Media Room

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OUR STORY

The mission of Texas Advocacy Project (“TAP”) is to end dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Texas. Texas Advocacy Project empowers survivors through free legal services and access to the justice system, and advances prevention through public outreach and education.

Established as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) in 1982 by a group of young lawyers, TAP started as a legal hotline.  In the decades since, TAP has evolved into an expert on legal issues affecting survivors. Today, our comprehensive approach includes both solutions and prevention and provides a range of legal and advocacy services proven to break the cycle of violence and get victims to safety.

We provide effective legal solutions like protective orders, termination of abusers’ parental rights, child-custody modifications, as well as assistance with civil issues that affect abuse cases such as housing, employment, education and financial empowerment. 

TAP extends its impact through a network of trainings to the public and those that work with survivors including: domestic violence and sexual assault shelters, judges, prosecutors, crime victim services personnel, legal advocates, medical professionals, universities and students.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES

For all media inquiries please contact:
Jeremy Rathke, Vice President of Development and Communications
jrathke@texasadvocacyproject.org  |  512.225.9594 (office)  |  512.415.7852 (mobile)

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The mission of Texas Advocacy Project is to end dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Texas. Texas Advocacy Project empowers survivors through FREE legal services and access to the justice system, and advances prevention through public outreach and education.

Our vision that all Texans live free from abuse.

Yes. TAP is a 501(c)(3) certified organization.

TAP provides FREE civil legal services to survivors of intimate partner violence. Our comprehensive approach includes both solutions and prevention and provides a range of legal and advocacy services proven to break the cycle of violence and get victims to safety.

Survivors’ needs are vetted in order to provide appropriate services, including:

  • Safety Planning – All survivors receive initial safety planning
  • Legal Advice and Counsel
  • Assisted Pro-se (APS)  - Individualized legal assistance in self-representation
  • Direct Representation - For the most lethal and complex circumstances

We provide effective legal solutions such as:

  • Protective Orders
  • Termination of abusers’ parental rights
  • Child-custody modifications
  • Assistance with civil issues that affect abuse cases such as housing, employment, education and financial empowerment.

As an expert on legal issues affecting survivors, we provide free trainings to the public and those that work with survivors including: domestic violence and sexual assault shelters, judges, prosecutors, crime victim services personnel, legal advocates, medical professionals, universities and students.

In order to deliver effective legal remedies, we work in collaboration with a vast network that includes 96 domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers across Texas.  As a legal expert on issues impact survivors, we provide trainings to shelters, healthcare providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts across Texas. TAP is a member of several crime victim services task forces including:

  • Austin Travis County Family Violence Task Force
  • Austin Travis County Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team
  • Harris County Coordinated Domestic Violence Counsel
  • Harris County Human Trafficking Coalition
  • Travis County’s Family Violence Prevention (FVPT) Supervisors
  • Travis County Sherriff’s Office
  • Allies Against Slavery and Trafficking (AST)
  • Coerced Debt Coalition
  • Covid-19 Legal Services Collaboration
  • Kids Living Well
  • Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault Network (LASSA)
  • Poverty Law Section of the State Bar
  • Project Safe Expert Panel
  • State Bar of Texas Family Law Task Force
  • Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA)
  • Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV)
  • Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force

Texas Advocacy Project serves ALL survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the state of Texas without regard to socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, immigration status, veteran status or any other distinction.

  • County - In 2020, we served families in 163 Texas counties- those that represent the majority of the state’s population.
  • Age - In 2020, the youngest client we helped was 12 and the oldest was 88.  Although we serve all victims regardless of age or gender, the majority are women, aged 16-50, and their children, who live in constant fear of death or further violence.  
  • Language - To maximize our ability to help all victims, we have bilingual attorneys and legal assistants. In 2020, we helped 440 Spanish-speaking clients in their native language, including providing all of their case documents in Spanish. Additionally, we provided services in 11 languages other than English or Spanish.  With the permission of the client when another language is their primary, we arrange for a translator. Victims with hearing or speech disabilities can contact us through email or TTY (Text Telephone/Telecommunication Device for the Deaf) and we have utilized secure video conferencing with survivors since 2007. These accommodations are especially important to vulnerable populations.
  • Economically disadvantaged - An overwhelming number of our clients are the poorest of the poor, roughly, 55% report no income at all and 81% were living at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level. These numbers are evidence that we are achieving our goal of serving clients who are traditionally underserved and face difficult barriers to accessing legal services and the justice system.

Legal Line Calls: In 2020, we received 7,671 calls and online requests for our legal services.

Cases: In 2020, we closed 4,767 individual cases affecting 10,106 victims of violence.

Trainings: In 2020, we provided 117 trainings to over 4,243 attendees.

Heather Bellino, Chief Executive Officer, oversees the agency's operations, funding and service delivery. Bellino has been with TAP for over 15 years.

Denise Margo Moy, Chief Operating Officer, our highest-ranking attorney, fulfills the role of grant compliance and oversight on all cases. Moy graduated from UT School of Law and has been with TAP for over 20 years.

Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer, oversees our legal department. Blake graduated from UT School of Law, will serve as Adjunct Professor at UT Law beginning 2021 and has been with TAP for over 15 years.

Amanda Elkanick Oder, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy, directs all trainings and outreach programs to the public. Oder has 15 years of experience working with survivors, including as a Shelter Director and has been with TAP for over 6 years.

Jeremy Rathke, Vice President of Development & Communications, directs all fundraising, communication and public relations. Rathke graduated from UT Austin and has been with TAP for over four years.

2021

  • Allison Neal, Managing Attorney - Texas Access to Justice Commission’s prestigious James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award
  • Denise Margo Moy, Chief Operating Officer - Noble Award from the Poverty Law Section of the State Bar of Texas

2020

  • Keri Ward, Managing Attorney - Texas Access to Justice Commission’s prestigious James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award
  • Denise Margo Moy, Chief Operating Officer- Texas Academy of Family Physicians Unsung Hero Award

2016

  • Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer - Texas Access to Justice Commission’s James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award

2010

  • Denise Margo Moy, Chief Operating Officer- National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Outstanding Service Award

2006

  • Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer - Greenlights for Nonprofit Success Nonny Award
  • Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer - Teen Justice Initiative Poster Contest “Best Way to Get the Message Across Without Saying a Word”
  • Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer - One of GENaustin’s Volunteers of the Year

2005

  • Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer – 1st ever UT Faculty Fellowship in Public Interest Law from the William
  • Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer – UT Co-op Public Interest Award
  • Bronwyn Blake, Chief Legal Officer - One of GENaustin’s Volunteers of the Year
  • Texas Law Fellowship

2001

  • Denise Margo Moy, Chief Operating Officer – 1st ever University Co-Op Public Interest Award (aka William Wayne Justice Center Award)