40 Stories for 40 Years: Faith and Liberty Battaglia

by Emily Roberts | May 08, 2018

Faith and Liberty Battaglia were nine and six years old in May 2001 when their father, John Battaglia, murdered them as their mother listened on the phone. For this ultimate act of family violence, Battaglia was executed on February 1, 2018.

At the time of the murders, he was on probation for hitting his ex-wife, the girls’ mother, and she had been trying to have him arrested for violating probation. The tragedy was a catalyst for an amendment to the Texas Family Code, effective September 1, 2001, which required judges to presume that ordering supervised visitation in cases where there is evidence of family violence or child abuse is in the best interest of the child.

Following the legislation, The Family Place worked with other advocates and Dallas County to get a Safe Havens grant and established the Faith and Liberty’s Place supervised visitation and monitored exchange program in 2003. We have received subsequent grants from The Crystal Charity Ball and Dallas County to sustain the program. Referrals to Faith and Liberty’s Place come directly from Dallas County Family Courts. In 2017 the program provided 4,169 service hours to 380 adults and 302 children.

“The families who come to Faith and Liberty’s Place are struggling with the trauma of both family violence and divorce,” says The Family Place CEO Paige Flink. “On this 17th anniversary of their death, we’re proud to remember Faith and Liberty by continuing to provide a uniquely safe environment where services are provided by highly trained staff to prevent abuse and save lives.”