Texas Advocacy Project helping Harvey victims escaping abuse

Businesses and neighborhoods near Addicks Reservoir are flooded by rain from Tropical Storm Harvey Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Businesses and neighborhoods near Addicks Reservoir are flooded by rain from Tropical Storm Harvey Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Advocacy Project is actively working to make sure the stress from Hurricane Harvey doesn’t escalate other potentially dangerous situations along the coast.

There are current 203 open cases in Harvey impacted counties. So far, the project has only been able to get in touch with half of those people.

“Victims of domestic, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, that already have these issues and are trying to get the protections and safeties that they need,” said Texas Advocacy Executive Director Heather Bellino. “That population that was impacted by Hurricane Harvey are going to have additional barriers, more difficulties and more stresses to getting safe in the long term.”

Bellino said when people had to evacuate quickly, they were thrown back into dangerous situations, adding, “The stories that are not being told, are when families are told to get on buses, and be taken out of their immediate area and they were pushed back together even though they are in the process of separating. So those children, and those men and women that are trying to get out of abusive relationships are now being forced back together, in many instances.”

With several resources, courts and shelters closing because of the storm, the most important thing for victims right now, is to keep hope, know their cases are still being worked on, and stay in contact with their attorney.

Brenda Larcom, a domestic violence survivor spent two years getting free from her abuser, through the Texas Advocacy Project.

Larcom shared words of encouragement, as she said she knows how hard the fight is. “Some people may get that feeling of not wanting to push forward, or just wanting to settle for where they are at. Because it’s harder for them to think, ‘Well I had all this help that was coming, and now all of the sudden I am stuck.’ I think that is why they have to find the strength inside of them pushing forward, and to be patient and keep seeking the help.”

The Texas Advocacy Project is a statewide non-profit that offers services for domestic and dating abuse victims, sexual assault and stalking victims.

Right now they are in need of diapers, underwear, toothpaste, volunteers and legal aid. If you are interested in helping, click here.

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