Austin will receive $500,000 in federal funding to prevent domestic violence-related killings

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Austin was chosen to receive thousands of dollars in federal funding to reduce domestic violence.

CDC data shows that homicide is a leading cause of death for women 44 and younger, and they are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than anyone else.

“The goal is to make things transparent, where things slip through the cracks,” said Michelle Myles, head of the Office of Violence Prevention.

It is a goal that has now been set in motion.

“Austin and Travis County have been trying to implement a standardized surrender protocol for decades, but have been unable to do so,” Myles said.

Myles talks about gun surrender. Specifically, when firearms are in the hands of potential attackers.

“And so this protocol is designed to look at this place where gun violence and domestic violence meet because what the research [and] the data shows that when a firearm is present in domestic violence cases, the number of homicides increases fivefold,” Myles said.

RELATED: Austin-Travis County Receives Federal Funding to Prevent Domestic Violence Murders and Gun Injuries

Austin was chosen to receive a $500,000 federal grant to be spent on creating a “standard gun surrender protocol.” It has all parties involved on the same page.

“From judges to prosecutors, from police to people involved in the domestic violence situation,” Myles said.

Coni Huntsman Stogner helps lead the Safe Alliance.

“Our name is also our mission,” Stogner said.

SAFE stands for “Stop Abuse For Everyone”. The organization will work closely with the OVP to implement the new protocol as they are on the front line.

“Gun violence and homicides in domestic violence are very closely linked,” she said.

Data from the Texas Council on Family Violence shows that in 2020, 228 Texans were killed by intimate partners. Of these victims, 183 were women.

Twice as many victims were killed by a firearm as by any other weapon. The key is prevention.

“People will say, well, why doesn’t she leave? She should leave, it’s so simple”, but what we do know is that when a survivor tries to leave, that’s the best time. more dangerous and when there are guns in the mix, it’s even more deadly,” Stogner said.

Myles said the funding will be used over three years.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can call the SAFE hotline 24/7: (512) 267-SAFE.

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