Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Specialized Individuals and Programs

10/01/1996

Sometimes individuals become specialists due to desire, experience, or training, rather than through agency policy. Some specialized units were initiated by individuals who became interested in domestic violence through the course of their jobs. In Baltimore, for example, a commanding police officer began an unofficial domestic violence unit in one district before this was department policy. In the Northern Minnesota community, an officer in one police department reviews all domestic violence reports during his shift and follows up with the responding officers. In both these cases, changes resulted from an individual's initiative rather than a department policy.

We also saw several models of special programs and co-locating staff from different agencies. Examples include a joint program between the Childrens' Services Bureau and the Probation Department in San Diego, and the Community Access and Advocacy Unit that co- locates a victim advocate at a police precinct in a predominantly Latino neighborhood in San Francisco. Many of these special programs seek to improve services for a subgroup of battered women and/or offenders. For example, the joint project between the Children's Services Bureau and the Probation Department in San Diego targets high-risk families where a domestic violence offender is on probation and children are in the home and themselves in danger of abuse. The Advocacy Unit housed in a police precinct in San Francisco focuses on domestic violence in the Latino community.