Domestic Violence Awareness in Del Rio


Each October, BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio joins organizations nationwide in support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In a country where intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, and where one in four women have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their life, BCFS-Del Rio works diligently to engage the community and share knowledge to identify and prevent domestic abuse.

As part of the month-long movement, a Candlelight Vigil was held October 16 at the Paul Poag Theatre. BCFS-Del Rio joined in honor of those whose lives had been altered or lost to domestic violence. “136 victims passed away in 2017 due to domestic violence,” said Delia Ramos, Director of Community Based Services at BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio, in an interview. “We want to show our community that love shouldn’t hurt – to show how important it is to walk away from a violent situation, and that although it is often very difficult, it’s ok to ask for help.”

Bruno R. Lozano, Mayor of Del Rio, presented a proclamation against domestic violence. In its eighth year, Delia said the Candlelight Vigil remains an effective tool at spreading a message that can prevent harm in the Del Rio community, creating knowledgeable warriors for a worthy cause.

Later in October, a few days after the Candlelight Vigil, local representatives gathered for an interagency meeting. More than 50 individuals from over 11 organizations met to discuss how domestic abuse could most effectively be averted.

“It’s a great time to get to know names and faces of our community organizations,” said Delia, noting that the annual meeting is an important avenue for understanding how entities throughout the Del Rio community can work together to reach common goals.

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BCFS HHS-Del Rio recognizes and thanks the organizations and government representatives who attended this year’s interagency meeting (which include but are not limited to) :

  • Laughlin Air Force Base
  • Office of U.S. Congressman Will Hurd
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
  • Val Verde Sherriff’s Department
  • Val Verde Regional Medical Center
  • Consulado de Mexico
  • Consulado de Guatemala
  • Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)
  • Serving Children and Adults in Need (SCAN)
  • San Felipe Del Rio Independent Consolidated School District
  • Del Rio Police Department

Read more about how BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio is working to end violence in their community.

The Courage of a Warrior Mom

BCFS-Del Rio Helps a Domestic Violence Victim Start Over

Jhenovia Campbell had served our country in the United States Air Force, earned several promotions, and seen her share of tense situations as a service member. Ironically, one of her most harrowing experiences was when she decided to uproot her life to escape a domestic abuse situation. She chose to leave as a survivor, before becoming a victim.

As she loaded her 2-year-old daughter in the car, Jhenovia replayed in her mind the gut-wrenching decision to leave her teenage daughter behind in Georgia with a relative while she searched for peace and safety. With no more than a few dollars and the clothes they were wearing, Jhenovia and her toddler drove straight through to Texas, choosing Del Rio to seek immediate refuge with a friend.

Soon after her arrival, Jhenovia learned of BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio, where she met Family Violence Specialist Claudia Lopez. BCFS-Del Rio operates the Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program, providing safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence. Through one-on-one support, legal assistance, emergency medical care and referrals for access to community resources, the DRDV program promotes violence-free relationships and community awareness through collaboration, public information, education and advocacy.

Jhenovia recounted her recent history and journey for Lopez, discussing how her commitment to her daughters led to her decision to flee a dangerous home environment. As they spoke, Lopez began carefully planning an effective strategy for Jhenovia’s recovery and reintroduction to a safe, stable and normal life.

“She had done her research and learned about BCFS-Del Rio,” recalls Lopez. “She made it clear she was ready for a change. We filed a protective order, contacted law enforcement in Georgia and obtained all the incident reports.”

“I was impressed with her demeanor and calm voice,” Lopez says. “After all the abuse, here she was standing tall and proud. Then it dawned on me that she was a warrior. The fact that she had served our country made her strong. She was eager to learn and not take any handouts. She values hard work and discipline, and I admire that about her, too.”

Through its Special Non-Residential Program, BCFS-Del Rio’s Domestic Violence Program helped Jhenovia find an apartment and provide her a few items to start a new home. She began her job hunt, and as the start of the school year approached, she coordinated the arrival of her oldest daughter, who would begin sixth grade in a new school. Jhenovia learned about additional community resources that helped empower her and her daughters, and she attended support groups and counseling sessions to help process the events of her recent past to recover from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her former spouse.

Through sheer determination, in just under 60 days in new surroundings, Jhenovia reclaimed her independence, fully aware that the scars of abuse, although in check, remain in her memory. She is gainfully employed and caring for her children. As a testament to her resiliency, unconditional love for her daughters, and strong self-image, Jhenovia is living a life free of the insecurity and uncertainty of domestic abuse.

“I knew she didn’t want to ask for help because she wanted to work and get things done with her own hard-earned money,” says Lopez. “Everyone, at some point, needs help. Thankfully, BCFS was there to offer a few important resources, a little hope, and a shot at a new beginning.”

