|From the staff of the "Victim's Assistance
We wanted to share with you how it all began,
and to thank Marinelle for all of her hard work
and dedication to the programs!
|Marinelle Timmons, Executive Director of the
Victim Assistance Centre, began her mission to
bring about a change in the Criminal Justice
System after her 18 year old son Curtis was killed
by a drunk driver in 1981.
She committed to make a difference by founding
the first Texas chapter of "Mother's Against Drunk
Driving" (MADD), in 1981. She accepted an
appointment by the Governor to serve for two
years on the "Governor's Task Force on Traffic
When the Texas Legislature met In 1983, Texas
citizens saw the most sweeping change of
drunk-driving laws in the history of the State.
Drunk driving was no longer socially acceptable.
Intoxication" was legally defined and strict
penalties for driving under the influence were
Mrs. Timmons continued her campaign against
drunk driving by being actively involved in the first
countrywide "Project Graduation"
and "Safe Ride Home" programs. By the fifth
anniversary of her son's death, Mrs. Timmons had
addressed more than 10,000 people on the hazards
of driving while drinking. MADD was receiving
calls from victims of other types of crimes asking
for assistance to meet their emotional, physical,
informational and financial needs.
Consequently, she founded a second non-profit
agency, the "Victims Assistance Centre" (VAC)
1986, to address the needs of innocent victims of
all violent crimes. She was intent to find
innovative ways to respond to unmet community
needs without duplicating services and programs
An example of such an innovative approach is the
bail bond stipulation that prohibits contact between
a defendant and any witness or victim in their case.
This stipulation was presented to Criminal Court
Judges by VAC and was approved in 1993.
Mrs. Timmons also observed that standard
visitation was granted by Family Courts, even in
cases where such visitation could place a child or
custodial parent at risk. To provide a safe and
stress-free environment for visitation in these
high-risk families, she developed SAFE Family
Programs, projects of VAC.
With the support of Family Courts, the SAFE
Supervised Visitation Program has grown from 1
visit site in 1991 to 7 sites in 2005. Through 2010,
SAFE has provided over 264,293 hours of
supervision for over 57,606 children/parent visits
under the supervision of trained staff and law
enforcement. The SAFE Program has been visited
by victim advocates from across the country for
guidance in establishing a similar program in their
community. The SAFE Programs also include a
Exchange Program for families with standard
visitation (to prevent contact between parents),
and privately supervised visitation.
As of this writing, Mrs. Timmons has logged over
3,000 volunteer hours with other programs while
serving as the Executive Director of the VAC. She
continues to develop new and innovative services
and programs, i.e., collaborating with Victim Relief
Ministries and Harris County Citizen's Corp. to
establish an emergency response and support
team for criminal and/or terrorist incidents, and
initiating an awareness and
education campaign to promote the need to
provide supervised exchange of children in all
cases in which there is a Protective Order.
You don't have to know Mrs. Timmons long to
learn she has been married to her high school
sweetheart, Boyd, for over 49 years and that she
has four sons , and eight grandchildren. We have
only touched on the many accomplishments of a
lady who has spent the last
30 years devoting her time and energy to
providing information, assistance and guidance to
innocent victims of violent crimes.
We believe Mrs. Timmons turned a terrible tragedy
into a crusade for others and is continually
dedicated to her mission.