Domestic Violence Incidents Up Slightly In San Diego County
Speaker 1: 00:00 18 people died in San Diego last year from violence by domestic partners. That's according to the San Diego County domestic violence council and event last night in downtown San Diego, brought together law enforcement, County leaders, victims and advocates to Mark the start of domestic violence awareness month. Recent statistics from the San Diego County DA's office show incidents of domestic violence. Went up slightly last year. Joining us to talk about this as the assistant chief of San Diego County DA's family protection division and the newly elected president of the San Diego County domestic violence council, Claudia Grasso and Claudia, welcome. Thank you for having me. How do you ramp up awareness efforts for a situation that's been known to the public for years now? What can you do differently? Education is the big key. Uh, we are, uh, ramping of our efforts to be out there in the community. Uh, more so in, uh, those pockets of population that traditionally do not talk about domestic violence. Speaker 1: 01:04 Uh, those are a big targets this year. Uh, we want to be out there in the community to emphasize that there are resources out there. For instance, medical and therapy and, um, maybe safety, uh, shelter. What are some of the communities in the County that don't traditionally talk about violence within the family? Uh, many of our, our, uh, minority communities, um, I know the Hispanic community, uh, being myself Latina, uh, we come from a community that we handle things within our family and my big push, my art and our big goal with the district attorney's office is to be out there in those communities. You know, we have a big Somali community, middle Eastern community that traditionally they don't know what their rights are or there's many that fear that they will get deported if they report, uh, or many of them just fear retribution and, and yet they continue to live with domestic violence. Speaker 1: 02:07 So we want to be out there, uh, not only to encourage them to report, but also to demonstrate that, um, there are resources out there. What's the procedure for someone to report that they've been the victim of domestic violence. We used to hear horror stories about how victims were not taken seriously. We have come, we have made big strides on, um, in that front, we, um, we have wonderful law enforcement community partners and the district attorney's office. I mean, first and foremost, uh, nine one, one is the place to call, um, if there is a domestic violence incident and we have, uh, instances where family members called children, um, who are exposed to domestic violence call. And, um, once they do, then the process starts. Are victims still asked to press charges or else the police don't go any further with the investigation? No. Law enforcement will, uh, proceed with investigation and unfortunately for various Reese's reasons, there are victims that no longer want to prosecute after the situation is diffused. Speaker 1: 03:21 But many times it's out of fear. It's out of, um, unknown. Uh, I'm basically fear of the unknown, not knowing what the repercussions will be, uh, being unfamiliar with the process. And so we have a victim advocates in the district attorney's office. We have resources that work with our victims to help them navigate the criminal, oftentimes scary process that they will go through. Has the face of domestic violence changed over the years? It used to be overwhelmingly a man abusing a woman. Is that changing? Absolutely. We are seeing arise, um, in cases where uh, I feel that it's more comfortable for males to come forward because males definitely are victims as well. We are seeing same sex couples, how two women, two men definitely those are communities that we want to reach and, and let them know that there are resources out there as well. Anybody can be a victim. Speaker 1: 04:23 Now your office is reporting an increase in domestic violence cases last year. Is there any theory as to why that is? We will leave that. In 2017 we rolled out a strangulation protocol and that is a collaborative with law enforcement, with a health community, with the district attorney's office in educating ourselves and the public on strangulation. These are cases that traditionally were not prosecuted or, or, or not prosecuted as much because we didn't know, uh, about them. Uh, many times we saw a victim and if there was no injury, even though he or she reported strangulation, we figured, how can we prove certain charges? Because there is no, there are no visible injuries. Since then, we've all come together in this wonderful partnership to educate ourselves from the doctors on, on coming to our, uh, trials. Basically in helping us educate the juries, educate the judges, educate the community on these strangulation, these injuries. Speaker 1: 05:32 Our internal, uh, officers now have this wonderful protocol. They have the strangulation, a supplemental sheet where they can ask, did you suffer some of these symptoms that come from strangulation, like raspy voices, like urinating on yourself, like losing consciousness, things of that sort. A few or someone you know, is the victim of domestic violence. What should people listening do? Well, if they in, um, in the middle a victim of violence, they should call nine one one. I've been speaking with San Diego prosecutor, Claudia Grasso. She is the newly elected president of the San Diego County domestic violence council. Claudia, thank you very much. Thank you. It's my pleasure. Speaker 2: 06:18 You [inaudible].