The Dallas Police Department, alongside other law enforcement agencies in Dallas County, announced on Thursday, Oct. 21, that they are making a joint effort to start informing victims of domestic violence of their legal rights.
The joint effort will see county law enforcement agencies educating victims of the legal resources available to them. Law enforcement agencies will now carry brochures that detail two provisions of the Texas Property Code that can help the victims of domestic violence escape from their abusers.
The provisions provide victims with the steps to break their residential leases and get their personal belongings while remaining safe.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie García said law enforcement agencies in Dallas County need to send a message to survivors of domestic violence that the agencies are working together to help them.
Garcia noted that family aggravated assaults are down year-to-date by about 2% but added that assaults are often unreported.
Under sections 92.016 and 92.0161, victims have the right to leave abusive situations without losing everything. The first provision gives victims an avenue to break their lease if they provide their landlord or management company evidence of a protective order or other documentation that shows an attempted or carried-out abuse or assault.
The second provision, codified under section 24A.002, provides victims of family violence a writ of retrieval that helps them recover their personal belongings left at a residence while accompanied by a peace officer.
Dallas County Constable for Precinct 5, Michael Orozco, said he suggested the joint effort to the Dallas Police Department after failing to get the state to implement the policy across Texas.
Orozco said the number of people in the legal community, law enforcement, and the general public unaware of the provisions is surprising. He added that the public has to be made aware of these rules.
Orozco added that providing victims with the flyers detailing the protections will help police clear calls for services faster and offset some of their workloads because of the availability of peace officers from the Constable’s Office.