Getting help in Austin, Texas


Criminal Cases

Jail information and Release Information 974-5090
Pretrial Services 974-5330 PROSECUTION
District Attorney (felony cases) 473-9400
County Attorney (misdemeanor cases) 473-9415



Civil Matters (Civil Lawsuits, family issues)

Restraining Order (must hire an attorney and ask for this filed with the court)
Peace Bond (can file on your own with the Justice of the Peace)

Domestic/Family issues
Domestic Relations Child Support 473-9696
Attorney General Child Support Enforcement Legal Aid 476-7244
Child Protective Services 1-800-252-5400

Legal Aid 476-7244
Lawyers Referral Service 472-8303
WomanŐs Legal Hotline 476-1866
MenŐs Hotline 472-3237


Legal Issues Regarding Child Abuse

Issues regarding child custody or visitation are addressed in civil courtrooms. Interested parties are advised to retain a civil attorney to represent their interests in this arena. Look in the telephone directory for civil attorneys.

The police and CPS do not become involved in custody battles between parents or other family members! If a child has been abused by a parent or someone who has lived in his/her household at some point, the parent can apply for a protective order on behalf of his/her child.

Protective orders direct the "respondent" to stay away from the named child(ren), including his/her home address and school as areas to avoid. Other forms of contact are prohibited as well, such as phone calls, letters, or messages from third parties. Violation of the protective order is cause for arrest.

Child Protective Services Statewide Hotline: (800) 252-5400

Austin Police Dept. Child Abuse Investigations (512) 834-3890

The Child Abuse Investigations Unit of the Austin Police Department investigates cases of sexual abuse perpetrated against children 16 years of age and younger and cases of physical abuse resulting in serious bodily injury to children 14 years of age and younger.

Criminal cases of child abuse center on gathering evidence to support the prosecution of child abuse perpetrators.

Child Protective Services also investigates allegations of child abuse with the goal of insuring safety and protection to children in Texas.

This investigation is civil rather than criminal. Although law enforcement investigations and CPS investigations have separate goals (prosecution vs. protection), these agencies are mandated by law to coordinate their investigations (when both agencies are involved) in order to better serve the victim and family members. In Austin, the APD Child Abuse Unit and the local CPS investigators are co-located which helps cooperation during simultaneous investigations.

The Texas Family Code states that "A person having cause to believe that a childŐs physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a reportÉ" Failure to report suspected abuse is a Class B misdemeanor.

To make a report of suspected child abuse, one should call the Child Protective Services statewide hotline: (800) 252-5400.

Reporters can choose to remain anonymous. Helpful information that a reporter should provide includes: full names and ages of family members, details about the kind of abuse (frequency, intensity), emotional reactions of child and family members, home/work addresses and phone numbers, school attended by the child, access of perpetrator to child, etc.

If a child is in immediate danger, i.e. is being hurt right now, call 911 to report the abuse!

Information received by the hotline that indicates criminal activity has occurred will be forwarded to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction. Likewise, if a law enforcement agency receives information about child abuse perpetrated by someone who has care, custody, or control over the child, then the information would be forwarded to the appropriate CPS office for investigation.

If the perpetrator does not have care, custody or control of the child, then law enforcement alone investigates the crime.

To gain more information about protective orders and/or to apply for a protective order, the parent should contact the County AttorneyŐs Office at 473-9417.


Stalking Is a Serious Crime

Texas Penal Code, Section 42.07 has been amended by adding Section 42.072 to define stalking as an offense committed by a person who, on more than one occassion, knowingly engages in conduct, including following another person, and who reasonably believes the victim will regard as threatening - bodily injury or death for them - bodily injury or death for a member of their family - injury or destruction to their property - causes the victim or a member of the victim's family or household to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or fear that an offense will be committed against their property.

An offense under his Section is a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail plus a $4,000 fine. If a perpetrator has previously been convicted under this Section the offense is a third degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in jail and a$10,000 fine.

What charges can be filed in traffic investigations?

Texas Penal Code -

Punishments -

Criminally Negligent Homicide -

Driving While Intoxicated -

Intoxication Assault -

Intoxication Manslaughter -

Enhanced Offenses and Penalties -

Failure to Stop and Render Aid - In the transportation Code (550.021 and 550.023)

Leaving the Scene of an Accident - In the transportation Code (550.022 and 550.023)

Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility - In the transportation Code (601.191)



Family Violence

Child Abuse

Traffic Accidents and Fatalities

Legal Support and Information