DA event highlights battle against domestic violence

San Francisco prosecutors and advocates for domestic violence victims held an annual awareness event Wednesday to highlight the different forms abuse can take and ways to empower survivors.

Assistant District Attorney Marshall Khine, who oversees the domestic violence unit for the District Attorney’s Office, said more prosecutors and other resources have been added to the unit in recent years, and it now represents the largest division in the office.

Khine said prosecutors have started taking a broader approach to the problem, classifying crimes such as vandalism and animal abuse as possible forms of domestic violence.

Animal abuse “can be used as control over our survivors,” while slashing tires or damaging other property leaves victims “so they never feel safe,” he said.

Maria Bee, chief of victim services for the District Attorney’s Office, said the office provides services including counseling and workforce training to help victims deal with financial worries, which are often “the strongest and most immediate deterrent from leaving.”

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