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" The mission of Gateway Family Services is to reduce the effects of physical, psychological and emotional abuse among victims of Violent Crimes, including Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, through crisis services and working to prevent violence through public education."


Family violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or a family member. Family violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, education, religion, disability status, or sexual orientation. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or in a dating relationship. It can happen to any family member residing together.

Abuse can take many forms and often begins by the abuser exerting control over certain parts of their partner’s life; the abuse then progresses in frequency and intensity. If you are unsure if you or someone you know is in a violent or controlling relationship, read the red flags or call the hotline.

Forms of abuse include
- Physical (Any forceful or violent behavior such as hitting, pushing and sexual abuse)
- Emotional (Any abuse that attacks someone’s self-esteem and definitions of who they are)
- Verbal (Any verbal abuse such as screaming, yelling or calling victim profane names)
- Economic (The use of finances where financial equality is not the goal, rather it is the financial control of one person over another)
- Psychological (Any abuse with the threat of violence. Psychological abuse involves fear, hurt, and degradation)

Many survivors and families realize after physical abuse begins that emotional, economic or psychological abuse were present during the early stages of the relationship. Most people relate to family violence as the physical act of a male spouse or partner physically harming a wife or girlfriend. Actually, the power and control issues are prevalent in all types of relationships and can include female abuse of a partner. Teen Dating Violence, violence within gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships and violence against people with disabilities or who are Deaf are often overlooked. Within the last several years, these issues have been well studied and better understood; therefore, the term Family Violence is often referred to as “Intimate Partner Violence.” All intimate partner violence is illegal and traumatic.

Teen Dating Violence
Teen relationships can be intense, emotional and sometimes, volatile. Many times parents are unaware or underestimate how intense the relationships have become and may not see signs that the relationship has moved beyond a healthy dating relationship. Teens may confuse jealousy, excessive contact or other controlling behaviors with love. 

Violence Against People with Disabilities
Many individuals with disabilities rely on others for food, medication, finances, personal care, or equipment that is necessary for independence and survival. People with disabilities may experience subtle forms of abuse such as denial of these basic needs by a partner or personal care provider. This can have devastating emotional, medical or even lethal consequences. These factors can also limit a person with disabilities ability to report abuse or ask for help. Gateway Family Services is committed to ensuring that our services are accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities.
Sexual assault is any unwanted, forced, or coerced sexual contact. It is any non-consensual sexual contact a person is forced to perform or receive.

Each state has and uses different definitions for “rape,” “sexual assault,” “sexual abuse,” and other similar terms. In Texas, sexual assault and rape are legally the same thing, though in law you will hear it referred to as sexual assault. Sexual assault can include, but is not limited to, rape, sexual threats and intimidation, incest, sexual assault by intimate partners, child sexual abuse, human sexual trafficking, sexual harassment, street harassment and other forms of unwelcome, coerced or non-consensual activity.

Consent is a crucial element in judging whether or not a crime occurred. Consent can be taken away at any point, before or during any sexual act, and consenting to one sexual act does not cover as consent for others.  ​

Are the participants old enough to consent?
Each state sets an “age of consent,” which is the minimum age someone must be to have sex. In Texas, the age of consent is 17 years of age. People below this age are considered children and cannot legally agree to have sex. In other words, even if the child or teenager says yes, the law says no. Generally, “I thought they were 18” is not considered a legal excuse — it’s up to you to make sure your partner is old enough to legally take part. ​

In Texas, one cannot consent to sex if they are:
- Under the age of 17
- Under use or threat of physical violence or death
- Unconscious, unaware, or mentally incapacitated
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you have experienced sexual assault, you may feel angry, ashamed, hopeless, numb or a combination of these emotions. These are normal responses. It is not your fault.

No appointment necessary for immediate face-to-face crisis intervention and advocacy services. Call the 24-hours crisis hotline at 800-578-8054 for more information. Accompaniment is available for a sexual assault medical forensic exam or to law enforcement 24/hours day, 7 days/week.

If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, or even if you are not sure, contact Gateway’s hotline at 800-578-8054, for free, confidential help, day or night.