Self-Defense Workshop

Self-Defense Workshop Teaches Del Rio Girls How to Handle a Physical Altercation
Annual workshop hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio

Thirty-two middle and high school girls learned the basics of self-defense at an annual workshop hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio. The workshop was held in observance of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Photo: Assistant Demonstrates Self Defense Techniqus

Along with instruction in taijutsu martial arts, the young ladies learned how to avoid a dangerous situation, good decision-making skills when in trouble, and how to react in a life-threatening situation. Attendance at the workshop, which was open to girls ages 12-18, doubled from last year.

According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, one in three girls in the United States is the victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and according to the American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center, violent behavior often begins between the ages of 12 and 18. The self-defense workshop equipped girls with the skills to react quickly to destabilize or disarm an attacker.

The workshop was led by Hector Cruz, Jr., a healthcare professional with teacher certifications in tai chi, gymnastics, the martial arts and yoga. Throughout the workshop, Cruz and his squad of assistants demonstrated different moves that used balance, weight and the body’s pressure points to fend off an attacker. After each demonstration, the girls partnered up to try their newly acquired skills.

“We always want our kids to be safe, but when they’re faced with danger, we want them to be prepared to defend themselves if necessary,” said BCFS-Del Rio Family Violence Specialist Claudia Lopez, who organized the workshop. “Although this workshop was only for middle and high school students, some people from around the community have asked us to host a session for older women. Self-defense really is important for people of all ages.”

BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio operates programs to serve those in need throughout Val Verde County, including free counseling and crisis intervention through the Services to At Risk Youth (STAR) program, and domestic violence treatment and prevention through the Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program.

BCFS-Del Rio’s domestic violence hotline is available around the clock at (830) 768-2755.


For more information about BCFS-Del Rio, or to seek help for an abusive relationship, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio or call (830) 768-2755.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

DEL RIO, TX – Every year, nearly 1.5 million high school students across the country experience physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a dating partner. Teen dating violence affects 1 in 3 adolescents, a rate much greater than other forms of youth violence. The effects of violence among youth are dire and long lasting, as victims are at increased risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.*

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it. BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio helps local youth through several programs that provide free counseling and crisis intervention as well as domestic violence prevention and treatment.

BCFS-Del Rio is hosting two special events in recognition of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE
Friday, February 17, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
BCFS-Del Rio, 712 E. Gibbs Street, Ste. 200

SELF-DEFENSE WORKSHOPS
Friday, February 24, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
BCFS-Del Rio, 712 E. Gibbs Street, Ste. 200

On Friday, Februrary 17, BCFS-Del Rio invites fathers and their daughters to a night of music and fun at the Father Daughter Dance. Tickets are available for purchase online at DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio or in person at 712 E. Gibbs Street, Suite 200 – $10 for fathers, $5 for daughters. Besides providing a night of memorable family fun, the goal of the event is to give fathers the opportunity to demonstrate how a gentleman behaves on a date and how to treat a young woman with respect and reverence.

On Friday, February 24, BCFS-Del Rio will hold a self-defense workshop on the art of Taijutsu (Japanese for “body technique”) for girls ages 12-18. The workshop will instruct young women on ways to prevent a threatening situation, good decision-making skills when in trouble, and how to protect themselves if their life is ever threatened in an altercation. Space is limited. Call (830) 768-2755 to sign up.

BCFS-Del Rio encourages parents, other trusted adults and friends to look for the warning signs that a teen might be experiencing dating violence. Suspicious bruising, failing grades, and a disinterest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed are all cause for concern. Signs that a teen may be at risk for carrying out dating violence include issues with anger management, insults or mean-spirited comments toward their partner, and threatening physical harm if there is talk about a break up.

“Our main goal is to foster safe, loving environments in homes and relationships across our community,” says BCFS Director Delia Ramos. “When someone affected by abuse looks to us for help, we use resources, counseling and education to try to help them see that violence is never the answer, and that there are more effective ways to handle problems.”

For more information about BCFS-Del Rio, including help for someone in an abusive relationship, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio or call (830) 768-2755.

*Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Family and Youth Services Bureau.


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Governor’s Office Awards Grant For Domestic Violence Survivors

DEL RIO – The Criminal Justice Division of the Texas Governor’s Office has awarded BCFS Health and Human Services $54,000 to expand its current services to victims of domestic violence in Val Verde County with the PAST program, or Peers Achieving Success Together. The PAST program provides crisis intervention, victim advocacy services, and peer support groups to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking crimes in Val Verde County.

“Over the next year, we expect to serve at least 100 victims of abuse through PAST, providing direct crisis intervention services,” says Delia Ramos, interim director for BCFS Health and Human Services in Del Rio. “This grant reaffirms Texas’ view, from the highest level, that abuse, in any form, is unacceptable, and there is no place for it in our society.”

