What financial relief is available for survivors fleeing domestic violence?
Victims of intimate partner violence often have to sacrifice their livelihood to escape to a safer environment. For many, this means leaving everything they are familiar with like their homes, neighborhoods and even cities. To escape the abuse, survivors often have to restart their lives from nothing by securing new housing and replacing all of their belongings. Although this is a huge financial responsibility, some relief is available.
The Office of Attorney General’s Crime Victim’s Compensation (CVC) program was created in 1979 through the Texas Legislature in hopes of helping victims with expenses incurred because of a crime. Through this program, people who have reported abuse to the police may qualify to have some expenses reimbursed, including counseling expenses, medical expenses and loss of wages. Additionally, relocation reimbursement is available, providing significant financial relief for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. This reimbursement can be applied to movers cost, deposit costs, pet deposit costs and first month’s rent. Survivors of domestic violence can apply for this program through the Office of Attorney General’s Office. Although the application process is very detailed and requires some extensive paperwork (proof of expenses, record of the police report, etc.), Genesis advocates are available five days a week to assist clients with this process.
In addition to the CVC program, those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence can receive deposit utility waivers (created through the Public Utility Commission) to help as financial relief during their relocation process. Deposit waivers can be accessed on the Texas Council on Family Violence website and should be submitted directly to the electric carrier provider and gas company provider by a family violence center personnel, treating medical personnel, law enforcement personnel, a Texas District Attorney or County Attorney, Office of the Attorney General personnel, or a grantee of the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation. Genesis Women’s Shelter advocates are available to help with this process and are ready to assist you to submit deposit waivers.
Both the crime victim’s compensation program and the utility waiver program were created to help victims of domestic violence alleviate some of the financial burden of relocating. Nothing will amount to the sacrifice and bravery that survivors face when starting over, and at Genesis, we recognize that this process can seem overwhelming. We have advocates waiting to help you through every step; to schedule an appointment, call 214.389.7700.
You may also want to check out our related blog, “Breaking your lease: what a survivor of domestic violence should know.”
Written by Nataly Martinez, bilingual client advocate at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support