SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — City officials gathered on the steps of City Hall to remember the lives of San Antonians who were killed due to domestic violence ahead of a free community education event this week in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The Texas Council on Family Violence reports that 17 people were killed from domestic violence in Bexar County last year, a 31% increase from 2019. San Antonio police also reportedly saw an increase of more than 18,000 calls related to domestic violence from last year and more than 22,500 calls than in 2019.
“Domestic violence rose everywhere in the United States last year, which is yet another grim reminder of the social conditions that have been exacerbated by COVID-19,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “That our tragedy is not unique does not make it less painful. We continue to make investments and build more robust systems to support people experiencing domestic violence to change this trend.”
City officials are investing $3.1 million dollars in the FY 2022 budget to address and prevent domestic violence in San Antonio and the funding will double the size of the Metro Health Crisis Response team that works in tandem with all six police substations, invests in domestic violence case management and will allow for the expansion of partnerships with external organizations and increase access to mental health services for children who witness violence in their home.
There is a collaborative effort between San Antonio police, fire, Metro Health, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Bexar County Probation and community agency to develop a Danger Assessment Group. The group will use multi-agency staffing to identify people as high risk for causing severe injury in a domestic violence situation.
“Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can affect men, women and children. It can leave lasting trauma to those who survive and those who support survivors,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “As the City of San Antonio, you have our ongoing commitment to invest in programs and services that prevent domestic violence. You also have our ongoing commitment to providing support and help for survivors and their families.”
The Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence is holding a virtual symposium on Oct. 28-29. The Domestic Violence Awareness Symposium is free and will feature 17 sessions aimed at educating the San Antonio community about innovations in responding to domestic violence.
The symposium will kick off a 8;30 a.m. Thursday with remarks from Rosie Hidalgo McCabe, the Senior Advisor on Gender-Based Violence and Special Assistant to the President on the White House Gender Policy Council.
People who would like to participate in the symposium can register at www.ccdv.org.
“The symposium is an opportunity for the public to come together during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and have open and honest dialogue about this public health issue through sessions and speaker presentations,” said Judge Monique Diaz, CCDV co-chair.