Panel Discussion/Plática: "Crisis within a Crisis: Domestic Violence Crisis During the Coronavirus Pandemic"

Date: October 5, 2020

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

  • Palo Alto College, Faculty & Staff, Students

While San Antonio and Bexar County have recently experienced a domestic violence epidemic with 29 documented deaths by domestic partners in 2019, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated this crisis. Panelists will discuss the warning signs, available resources, and strategies to help end domestic violence.


  • Marta Peláez, President and CEO, Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc.
  • Patricia Castillo, Executive Director, PEACE Initiative
  • Judith Menchaca, Domestic Violence Survivor

Marta Prada Peláez is President/C.E.O. of Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc., a San Antonio-based non-profit established in 1977 and has dedicated more than two decades of professional service to vulnerable populations - mostly children. She has championed initiatives in the development of life-changing, culturally relevant interventions for both victims and perpetrators of abuse. Peláez is a frequent contributor to local and national media and has provided testimony before Senate committees on issues related to the allocation of funding for programs and the advancement of laws for the protection of victims. She currently serves as a Board member of the Texas Council on Family Violence (T.C.F.V.), T.C.F.V. Public Policy Committee, T.C.F.V. Allocations Committee, and is a T.C.F.V. Region 5 Area Director. She is also a member of the Community Advisory Team appointed by the San Antonio Chief of Police. Peláez created and now Co-Chairs the Bexar County Domestic Violence Taskforce. She has participated twice by invitation as a panelist for the Commission on the Status of Women of the United Nations in New York.

Patricia S. Castillo is co-founder and Executive Director of the P.E.A.C.E. (Putting an End to Abuse through Community Efforts) Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of family domestic violence. She has served as its Executive Director since 1990. Castillo is nationally and internationally recognized as an expert in the prevention of family domestic violence. Castillo’s national recognition includes an invitation to the White House’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration by Lynn Rosenthal, the first-ever White House Advisor on issues of violence against women under President Obama. She has also been invited as a consultant for women’s organizations and programs in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. Locally, Castillo has received recognition for her work by governmental agencies and numerous organizations and institutions. Castillo is a pioneer and innovator in advocacy for family domestic violence prevention in local government programs and was the first social worker ever assigned to the San Antonio Police Department in their Child Abuse Intervention Project and their Sex Crimes Unit, Homicide Bureau. Castillo currently serves on the Bexar County Domestic Violence Task Force.

Judith Menchaca-Lilly is a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She is a woman of faith and resilience and an entrepreneur who has retired from owning three restaurants. Mrs. Menchaca-Lilly currently works at the Palo Alto College in the Office of Student Life and is a domestic violence survivor of 17 years. She is a testimony of how a person, no matter what the circumstances, can overcome adversity.


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This event is free and open to the public, sponsored by Palo Alto College’s Center for Mexican American Studies, Student Life, and Student Activities Fee.