Getting serious about domestic violence

Cameron County uses an office vehicle to spread the word that the DA’s office is serious about holding offenders accountable. Melissa Landin, the office’s public information officer, tells us all about it.

“District Attorney Luis Saenz feels very strongly about domestic violence awareness and in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. In 2013, he established a Domestic Violence Unit. In 2014, as part of our domestic violence awareness campaign, we had the vehicle wrapped in the design we created for our posters, billboards, and bumper stickers for a more cohesive outreach campaign. (The vehicle was purchased years ago with grant funds for office use. [Editor’s note: Indeed, the car came to TDCAA’s attention in the parking garage of the hotel where we hosted July’s Prosecutor Trial Skills Course in Austin. Photos of it are below, listed in the order they should be viewed.]) Last year for domestic violence awareness, we also had an art and poetry competition for high school students, a ‘survivors speak’ exhibit, and an event that recognized survivors of domestic violence. We have already started planning these events for October 2015.
    “Our community education specialist drives the vehicle to visit schools, law enforcement agencies, community events, etc., to distribute information on the services the DA’s Office provides for victims. We also strongly believe in preventative initiatives where we educate the public not only on domestic violence, but also on sexting, bullying, elderly abuse, and the like.
    “We’ve had a very positive response on our domestic violence campaign, and we’ve had tremendous media exposure. Most recently, we utilized the vehicle for a parade. We had many spectators reading the message on the vehicle and giving us the thumbs-up. It was very exciting to receive such positive reinforcement!”