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Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse) created the AVDA Victim Relief Fund to provide emergency financial assistance to AVDA clients impacted by the storm. Victims of domestic violence are particularly vulnerable in times of crisis. AVDA has already begun aiding survivors in dire need through the special fund.

Last week the David Weekley Family Foundation pledged its immediate gift of $25,000 to the AVDA Victim Relief Fund, with an additional commitment of $25,000 in matching contributions for donations received in the next 30 days specifically for Hurricane Harvey relief.

“Victims of domestic abuse are among the most vulnerable populations when natural disaster strikes,” stated AVDA CEO Sherri Kendall. “For those survivors in hiding from their abusers, they may find themselves suddenly exposed due to the loss of their home. Others may actually return to their abusive partners out of desperation. We are extremely grateful for the David Weekley Family Foundation’s outpouring of support of the AVDA Victim Relief Fund. All donors to the relief fund should know that 100% of their contribution goes to our clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”

Within the two weeks following the onset of the storm and subsequent flooding, AVDA’s legal department of 14 attorneys and paralegals reached out to AVDA’s hundreds of clients to assess and prioritize needs. The AVDA Victim Relief Fund is now providing direct funding for housing assistance, childcare, medical bills, transportation and lost wages to help alleviate homelessness, lack of transportation, and other economic challenges for one of Houston’s most susceptible populations.

Incidences of domestic abuse often skyrocket following a major crisis. According to the World Health Organization, during recovery, “the physical and social disruption caused by a natural disaster may increase the likelihood of family, sexual and other types of violence.” One cause for the uptick in domestic violence is that batterers often have more access to their families because they are not at work. For those DV victims who recently left their abusive partners, the statistics show that 75 percent of women who are murdered by their abuser are killed as they are in the process of leaving or just after they depart. This vulnerability is compounded in the wake of natural disasters, when something as simple as evacuating to a relief shelter becomes a heavy threat. [Source: The Atlantic]

To make an online, tax-deductible contribution to the AVDA Victim Relief Fund, visit https://avda- tx.org/donate/

About AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse)

AVDA’s mission is to end family violence by advocating for the safety and self-determination of victims, promoting accountability for abusers and fostering a community response to abuse. A United Way agency, AVDA is a private nonprofit organization founded in 1980 by the National Council of Jewish Women in Greater Houston. Since its founding, AVDA has provided advocacy, safety planning, and legal representation for more than 60,000 survivors.

AVDA continues to provide:

  •   Free legal representation to victims of domestic abuse for protective orders, divorces, child custody, and child support cases in Harris County.
  •   Psychoeducation counseling for abusers in Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend, Montgomery, and Brazoria counties through its Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP).
  •   Counseling for adults, children, and groups.
  •   Programming for youth across the Greater Houston area to provide prevention and

    intervention to break the cycle of violence in their lives.

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