Dallas Police and Dallas County Constable’s office are teaming up to help make area residents aware of a property law that they say could save lives.
A lesser known portion of the Texas property code section 24a.002 allows victims of domestic abuse, sex offenses and stalking to break a lease without penalty. The law also allows the victimized tenant to return to the apartment or rental house to retrieve medicine, clothes, money, personal identification documents, animals and other property left behind.
One county constable, Michael Orozco, told CBS Local that an Oak Cliff gas explosion believed to be a result of domestic violence is the type of incident that might be avoided if more people — be they renters, volunteers, church staff or others who work with women, refugees and other vulnerable populations — knew about the exemption.
“If they could have had this information maybe they could have broken the lease,” Michael Orozco told the news station. “Something like this that’s so tragic that affects many others … this is just something we are trying to stop from happening.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Launched by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1987, it’s a time to unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues, support domestic violence victims and survivors, hold abusers accountable, and create and update legislation to further those goals. More information at ncadv.org.
In Dallas, several groups offer emergency assistance:
North Dallas Shared Ministries — 972.620.8690
Parkland Homes — 214.590.0153
Catholic Charities — 214. 520.6590 (Lake Highlands area)
Violence Intervention and Prevention Center at Parkland Hospital — 214.590.2926 (after hours 214-590-8000)
The Family Place — 214.941.1991 (more ...)
If you or a friend are unsure if you are experiencing abuse, the Dallas Police define it from a law-enforcement perspective.
“Many people associate abuse with physical violence only,” according to DPD literature. “Abuse does not have to be just physical in character. It can be verbal or emotional as well and can be just as devastating as a physical assault.”
Visit the DPD page for more information.