By Perdita Henry
The Texas Council on Family Violence and associated researchers throughout the state are in the process of updating the Access to Safety, Justice, and Opportunity: A Blueprint for Domestic Violence Interventions in Texas, also known as the State Plan. The blueprint “serves as the core guidance document for determining and assessing underserved areas or populations as well as identifying and outlining any unmet needs for survivors of family violence.” It also serves as a funding map for both the Health and Human Service Commission Family Violence Program and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act fund and contains a detailed inventory of family violence programs across the state.
Rachel Voth Schrag, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington and lead researcher working on the State Plan, reached out to TAFP to talk about the challenges her team faces when it comes to identifying family violence survivors and the crucial role survivor interviews play in their research.
“The State Plan serves as a blueprint to the depth and availability of family violence services throughout the state of Texas,” Voth Schrag says. “The vision for the 2018 State Plan is to include a picture of true access for survivors throughout the state, including survivors who have never accessed services at a family violence program. To do this, we hope to interview survivors who have not accessed traditional domestic violence services; finding out what they need and what barriers to service they face. This information will assist TCFV in identifying their funding and policy targets as they seek to address domestic violence in Texas.”
Because this population is hard to identify, Voth Schrag is reaching out to family doctors who can connect potential participants with her team. “All physicians would need to do is post recruitment materials in their offices or share the study team’s contact information with those they think might be a good fit for the study,” Voth Schrag says.
The experiences and insights of family violence survivors will make it a little easier for those needing services to locate proper resources, find safe spaces, and begin the healing process. If you are willing to support the State Plan, please contact Rachel Voth Schrag, PhD, LCSW, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (314) 825-1787.