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Paradise Hills Deadly Shooting Shines Light On Domestic Violence

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As the investigation into Saturday's fatal shooting in Paradise Hills continues, San Diego olice officials say it appears to be a case of "domestic violence murder-suicide."

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 A nine year old boy who was shot alongside his family recently in paradise Hills has died two weeks ago. Police say his mother had received a restraining order against her estranged husband, but before the order was served, investigators say Jose Valdivia went to their home and shot her, therefore children and then himself court documents reveal Valdivia started to harass and even make homicidal threats to his wife after she filed for divorce and the couple separated. So was there something that could have been done to prevent such a tragedy? Jessica Jada, outgoing president of the San Diego domestic violence council joins us. Jessica, welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:40 Thanks so much.

Speaker 1: 00:41 Court documents give us a window into how this tragedy unfolded. As president of the San Diego domestic violence council, do you see any areas of the process to file a restraining order that could be improved to prevent something like this from happening? Again,

Speaker 2: 00:55 it feels to me like there are a couple of areas that we have the opportunity to improve in and to provide education around. First and foremost being that we know statistically speaking that upon filing a restraining order and in preparation to leave a relationship where there has been any form of domestic violence is actually the most dangerous time for a survivor and their children. And so one of the things that we talk about often and want to ensure that our community is aware of is in fact that association, not to preclude someone from leaving, but ensuring that they understand the dangers associated so that those of us who are prepared to provide the resources and work through safety plans are able to offer access to those that are, that are getting ready to leave or have just filed a restraining order to ensure that we're mitigating the risk of any danger.

Speaker 1: 01:49 And as you mentioned, that time period right before and right after a restraining order has been filed, are most dangerous for a victim of domestic violence. Can you tell me more about that?

Speaker 2: 01:59 Absolutely. We know that domestic violence is all about power and control and in that power and control dynamic, what we also know to be true is that when a harm Dewar or perpetrator feels like they're losing control, they will go to any length to regain that control, which is why we see the incidents of violence escalate and why we often see that a harm Dewar or a perpetrator is going to link that they haven't before when in fact they feel like they're at risk of losing their partner and or family.

Speaker 1: 02:29 You mentioned safety plans, um, what do those look like and who plans them?

Speaker 2: 02:33 Really good question. So we really like to emphasize that a survivor is the expert in their relationship. And so we really want to acknowledge that because the safety plan is not something that we do for them. It's something that we are able to do with them asking that they provide feedback and input information around how is it that they've been able to keep themselves safe thus far. What do they know about the existence weapons in the home? Um, one of the things that, that, um, we've talked quite a bit about in our field of practice around this tragedy is the idea that when we're talking with survivors about the preparation to leave, whether there is a restraining order being filed or not, that that is there's an opportunity there to talk about things like what an emergency shelter even temporarily be important to consider. Is there an extended family member or friends that maybe the perpetrator or harm to or doesn't have access to? And could you stay there as things begin to feel more volatile and escalate? And so the fact that, um, the, the victim in this case alluded to the fact that there had been an escalation in violent behavior and that there was fear around her safety and the safety of her children. There may have been an opportunity there to have had conversation around how to well protect her and the kids in ways that that may not have been discussed.

Speaker 1: 04:04 No police said, um, this week that Valdivia had not been served with the restraining order, meaning, uh, it was not in effect when he went to the home. On Saturday, I want to focus in on that time period a little bit between when an order is signed by a judge and when that order is served to someone. Is there a standard of time where that order has to be served?

Speaker 2: 04:27 The standard of time is is basically as soon as possible. What I, what I'm not clear about and I don't want to miss speak on is at what point it is deemed to be in effect if a perpetrator has not been found, there is a period of time where if in fact there have been a number of attempts made to serve an individual and they have been avoiding avoiding the restraining order being served. Um, there is a period of time in which it is considered to be in effect, even if that service hasn't been able to occur.

Speaker 1: 05:01 What options do victims of domestic violence have to ensure their safety?

Speaker 2: 05:06 San Diego County has a number of really incredible resources available that span from things like protection of immigration status to short term and longterm shelter options that include transitional housing. We also offer things like bus passes, free legal resources, counseling services for survivors and their children as well as counseling services for harm doers or perpetrators. Many of our agencies offer support with things like rental deposit and helping, um, a survivor and his or her children start over, uh, in a new location if, if necessary, victims of crime as a phenomenal resource that, um, AIDS those who have criminal cases either pending or having been acted on, uh, that can help with relocation services, um, ensuring witness protection, those sorts of things. And so the access to resources, I should say is plentiful. What we really want to be working on is knowledge around those resources.

Speaker 1: 06:09 I've been speaking with Jessica Jada, the outgoing president of the San Diego domestic violence council. Jessica, thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 2: 06:17 Thanks so much for having me.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.