ABC13 hosts 'Action 13: Fighting Domestic Violence' town hall

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, authorities have seen an escalation in household stress and volatile situations. Adding to their concern this fall are annual statistics which show an increase in domestic abuse and violent incidents over the holidays.

ABC13, Houston's news leader, hosted a one-hour town hall Thursday calling attention to the dramatic rise in domestic violence cases across southeast Texas.

Eyewitness News anchor Mayra Moreno gathered a panel of community advocates to answer your questions about this growing problem, and how together, we can save lives.

Panelists for the town hall included:

  • Amy Smith, Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council
  • Chau Nguyen, Houston Area Women's Center
  • Maisha Colter, AVDA
  • Sydney Zuiker, Crime Stoppers of Houston
  • Yesenia Garcia, sister of domestic violence victim
  • "Jennifer," survivor of domestic violence


Since March, the number of calls for help from domestic violence victims, as well as requests for protective orders and survivors seeking safe housing has been on the rise.

In January, there were only 24 protective orders filed by AVDA attorneys, according to the nonprofit, which provides free legal aid to domestic violence survivors. In March, that number doubled, and in May, just before the stay-at-home order was lifted in Harris County, there were at least 107 protective orders filed.

In September, 183 requests for protective orders were filed by AVDA attorneys.

The Houston Area Women's Center reports it saw a 65% rise in domestic violence calls to its hotline, from 2,795 calls in September 2019 to 4,604 calls in September 2020.

If you need help getting out of a domestic violence situation, call the Houston Area Women's Center 24/7 hotline at 713-528-2121 or call AVDA at 713-224-9911. You can also click here to chat with an advocate online. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and need help, call 713-528-3625.
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