Last year in Texas, more than 23,000 adults and children sought shelter from an abusive environment, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. One in three women in Texas is affected by abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, spouse or intimate partner.

Family Violence Specialists with the PAST program provide individualized needs assessments, crisis counseling, transportation services, safety planning and referrals to other community organizations for additional support as-needed. PAST also provides peer support groups, where program staff and abuse survivors utilize the Duluth Model curriculum, Tácticas de control: La visión de la mujer. The curriculum includes the first-person accounts of six Latinas who have survived abuse, and how the experience has affected their children, their relationships and themselves.

“Del Rio has a large Hispanic population, and we are mindful of the cultural nuances within our community,” adds Ramos. “Through the stories of these Latina survivors, Tácticas de control offers insight into an abuser’s mindset and how a relationship can evole into something unhealthy and dangerous.”

The Duluth Model, named after the small Minnesota town where it was developed, is a framework of ideas and information about domestic violence that asserts involvement from the entire community is critical to ending domestic abuse for good.

BCFS Health and Human Services has operated the Domestic Violence Del Rio (DVDR) program for five years, providing safety, support and resources to victims of abuse. BCFS also operates the Services To At Risk Youth program, known as STAR, which aims to reduce family conflict and prevent delinquent behaviors, running away, and child abuse by helping youth and their families learn to resolve crises and develop coping and parenting skills.

To learn more about BCFS Health and Human Services, or to support BCFS’ work in Del Rio visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

BCFS Health and Human Services to Hold Candlelight Vigil

DEL RIO — According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million people are affected by intimate partner violence in the United States each year. One in three women in Texas is affected by abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, spouse or intimate partner. Last year in Texas, more than 23,000 adults and children sought shelter from an abusive environment.

As the nation marks October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, BCFS Health and Human Services in Del Rio will pause to honor victims of abuse, and underscore its programs that help survivors recover and work to end domestic abuse for good.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program provides safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence in Del Rio and Val Verde County. Victims receive one-on-one support, legal assistance, referrals to access community resources, emergency medical care, and critical safety planning. BCFS’ domestic abuse hotline is available 24/7 at (830) 768-2755.

In the last year, BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program has provided treatment and recovery services to 93 adults and 70 children affected by domestic violence.

On Thursday, October 29, BCFS Health and Human Services will hold its sixth annual candlelight vigil in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The vigil, Igniting Hope: A Community Commitment to Stop Domestic Violence, will be held at Del Rio’s Brown Plaza at 305 Cantu Street at 7 p.m. Community leaders, advocates and local families will gather with BCFS Health and Human Services to read aloud the names of every domestic violence victim who lost their life at the hands of their abusers this past year. BCFS’ community partners collaborating on the event include the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office, New Horizon Women’s and Children’s Shelter, Quad Counties Council, the Laughlin Air Force Base Family Advocacy Center, Border Federal Credit Union and Casa De La Cultura.

“It’s a common misconception that physical violence is the only symptom of an abusive environment,” says Delia Ramos, interim director for the BCFS center in Del Rio. “But there are many ways individuals can be victimized, like suffering emotional manipulation and intimidation. No one has a right to abuse someone else. It’s important to recognize these heinous acts for what they are – abuse – and encourage victims to seek help.”

DRDV also promotes violence-free relationships and community awareness through public information, education and advocacy. DRDV’s community outreach involves classroom instruction on healthy relationships, collaboration with law enforcement, and self-defense workshops for teens and young women.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Such abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological. It can include action or threats of action to influence another person, such as sexual assault, stalking or any behavior that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, humiliates, blames or injures someone else. Examples include withholding money from a partner, threatening to hurt pets or children, threatening to kill oneself in the event of a breakup or divorce, or constantly belittling or criticizing an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is not limited by gender, class, race, religion, economic status, age or sexual orientation. Whether a couple is married, living together, divorced or dating, any pattern of behavior used to maintain power and control over a partner is considered domestic abuse.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233) or call BCFS Health and Human Services at 830-768-2755. All help is free and confidential.

For more information about BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Del Rio Judges Celebrate 10-Year Partnership

Del Rio Judges Celebrate 10 Years of Serving Youth and Families through BCFS Health and Human Services Partnership

BCFS hosts appreciation breakfast honoring five local Judges

DEL RIO – In ten years of partnership with BCFS Health and Human Services, Del Rio judges have referred thousands of youth and families to the organization for crisis intervention, counseling and domestic violence services. To celebrate this partnerhip, BCFS hosted an appreciation breakfast June 18 for Justices of the Peace Hilda C. Lopez, Pat Cole, Jim Bob Barrera and Antonio Faz III, as well as County Judge Efrain Valdez.

