Astros Foundation hosts Texas Council on Family Violence to discuss pandemic's effect on domestic violence, current efforts

Event at Minute Maid Park offers look at dramatic increase in domestic violence last year, local community leaders share insight on Harris County efforts to increase safety

October 2nd, 2021

HOUSTON, TX (Oct. 2, 2021) – Today, the Astros Foundation hosted the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) at Minute Maid Park to share insights from the 2020 Honoring Texas Victims Report – an annual report detailing all domestic violence-related homicides across Texas – and to discuss how local entities are working to support survivors and address intimate partner violence in Harris County.

According to TCFV’s report, last year saw more domestic violence related deaths in Texas than any single year in the past decade, and a 23% increase from 2019 homicides. In total, 228 individuals were killed by their intimate partners across 68 Texas counties last year, and Harris County saw the most fatalities with a loss of 37 people.

Other domestic violence trends from the report include:

  • Twice as many victims were killed with a firearm than all other means combined, accounting for 67% of the 228 homicides.
  • The youngest victim killed was 14 and the oldest was 90, underscoring domestic violence can affect anyone.
  • Several Harris County victims were murdered by assailants out on bail, highlighting the critical need for magistrates to consider and enforce conditions of bond for the offender, including firearm transfer protocols and protective orders to increase victims’ safety.
  • Nearly half of all victims killed had made attempts to seek help or end the relationship, underscoring that leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most dangerous times for survivors.

“Our hearts are heavy at TCFV to see the highest number of fatalities in the past decade and how the pandemic has contributed to an increase in domestic violence across Texas,” said Mikisha Hooper, coordinated community response manager with TCFV. “The Honoring the Texas Victims Report provides a wide lens perspective on intimate partner violence in Texas, allowing us to see where the problems lie so we can better address survivor safety and offender accountability. TCFV will continue leading the way towards a safer Texas – our efforts target every sector of leadership throughout Texas, from local courts to the Capitol building, to make sure victims’ voices are heard.”

This year marks the 3rd year The Astros Foundation has partnered with TCFV to raise awareness, educate the community and prevent family violence in Houston.

The Astros Foundation focuses on creating healthy environments and successful futures for Houston area youth, particularly through the Astros Youth Academy. The Foundation harnesses the passion of baseball fans to support domestic violence prevention efforts targeted toward youth so they can grow up knowing what healthy relationships should look like.

“Our commitment to utilize our voice and resources to bring awareness of domestic violence, a societal epidemic, is steadfast. Everyone should be able to be safe at home,” said The Astros Foundation Executive Director Twila Carter. “Awareness plus education equals prevention of domestic violence. The Astros Foundation proudly support advocates, law enforcement and community leaders in addressing this topic. Collectively, we will work tighter to end domestic violence.”

Today’s gathering at Minute Maid Park, which was one of the very first events during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, also featured the Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Patty Cantu and CEO of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse Maisha Colter, as well as representatives from local domestic violence service providers.

“This isn’t just a family matter anymore. This is a community matter now,” said Cantu. “This affects everybody. And for officers, some of our most dangerous scenes are when we respond to domestic violence calls.”

“Today, partnerships between non-domestic violence organizations and TCFV is unprecedented and continues to grow year-over-year because people are realizing how deadly and damaging this issue is in our state,” said Gloria Aguilera Terry, CEO of TCFV. “When we combine the megaphone of a major sports team like the Astros with an educational message about the impact of domestic violence, we bring awareness and change to a massive city like Houston. TCFV is incredibly thankful to all organizations who take up this cause alongside us, and we invite more to join us in our journey to put an end to these preventable and tragic homicides.”