The Texas Domestic Violence Needs Assessment Project was designed to enhance the capacity of local communities to respond to the needs of families experiencing domestic violence. The project developed a comprehensive database that will enable individual counties to understand the factors that influence the need for domestic violence services in their communities.

Information collected for the database included domestic violence service statistics, criminal assault and murder statistics, as well as social, economic and demographic data available for each of Texas’ 254 counties. Additionally, information was collected from local service providers regarding the unmet needs and barriers to service delivery for each county. From this information, Center for Social Work Research (CSWR) and The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) produced a Texas Domestic Violence Databook containing both county specific and statewide information.

Results of the statewide needs assessment showed that the most mentioned critical unmet needs in the state of Texas for domestic violence victims are affordable child care, affordable permanent and transitional housing, affordable legal resources, and the availability of transportation. The most often cited barriers to service delivery included a lack of affordable and available housing, a lack of public transportation, a lack of affordable and available child care, a lack of employment and job training opportunities, and an inadequate criminal justice response to the problem.

Findings show that TDHS-funded shelters and non-residential programs served over 40,000 victims of domestic violence in 1996. These same programs provided over 10,000 community education and professional training opportunities reaching 332,835 people during the same time period. Additionally, Texans contribute 878,989 volunteer hours to these programs. With regards to violent crime, across the state there were 16,709 reported incidents of aggravated assaults, 366 marital sexual assaults and 129 homicides involving intimate partners in 1996.