Texas Advocacy Project, which provides legal advice to survivors
Some Central Texans rely on vital resources to help with domestic violence.
Austin, Texas –
For survivors of domestic violence in central Texas, there are many resources for everything you need.
One of the biggest hurdles for a survivor to escape from an abuser can be legal aid, and that Texas Advocacy Project (TAP) provides the tools that survivors need.
The organization helps survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, child abuse and human trafficking. TAP provides free legal advice for someone who needs long-term safety, including protection orders, divorce papers and custody agreements.
“You can’t price something like that. I owe my life to the Texas Advocacy Project,” said Tina Carloni, a survivor.
Carloni says her son’s father became violent one night and nearly strangled her.
“He almost killed me. He went to prison and his family helped them on bail. He also sued me for custody of my son,” Carloni said.
When the time came for the first hearing, Carloni was in an emergency shelter without legal counsel or a cell phone. Austin Police Department Victim Services contacted TAP on behalf of Carloni and were able to send someone to help.
“That saved me. And in a way it has boosted my ability to heal from what happened to me,” Carloni said.
With TAP by Carloni’s side throughout her legal battle, she received full custody and a lifetime protective order from her son’s father.
“The biggest struggle with the trauma I went through was that there was no one who believed me,” explained Carloni.
TAP’s attorneys not only believed Carloni, they gave her an award for her bravery.
“To have a hand from the community that’s saying, ‘We hear you, we believe you, we see you, and we want to support you and all your needs so you can get safety,’ so your kids can be safe and so They can be heard,” said Heather Bellino, CEO of TAP.
According to Bellino, TAP has statewide services that work with different resources to provide a security blanket to survivors regardless of their location in Texas.
“It is very important that we all work together. It’s very important that every entry point has a survivor get in first, that we all kind of sound the alarm and make sure we have the resources available and that we all work together to get people to the safety they deserve.” said Bellino.
Carloni is now sharing her story to help change the system to better protect survivors. After taking her fight to the state capitol, Carloni was able to help pass a law. This law now requires law enforcement officers to undergo training in recognizing signs of strangulation.
Now all law enforcement officials across the state of Texas are required to attend the training that Carloni says saved her life.
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/resources-for-domestic-violence-survivors/269-9aab45f8-2ced-447e-8813-4ae90d2647af Texas Advocacy Project, which provides legal advice to survivors