Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Overview of the Coordinated Community Response

10/01/1996

The main vehicles for an increasingly coordinated response to domestic violence in San Diego County are the San Diego Domestic Violence Council (DV Council), specialized domestic violence units and programs in several agencies, and many formal and informal relationships among service providers that have developed through the DV Council.

The DV Council officially began in 1989 to reduce and prevent domestic violence by enhancing the response of primary service providers and increasing public awareness about the problem and available resources. The DV Councils enjoys representation from throughout the county and currently functions through a network of working subcommittees.

The San Diego Police Department, the City and District Attorney's Offices, the San Diego County Probation Department, the Children's Services Bureau, and the South Bay Municipal Court all have specialized domestic violence units. Specialization allows these units to address domestic violence cases more efficiently and effectively because the staff have become experts in responding to domestic violence. Specialized staff participate in the DV Council and its various subcommittees, giving them the opportunity to network with other community service providers.

The relationships that have developed over the years through the DV Council have led to many effective working relationships in San Diego County. For example, the probation department has a memorandum of understanding with the DV Council regarding the certification of batterer intervention programs. The City Attorney's Office and the San Diego Police Department also have developed a very close working relationship which has resulted in more complete investigations of misdemeanor domestic violence cases. The Family Violence Program at Children's Hospital works closely with shelters, mental health providers, and the Children's Services Bureau to provide intensive family and children's services.