Houston hasn't always been on the forefront of helping victims of family violence, as we've noted in the past.
Some help appears to be on the way. The Harris County DA's office has just announced a federally funded three-year, $850,000 project to "speed up the response and available services to dometic violence victims."
The money will actually go to HPD's Family Violence Unit and the Houston Area Women's Center.
The focus will be on an area where HPD has fallen short in the past -- helping victims get protective orders against the kinds of people who need protective orders to tell them to stay the fuck away.
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The DA's office will provide training to HPD officers, setting up what they're calling "Protective Order Clinics," which will allow victims to apply for the orders at the scene of the incident instead of going downtown to jump through a dismaying series of bureaucratic hoops. The number of hoops needed to be jumped through will also be reduced, according to the DAs office. (Without giving up due process, we hope, for those who might be falsely accused in the midst of those ugly, messy divorce proceedings that happen all too often.)
There's also overtime funding for more officers.
The DA's office currently obtains about 2,000 protective orders a year for victims.
-- Richard Connelly