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Marta Peláez
Marta Peleaz, Photo by Robin Holland
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March 20, 2009

The social ramifications of the economic downturn are multifarious. THE CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY has cited "An explosion of demand at domestic-violence shelters, addiction-treatment and health care clinics and counseling centers for troubled young people." These are the very social services getting less and less money from private donations and the government due to tightening budgets across the board.

Bill Moyers talks with Marta Peláez, president and CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc., who reports on the human face of the economic downturn that is pushing more families over the edge:

Last year, at this same time, I had 68-70 on my daily census, women and children. Today, I just called this morning, we had 184 women — 114 of those people are children.


Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Marta Peláez came to the USA at the age of 16 to attend Mount St. Benedict Academy/Corbett College in Crookston, Minnesota. She graduated Suma Cum Laude from Bradley University, and went on to obtain a masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Marta and her family have resided in San Antonio for the past 12 years, remaining professionally involved with family issues. Moved by a lifelong commitment to help families in need, she joined the staff at Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. on September 1, 1999 as Director of the Substance Abuse Program for Adolescents. Later she took on the role of Chief Programs Officer and more recently, as its President/CEO.

Published March 20, 2009.

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References and Reading:
American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence
The Web site for the American Bar Association's Commission on Domestic Violence features many resources and organization links to help both lawyers and victims understand the issue and prevent domestic violence. The site also provides information on cyberstalking and privacy intrusions. Other features include research, statistics, and studies regarding domestic violence.

Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPV)
The Family Violence Prevention Fund is a non-profit organization working to prevent domestic violence from wrecking the lives of women and children. The FVPF Web site provides the latest news concerning domestic violence issues while spotlighting organizational and individual efforts to combat domestic abuse. Other features include a "Take Action" page promoting advocacy and volunteerism, and a list of steps concerned citizens can take in their communities to stop domestic violence.

Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc.
The Battered Women and Children's Shelter is a program of Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc., dedicated to breaking the cycle of family violence and strengthening families.

Have Justice Will Travel
Have Justice Will Travel provides legal services to rural victims of domestic violence. The Have Justice Will Travel Web site details the history and inspiration of Wynona Ward, the woman behind this legal advocacy organization. The "Services" page describes the various legal and support services provided by the organization to victims of domestic violence. The "Domestic Violence" page provides information needed to break the cycle of violence, and is divided into three categories: facts and statistics, signs of abuse, and victim's rights.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
The non-profit National Coalition Against Domestic Violence seeks to empower battered women and their children in an effort to eliminate domestic violence from society. The NCADV Web site features an overview of the problem of domestic abuse, resources for community organizing, and places victims can find help. Another feature, The Public Policy Office of NCADV, seeks to influence legislation by empowering women through communication, lobbying and activism. Other highlights include "Voices Against Violence," "Remember My Name," and resource links.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
An outgrowth of the Violence Against Women Act, passed by Congress in 1994, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides support and information to abused women. A multi-lingual staff ensures that each women can receive the help she needs. The Web site features other information, such as general domestic violence facts, teens and dating violence facts, stories of domestic violence victims and survivors, and means by which concerned citizens can help.

Office on Violence Against Women
The Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women provides a variety of information concerning domestic violence, including laws pertaining to domestic abuse, community prevention, and lists of state hotlines, coalitions, and advocacy groups. Other Web site options include information regarding trafficking in human persons and sexual assault.

Domestic Violence Coalitions of States and Territories
The Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice maintains this national directory of organizations dealing with domestic violence issues. The directory gives the name, address, phone number, and Web site address (if applicable) of each organization. was founded in February 2000 by a group of lawyers, teachers, advocates, and web designers interested in seeing the power of the Internet work for more disadvantaged people and specifically for survivors of domestic violence. The Web site contains information and resources on court procedures, state-by-state laws, safety tips and how to help others.

>Check out our map of services for military and reserve families.

>Find places to give and receive food aid in your neighborhood.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

Also This Week:

Bill Moyers sits down with socialist historian Mike Davis for his critique of the government's response to the economic crisis and how he thinks it compares to Roosevelt's New Deal. Mike Davis is a writer and historian, who currently teaches creative writing at University of California, Riverside.

Dissident voices from Tom Paine to Ralph Nader.

Bill Moyers talks with Marta Peláez, president and CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc., a domestic abuse shelter in San Antonio, TX, for perspective on the human face of the economic downturn and how it may be pushing more families over the edge.

Tips and resources for safeguarding your community against domestic violence.

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