A new initiative has been discussed amongst different law enforcement agencies as well as other agencies involved in providing services to victims. The belief is that this strategy can have an impact on our community as well as serve as education.

My name is Melissa Vasquez. I am the Legal advocate at Casa de Misericordia. My duties are to assist victims of domestic violence in knowing their rights about obtaining an Order of Protection and what to do when the Order is violated. I also serve as a serve as liaison with law enforcement agencies and the victims, which helps the victims establish trust and communication with the different agencies as their case proceeds through the criminal justice system. 

In September 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a conference in Denver, Colorado. The conference’s aim was to help broaden agencies’ responses to Domestic Violence. There were many interesting initiatives and speakers but there was one that resonated well with me. It was an initiative that has been implemented in North Carolina. The initiative takes a proactive approach and focuses on deterrence.

The police department in High Point, North Carolina developed the initiative from Professor David M. Kennedy’s deterrence approach which has proven effective in controlling other crime-related offenses. According to North Carolina’s Chief Marty Sumner, “Kennedy suggests that not enough attention has been paid to controlling the offender, as traditional approaches have placed heavy emphasis on helping the victim avoid patterns of abuse, on disengaging from abusers, and on physically removing themselves from abusive settings.” In High Point, offenders are categorized amongst 4 categories. Offenders would be dealt with on a case by case manner and depending on what level they fall under.

The initiative involves a collaborative effort among different agencies in order to help address domestic violence but more importantly to shift into a more proactive approach where deterrence is the focus. According to Chief Sumner, “One of the strategy’s critical features is the ability to focus on offenders at earlier stages of offending, before the secrecy of offending entrenches and violence escalates.”

The initiative has been discussed amongst different law enforcement agencies as well as other agencies involved in providing services to victims. The belief is that this strategy can have an impact on our community as well as serve as education.


 

We are really excited about the upcoming events.
Easter and Mother’s day will be very fun and meaningful for our families.


Our December holidays were very enjoyable!

Like every year, we had a big Christmas party for the families (Dec. 16th).It was such a delight to see the mothers and children have a great time playing games, eating tamales and pozole, winning piñatas on a big raffle, being together and sharing the love and warmth of Christmas. A very special part of our party was the posada. Maria and Jose were played by a boy and a girl, they were really excited and did a great job interpreting their Christmas journey while the mothers, children and staff sang the traditional songs.

Another great party was the Valentine’s Day Party on the 17th of February.

The kids had various activities to participate in like bingo, painting, hand crafting, cookie decorating, make-your-own banana split, and at the end we ate a delicious pizza! The kids were very excited to make beautiful cards and yarn heart crafts for their mothers and siblings. At the end, everyone took home a pizza, a delicious chocolate treat and a big smile! A very special thank you to our volunteers. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and your support!

On February 11, staff of Casa de Misericordia was asked to speak at UISD’s “United Council of Parents” Meeting where parents and administrators talk about several different topics.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and Children’s Staff of Casa de Misericordia served as a speaker in order to raise awareness about Domestic Violence. We spoke about the effects abuse takes on children as well as adults. “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” was the title of the presentation where we touched on recent local and nationwide statistics, safety planning and possible ways to help a victim. Although, not an easy topic to talk about, parents were engaged in asking questions and wanting to know more about services Casa has to offer victims of Domestic Violence.

 After this very successful event, we have been asked to participate byvarious other organizations and schools to present to students regarding Dating Violence.

 If you would like a presentation, more information about us, or if you would like to volunteer with us, please call (956) 726-0151 or email our Education Center Administrator – Volunteer Coordinator, Dora Inclan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or our Administrative Services Coordinator, Zeina Ramos (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

Christelle Valle (Child Services Coordinator)
Maria Luisa Del Bosque (Child Advocate)


 

Casa De Misericordia Graduation Ceremony

Submitted by Cynthia Haynes Ramirez/Casa de Misericordia Board member

I recently attended the Graduation ceremony held at Casa de Misericordia(Casa) for participants involved at the Education Center.  It was a most enjoyable, emotional and fun event.  The ladies who graduated were so happy and excited to get their certificates of completion.  They exhibited their crafts and artwork and sang songs in English to show their family, friends and audience their English skills.  It was heartwarming to see their faces light up because they had achieved the goals  they had set for themselves and that were part of the curriculum.
 
The Education Center has been collaborating with Laredo Community College for eleven(11) years and  they are hoping to expand and/or change some of the classes according to recommendations of the Advisory Board of Casa. The Advisory of Casa is comprised of individuals who have been in the Shelter and/or have come to the Education center for Classes and other needed services.
 
I look forward to the December Graduation.
I congratulate the graduates, Laredo Community College Instructors, volunteer teachers and staff for their commitment for their commitment!
If you would be interested in being a volunteer teacher, mentor and or assisting in any way at the Education center please contact :
 
Dora Inclan
Education Center Administrator


Myths & Facts About Domestic Violence
We Can Help! Call 1-877-SU-CASA-2

Revised by Board Members in May, 2015

MYTH

Domestic Violence is a private family matter.

FACT

Though often hidden, Domestic Violence can escalate to a crime - putting victims in great danger.
 

Want more information about Domestic Violence please open the Casa de Misericordia Presentation in English or Spanish.

Please Download PDF File (English)
Favor de Descargar este Archivo en Formato PDF (Español) 

For Casa de Misericordia, domestic violence includes behavior between current and/or former partners that: Results in physical harm or bodily injury; Involves a threat of physical harm; or Is intended to inflict emotional harm, including an act of emotional abuse. Domestic Violence can be a pattern of behavior or an isolated event.



Educating Others

Our Ministry's community education committee works with schools, law enforcement and more to help educate people, especially young people, to stop domestic violence, and the underlying attitudes that cause it.
If you know of a group, a class, an organization that would benefit from a presentation, contact us at: (956) 726-0151


Orange is the New Black - Thursday Evening with a Wonderful Writer
 

Meeting Piper Kerman was an unexpected gift. Her book Orange is the New Black details her life in a women’s prison. As fascinating and insightful as the book is, the author in person is even better. Piper helped us think compassionately about women in prison, children born to women in prison, the number of women and men in prison who have not committed violent crimes. Her willingness to accept her own punishment, coupled with a passion for the plight of inmates, made for a great evening.
 
Most importantly, she made clear how much domestic violence is a very real piece of many women inmates story. She detailed numerous cases of women she has met, whose trajectory towards incarceration didn’t start with crime, but abuse and childhood wounds. Amazingly she also provided hope, and showed the humanity and often the bonds, and the humor that help women survive as inmates.
 
Casa de Misericordia’s track record of bringing in articulate, passionate writers who care about the plight of victims of domestic violence provides an opportunity to learn, to laugh, to give, and to commit once again to the mission make Laredo a place where domestic violence slowly, but surely shrinks and God willing someday disappears.
 
Paul Frey