Victim of violent crime in Houston area? This is help you need to know about

See resources available to anyone who has been impacted by crime and their families

Police tape at a crime scene. (WDIV)

HOUSTON – The ripple effects of a violent crime on the community are countless, and as the area grapples with a rise in violent crime, KPRC 2 is looking at resources to help those who are directly or indirectly impacted by tragedy.

If you are living in Houston and are facing that reality, know that there are resources that can connect you with help through your experience in the days, weeks, months, and years after a traumatic event.

Here are some of the area services available to help anyone who is a victim of a violent crime and their families. (Editor’s note: Much of this information is available from the Houston Police Department on its website. KPRC 2 has edited for brevity and clarity.):

Houston Police Department Victim Services Division

The Victim Services Division says on its website that it “is dedicated to positively affecting the quality of life for the citizens of Houston and exists to provide assistance to crime victims and their families. We will assist the victim with applying for Crime Victims’ Compensation and their chosen service providers to help them obtain benefits and services. The Victim Services Division works closely with various social services and legal agencies within the City of Houston and Harris County.”

KPRC 2 found a helpful pamphlet for victims and their families among the website’s resources.

The pamphlet is also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, and French.


Victim Services Locations:

HPD Headquarters Edward A. Thomas Building – 1200 Travis St.- 713-308-0080

North Patrol Division - 9455 W. Montgomery Rd. – 832-394-3800

Northeast Patrol Division – 8301 Ley Rd. – 832-394-1500

Southeast Patrol Division- 8300 Mydawa – 832-394-1600

Southwest Patrol Division – 13097 Nitida St. – 832-394-0400

Westside Patrol Division – 3203 S. Dairy Ashford – 832-394-5600

See the Houston Police list of Helpful Resources.

Hotlines (24 Hours)

  • Emergency 911
  • Adult & Child Protective Services 800-252-5400
  • Bay Area Turning Point (South) 281-286-2525
  • Brazoria County Women’s Center 800-243-5788
  • Crisis Hotline 832-416-1177
  • Crisis Hotline (Teens) 832-416-1199
  • Familytime/The Door 281-446-2615
  • Houston Area Women’s Center 713-528-2121
  • HAWC Rape Crisis Line 713-528-7273
  • Human Trafficking Resource Center 888-373-7888
  • Katy Christian Ministries 281-693-7273
  • Montgomery County Women’s Center 936-441-4044
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving 877-623-3435
  • National Domestic Violence 800-799-7233
  • TTY 800-787-3224
  • Star of Hope Mission (Family) 713-222-2220
  • Star of Hope Mission (Men) 713-227-8900
  • The Bridge 713-472-0753
  • TX Forensic Nurse Examiners Center 281-306-6893

General

  • Non-Emergency 713-884-3131
  • Children’s Assessment Center 713-986-3300
  • Casa Juan Diego (Immigrants) 713-869-7376
  • Covenant House (18-20) 713-523-2231
  • DAYA 713-981-7645
  • Family Services of Houston 713-861-4849
  • Harris Center for Mental Health & IDD 713-970-7000
  • Mental Health Association 713-522-5161
  • Montrose Center (LGBT) (Main) 713-529-3211
  • NW Assistance Ministries 281-885-4672
  • TDCJ-Parole Division 713-685-7100
  • The Empowered Survivor 346-304-8750

Legal Resources

  • Attorney General Child Support 800-252-8014
  • Victim Compensation 800-983-9933
  • Harris County District Atty. FCLD 713-274-0212
  • Victim Witness Division 713-274-0250
  • Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse 713-224-9911
  • Houston Volunteer Lawyers 713-228-0732
  • HPD Victim Services Unit 713-308-0080

Houston Police Department notice to adult victims of family violence

It is a crime for any person to intentionally cause you any harm, even if that person is a member of your household. It is important that you tell the officer if you or any other household resident has been injured, or if you feel you are going to be in danger after the officer leaves.

What should you do next?

Request an Emergency Protective Order (EPO): This order can be requested through the District Attorney’s Family Criminal Law Division at 713-274-0212. If an arrest is not made, call the investigator assigned to the case. This order is valid for up to 90 days.

Register through VINE by calling 1-877-894-8463 or www.vinelink.com. Registration is free, anonymous, and is a computer-based telephone program that provides victims of crime information about offender custody status and related court events. (See VINE section of pamphlet above for more details).

Apply for a Protective Order if necessary. A Protective Order must be issued directly to the offender. It orders him/her to stop committing violence against you, to stay away from you and your family, to stop any communication, direct or through others, that is threatening or harassing. This order can be valid for up to 2 years. Refer to Legal Resources section *

Call the Houston Police Department Family Violence Unit at 713-308-1100 for Investigative Services.

