OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Texas Advocacy Project
Established in 1982 with a vision that no child should ever see one parent harm the other, Texas Advocacy Project’s (the Project) services affect the lives of thousands of Texans each year. The Project offers a range of legal and advocacy services proven to break the cycle of violence. In 2014, they provided legal services in 4,066 cases, serving 9,718 Texans.
The Project plans to use the inaugural Impact Austin Catalyst Grant to upgrade its technology platform. The organization will purchase laptops and cloud-based software allowing their legal staff to remain efficient even when their duties take them away from the office. This grant will expand The Project’s capacity to handle and close more cases each year and improve the lives of the community it serves.
The Project was able to close more than 400 additional cases in 2016 than 2015, a seven percent increase, thanks to this improved efficiency.
Attorneys were no longer derailed by freezes in the online client database (CTS) and after the purchase of a new Sharp copier/printer/scanner, attorneys could print directly from CTS and scan complete documents instead of breaking them up into small batches. The purchase of new laptops with longer battery life and cloud-based services allowed attorneys to perform vital work while waiting between hearings at the courthouse.
The Project’s client “Lisa” provides a good example of how critical this improved technology is for its work. Lisa was a client at the Women’s Shelter of South Texas, a partner with which The Project works closely as staff are able to travel there to help their clients. Lisa’s case had both pro se and direct representation components which meant The Project was able to successfully represent her solely because its attorneys could work remotely while staying up-to-date with all of the other clients on their dockets.
Lisa was trying to shield herself and children from an abusive husband, who also sexually abused her daughter from a previous marriage. When Lisa learned of the assault, she called the police and then sought a divorce from her husband. The police referred her to the shelter who sent her to The Project.
Lisa was a candidate for the assisted pro se process because she worked closely with the shelter advocate. In working with both, The Project determined even though there was a criminal case against her soon-to-be ex-husband, her daughter might still be in danger. The Project stepped in and directly represented the child for a lifetime sexual assault protection order.
The order was granted and the husband was convicted and sentenced to prison. Meanwhile the divorce was also granted. The last person that Lisa fought to protect was her other child, her seven year old son shared with her now incarcerated ex-husband. In order to feel like her family was protected she wanted her ex-husband’s parental rights terminated, a goal The Project helped her achieve.
The Texas Advocacy Project is grateful to the members of Impact Austin for expanding their giving process to allow for strengthening a proven nonprofit organization. It applauds these efforts and hopes that Impact Austin will continue to make these types of investments in our nonprofit community.