amistad Family Violence and Rape Crisis Center in mid-April.
Participants included the Val Verde County Attorney’s office, the Kinney County Attorney’s office, the Texas Council on Family Violence, and community leaders including law enforcement officials, county commissioners, justices of the peace, and representatives from victim service agencies and local churches.
During the meeting providers discussed the services that are still available to victims in the area and the steps that have been taken to establish a new domestic violence shelter in Del Rio. Participants also explored the different models used for shelters in the state and possible funding options. County Commissioner Roy Musquiz committed to making sure that the current building where the shelter was formerly housed would be available to any new agency at the existing rent of $1 a year. The group agreed to continue to meet and provide support until a shelter is established in the area.
Added Garza, “We are dedicated to ensuring that residents of Val Verde and Kinney counties continue to receive the support and services they need. Failure is not an option.”