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SAFE Alliance discusses family violence following deadly northwest Austin shooting

KVUE spoke to the Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE) Alliance to discuss some of what families that go through family violence face.

AUSTIN, Texas — The tragic scene in Northwest Austin Sunday – a shooting that left three victims dead – has raised questions about the history of violence accusations against the suspect, Stephen Broderick. 

Broderick was arrested Monday morning and taken to the Travis County Jail where he is facing capital murder charges.

KVUE obtained documents that show Broderick has a history of violence accusations. Court documents show that in June 2020, Broderick, a former detective with the Travis County Sheriff's Office, was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child. Additionally, he has been indicted on three counts of family violence assault and allegedly strangled a family member.

Following his release in June 2020, Broderick had to wear an ankle monitor, which was later taken off. Broderick's bail conditions also required him to surrender all firearms.

Amanda Broderick, one of the victims and Stephen Broderick's ex-wife, then applied for a protective order after his arrest, saying that she was worried for her and her children's safety. Alyssa Broderick, another of the victims and Stephen Broderick's daughter, also expressed concern. 

KVUE spoke to the Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE) Alliance to discuss some of what families that go through family violence face.

"If someone is in an abusive relationship, the most dangerous time is when that relationship is ending or about to end or has just ended," said Piper Nelson, SAFE's chief public strategy officer, adding, "We talk to a lot of people that are scared. They're scared because they, they don't know where the person using abuse is. They don't know what's going to happen to them."

She explained that there is a connection between domestic or family violence and guns. According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, 150 women were killed by male intimate partners in 2019. Sixth-three percent of those murders were committed using a firearm.

"What I can say is that survivors of domestic violence deserve a great deal of support, both individually and from systems. And what we know is that in family violence, domestic violence cases, there's too often a connection with guns," Nelson said. "But we do know that it's extremely common for people who are using violence and for shooters, in particular, to have violence in their past."

WATCH: Stephen Broderick's arrest and protective order history

Nelson added that while she can't speak to how often protective orders are enforced, she believes that when it relates specifically to the surrender of firearms, not all who have an order against them follow it. 

"It is too frequent that perpetrators of violence, even those that have protected orders against them, do not surrender their guns, leaving the survivors of violence in even more danger," Nelson said. "People who have a history of using violence, people who have a history of abuse or committing acts of sexual assault, should not have access to guns."

Overall, she said there is help out there for people dealing with unsafe situations. 

"There is so much sadness and trauma and loss in our community that to add on this horrific violence on top is going to be really hard for people and hard for people to process this additional layer of violence. And if people need help, then they should call us," Nelson said. 

SAFE's hotline number is 512-267-SAFE (7233). You can also text SAFE at 737-888-7233.

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