Call the Houston Police Department Victim Services Unit at 713-308-0080 for legal referrals, crisis counseling, U Visa information and questions regarding Crime Victim’s Compensation.

Make a safety plan

Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE)

Call VINE 24 hours a day for information on county jail status and court events. Make Texas VINE part of your safety plan. The suspect/offender will not know you have registered with Texas VINE. However, do not depend on Texas VINE, or any single program, for your protection. Please call toll free 1-877-894-8463.

For more information visit www.vinelink.com

What is a protective order?

A protective order is a legal remedy for the use and protection of victims of family violence, sexual assault and stalking. Family violence means the intentional use or threat of physical force by a member of the family or household. Family includes individuals related by blood or marriage, i.e. spouses ex-spouses, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, parents, children, etc. Household means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, whether or not they are related to each other.

A protective order can deter violence and provide the police and courts additional authority to intervene in family violence, sexual assault and stalking cases, and to punish those who commit family violence, but it is not a shield that truly stops the next violent act from occurring.

Safety planning

  • Prepare for future incidents
  • Plan an escape route out of your home & teach it to your children
  • Have a code word for children & family/friends to call police
  • Tell children not to get in the middle of violence
  • Talk with professionals about technology safety
  • (computers, cell phones, etc.)
  • Keep phone with you at all times and know your location
  • Find a safe place to stay (family/friend’s house)

If you are sexually assaulted

  • ASAP - Go to a hospital and have a Sexual Assault Kit Examination performed.
  • Seeking medical attention will help determine if you have any injuries, help collect evidence, test for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
  • As time passes, evidence can be destroyed. Try not to change clothing, shower or bathe.
  • Counseling can help you process feelings about assault and determine your options.

Inside the criminal justice process

This process can take from six months to a year or more. You may call the law enforcement agency’s telephone number for the status of the case and information about victim’s rights.

See this graphic for more information about the process.

Overview of Crime Victims’ Compensation Program

The Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program helps crime victims and their immediate families with the financial costs of crime. CVC covers crime-related costs such as counseling, medical treatment, funerals, and loss of income not paid by other sources.

I am a victim of violent crime. What programs might I be eligible for?

As a crime victim, you may be eligible for certain payments and reimbursements of crime-related costs. The Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program can help you cover costs related to the crime — including medical, child care, lost wages, relocation, etc.

To cover only the medical costs related to a sexual assault exam completed at a hospital, a victim may apply for Emergency Medical Care Compensation - Sexual Assault Exam.

A victim of violent crime is requesting my services. What should I know about Crime Victims’ Compensation?

For CVC purposes, organizations or individuals providing billed services to victims or claimants are considered victim service providers. These include a medical, mental health or dental provider, funeral home director, child care provider, landlord, crime scene clean-up provider, or an attorney.

Before CVC can pay or reimburse a victim service provider, proper documentation must be submitted to CVC for review. CVC can coordinate with service providers on this process. Learn more about how CVC works with victim service providers.

Training is also provided to victim advocates, criminal justice professionals, and victim service providers on victim-related programs administered by the OAG. Learn more and register for an upcoming training.

I conduct sexual assault exams. What should I know about the Crime Victim Services Division?

CVC reimburses health care facilities, sexual assault nurse examiners, and sexual assault examiners (medical providers) for the forensic costs of sexual assault exams conducted after 8/31/2019. The forensic costs of sexual assault exams conducted before 9/1/19 are reimbursed to law enforcement agencies.

CVSD also administers the Sexual Assault Prevention and Crisis Services (SAPCS) Program which publishes the Texas Evidence Collection Protocol and establishes minimum standards for the Sexual Assault Training Program Certification and the OAG Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Certification.

I have been a victim of identity theft. Can the Crime Victim Services Division (CVSD) help me?

The CVC program helps victims of violent crime. The Consumer Protection Division provides steps to help protect your identity and what to do if it’s stolen.

Crime Victims’ Compensation

Sexual Assault Exams

Services For Crime Victims

U Visa Information

You may be eligible for legal status and a work permit with a U Visa. Your Immigration Status is of no concern to police who are here to help.

• Contact HPD Victim Services as soon as possible

• You must cooperate with police and update your personal contact information

• Crimes that qualify for a U Visa include: family violence, sexual assault, murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, prostitution, human trafficking and other serious violent crimes.

HPD Victim Services is here to help with:

  • The Criminal Justice System
  • U Visa Law Enforcement Certification
  • Crime Victims’ Compensation
  • Property return
  • Protective Order Information
  • Referrals to Shelters, Social Services and Legal Resources

Other community advocates are available to help victims of crimes, such as the Crime Stoppers Victim Services and Advocacy Program. The mission of Crime Stoppers of Houston’s Victim Services and Advocacy Program is to promote safety, healing, justice and rights for crime victims and survivors. Get more information here.


About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.