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Attorney General, Texas Council

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Encourage Texas fathers to lead through 'strength, character and courage'
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and University of Texas Longhorns Football Coach Mack Brown today praised fathers who provide a nurturing home for their children and urged dads to combat domestic abuse in their communities.

Attorney General Abbott and Coach Brown, who were joined by Texas Council on Family Violence Chief Executive Officer Sheryl Cates, stressed the vital role men play in preventing domestic violence.

Citing Texas Council on Family Violence research, they explained how Texas fathers can prevent domestic violence and aid its victims through the recovery process.

'We salute them and encourage fathers all across the state to take a tough stance against domestic violence.'

According to TCFV research, males can help domestic violence victims build the strength to seek help by fostering a warm, positive environment where victims feel safe.

Research also indicates that men, particularly sports figures, can dispel 'macho' attitudes and other myths about domestic abuse.

'In sports and in life the true test of greatness is measured by integrity on and off the field,' said Coach Mack Brown.

'In the same way, we hope all Texas dads who create nurturing homes for their kids will take that step of true courage by being role models outside the home and letting other men in their community know that family violence is unacceptable. Men just need to do what they know to be right.'

'Fathers are so influential in our lives and the lives of children and have such an important role to play in creating a world without domestic violence,' Ms. Cates said.

'Men can prevent children from suffering from the long-term harm of domestic violence by setting examples for the young people in their lives, speaking out against abuse wherever they see it, and teaching the value of healthy, respectful relationships.'

To bolster the public awareness campaign, TCFV launched a Web site, www.mensnonviolence.org, which will help spread today's empowerment message.

Attorney General Abbott and TCFV have worked together several times to raise awareness about domestic violence prevention.

In 2003, TCFV and Abbott launched 'Break the Silence: Make the Call,' a bilingual public awareness program aimed at victims' friends and family who were not sure how to prevent domestic violence. The program, which was funded by a $2 million grant from the Office of the Attorney General, also funded critical research about domestic violence trends in Texas.

Abbott joined TCFV for the 2004 launch of the program's second phase, which aimed to crack down on domestic violence by teaching Texans to recognize the signs of abuse. It also counseled about helping loved ones in abusive relationships and contacting local domestic violence programs and services.

Last August, Abbott and TCFV launched the final phase of the program, 'Know the Red Flags,' which helps young Texans form healthy relationships by learning to detect and deter date-related violence.

It also encourages would-be victims to get more information about abuse and to refer abuse victims to local domestic violence programs and services.

Victim advocacy organizations receive grant funding from the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund, which is managed by the Office of the Attorney General.

Following a formal application and review process, grants are awarded statewide for services such as grief counseling, shelters for abuse victims, and to advocates for victims of violent crime.

In addition to the crime victim assistance grants, last year the Attorney General's Crime Victim Services Division provided more than $85 million from the Fund directly to help victims pay for medical and out of pocket emergency expenses and other costs associated with the crimes committed against them.

More information about the Crime Victim Services Division is available by calling (800) 252-8011 or by visiting the Attorney General's Web site: www.oag.state.tx.us. For information about life-saving options and resources available to domestic abuse victims, contact the National Domestic Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or TTY (800) 787-3224.

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