Domestic violence calls to 911 surge in The City

Domestic violence calls to 911 shot up in The City last year, according to a preliminary report by San Francisco’s Family Violence Council.

In the past few years, law enforcement officials and city departments have expanded resources, such as training emergency responders to have basic conversations in various languages, to reach more people who may be victims of domestic violence.

A draft of the 2010 Comprehensive Report on Family Violence in San Francisco revealed that 7,311 domestic violence calls were made to 911 in fiscal year 2009-10, about 600 calls more than the prior year. It’s The City’s second such report.

The cause of the increase is likely twofold, said Delia Ginorio, survivor restoration director for the Sheriff’s Department. She works with people in County Jail who have been exposed to domestic violence.

“The rise is partially because folks are feeling safer about calling,” Ginorio said, but “it’s also rising because there’s a lack of resources. Programs are getting cut because of the recession.”

One example she cited was the Center for Special Problems, a mental health program specifically for transgender residents, which she said lost funding due to the down economy.

“Those types of programs are always the first to go,” Ginorio said.

Beverly Upton, who sits on the council and is the executive director of a nonprofit that coordinates 17 domestic violence service agencies, said despite the recession, it’s vital to help everyone feel safe.

“If anything can be done better, it’s making sure that [immigrants] aren’t scared away,” Upton said. “I see [the increase] as a positive sign. We don’t think that there’s more [violence] going on.”

The 36-page draft report showed that the District Attorney’s Office assisted with more child abuse cases in the past year, about 380 in 2009-10 compared to about 360 the year before, and more elder abuse cases, about 220 in 2009-10 from 175 the prior year.

The Family Violence Council, organized by The City’s Department on the Status of Women, is scheduled to release the full report in November.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

This article was corrected Monday, Aug. 30, 2010. The original article said the District Attorney’s Office prosecuted more child abuse cases in the past year, about 380 in 2009-10 compared to about 360 the year before, and more elder abuse cases, about 220 in 2009-10 from 175 the prior year. The District Attorney’s Office assisted with more child abuse cases in the past year, about 380 in 2009-10 compared to about 360 the year before, and more elder abuse cases, about 220 in 2009-10 from 175 the prior year.

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