Every month, the judges collectively order about 30 teens, young adults and families to participate in BCFS programs, mostly for misdemeanors or truancy. According to BCFS director Raquel Frausto Rodriguez, the judges review their dockets ahead of time and invite BCFS case managers into the courtroom to give on-the-spot referrals.

In many cases, the judges will defer fines or court costs, or clear the offense from the record if the youth or family joins a BCFS program and receives a certificate of completion. Rodriguez calls this longtime partnership an honor and a privilege.

“We work closely to identify the issues that are the root cause of each teen’s misbehavior or poor choices,” says Rodriguez. “If a student faces truancy charges and a judge sends them to us, BCFS works with the youth and family as a whole to find the real problem. Maybe they don’t have a car, or are being bullied at school, or they suffer abuse in the home. Perhaps their parents need them to go to work instead to pay the bills.”

BCFS operates the Services To At Risk Youth program, known as STAR, which aims to reduce family conflict and prevent delinquent behaviors, running away, and child abuse by helping youth and their families learn to resolve crises and develop coping and parenting skills. It includes free counseling, support groups, trainings, basic needs support, and emergency respite placements.

BCFS’ domestic violence program provides safety, support and resources to victims of abuse, as well as promotes violence-free relationships and abuse prevention.

“The youth of our community are our leaders of tomorrow,” said Precinct 2 Justice Faz. “Having the ability to intervene at a young age and the possibility of turning their lives around means that we as a community have succeeded.”

Even after the courtroom referral, the judges stay in close contact with BCFS.

“We keep the lines of communication open with our judges and work hand-in-hand to see how we can remove any barriers our families face,” says BCFS’ Rodriguez. “Sometimes all they need is transportation, childcare or basic assistance to come to counseling sessions or classes.”

Judge Valdez, who has served the community for 35 years, calls himself an “advocate” of BCFS programs.

“Seeing firsthand the dedication of the BCFS staff and the outstanding results that our youth and families experience has inspired me greatly,” Precinct 3 Justice Cole shared at the breakfast.

Justice Barrera (Precinct 1) recalled a memorable case he referred to BCFS.

“Back in April, a teenage girl from Mexico was attending school here in Del Rio. It was hard for her to socialize in the new environment,” said Barrera. “When she finished the BCFS class, she improved her grades to As and Bs. For me and my staff, it was something wonderful for us to have shared with her.”

Justice Lopez (Precinct 4) expressed her thanks to BCFS at the breakfast for “not giving up on people who do not realize they are in need of help.”

She added, “What inspires me to connect people to BCFS is the staff who show their concern and want to help people. BCFS’ services are inspiring because we can advise people of what is out there for them.”

The appreciation breakfast was held at Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in Del Rio Thursday, June 18. The staff members of all five judges, who play a key role in assisting youth and families alongside BCFS, were also in attendance.

To learn more about BCFS Health and Human Services, or to support BCFS’ local programs, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

 

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

BCFS Health and Human Services to Hold Candlelight Vigil to Honor Those Affected by Violence 

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, more than 100 women are killed each year as a result of domestic violence. Abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, spouse or other intimate partner has touched the lives of more than 1-in-3 women in the state. Recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month not only remembers victims – and survivors – but also increases understanding of how to prevent and protect against domestic violence.
“It is commonplace to hear things like, ‘it’s not domestic violence because I’ve never been hit’ or ‘it’s not really domestic violence because he only does it when he’s mad,’” said Raquel Frausto, senior program director for BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS), Del Rio’s service provider for individuals affected by domestic violence.
“Rather than report abusive actions, people may shy away from the term ‘domestic violence,’ finding it too harsh of a description of what is occurring,” Frausto continued. “Whatever the reason for the confusion, everyone needs to understand the basics of domestic violence and how to respond when it occurs.”
BCFS HHS operates Del Rio’s domestic violence program, offering direct services to individuals in Val Verde and surrounding counties that include access to emergency care, safety planning, and coordination of legal assistance in civil and criminal cases.
On Thursday, October 17, BCFS HHS will hold a candlelight vigil in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The event, called Breaking the Silence: Speak Up and Be Heard, will be held at the Casa de la Cultura from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship used to gain or maintain “power and control” over an intimate partner. Such abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological. It can include action or threats of action to influence another person, such as sexual assault, stalking or any behavior that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, humiliates, blames or injures someone else. Examples include withholding money from a partner, threatening to kill pets or children, threatening to kill oneself in the event of a breakup or divorce, or constantly belittling or criticizing an intimate partner.
Domestic violence is not limited to gender, class, race, religion, economic status, age or sexual orientation. Whether a couple is married, living together, divorced or dating, any pattern of behavior used to maintain power and control over a partner is considered to be domestic violence.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233) or call BCFS HHS at 830-768-2755. All help is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.