DA George Gascón Employs Key Strategies to Aid Domestic Violence Victims from Immigrant Communities

October 5, 2011

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
Omid Talai, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-9272

Key Agreement Signed with the Philippine Consulate in Support of Multi-National Crime Victims

SAN FRANCISCO – District Attorney George Gascón, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month, announced today two important strategies the District Attorney’s Office is employing to protect domestic violence victims and all victims of crime, regardless of their immigration status.

Joined by Marciano A. Paynor, Jr., Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco; Beverly Upton, Domestic Violence Consortium; Jean Roland, Managing Attorney of the Domestic Violence Unit; Maria Bee, Chief of Victim Services Division; and representatives from La Casa de las Madres and Mujeres Unidas, District Attorney Gascón announced the launch of the Domestic Violence Outreach Project, a program targeting monolingual and limited English proficient communities and families with minor children living in the home.

“We are sending a message to women who are victims of domestic violence that you and your children have a right to feel safe and secure in your home,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Violence in the home is one of the most damaging crimes. It tears at the fabric of the family and children in these homes grow up in fear and often recreate the same violence in their adult lives. As leaders in the law enforcement community we have a collective responsibility to ensure the safety of domestic violence victims and prevent the cycle of violence.”

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office employs a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing domestic violence which includes prosecution, trauma informed support services and victim compensation. Assistant District Attorneys attempt personal contact with domestic violence victims in charged cases within 24 hours of arraignment. Advocates from the Victim Services Division provide crisis intervention, court support and advocacy, and assistance with victim compensation.

To create the Domestic Violence Outreach Project, the District Attorney’s Office worked closely with domestic violence advocates to design a program that addresses the needs of immigrant communities where domestic violence is often underreported because of language and cultural barriers. “The more collaboration with immigrant communities, the more lives we save,” said Beverly Upton, Executive Director, San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium.

The Domestic Violence Outreach Project targets cases in which the victim is limited English proficient and where children reside in the home. Each victim will receive a phone call in their native language from an advocate and if the victim consents, the advocate will make an appointment to visit with them at a location of their choice within 72 hours of the incident or within 48 hours of receiving the referral. The project is the first of its kind in San Francisco.

Today, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office signed an agreement with the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco focused on victim services and assistance with securing testimony and appearances by multi-national victims. The effort is part of the District Attorney’s outreach to immigrant communities through the consulates. The District Attorney has already signed an agreement with the Mexican Consulate and has provided training to nearly twenty other consulates about crimes impacting immigrant communities.

“Providing vital victim services, regardless of their immigration status, allows witnesses and victims of domestic violence and other crimes to hopefully begin the healing process,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “I am grateful for the partnership of the Philippine government in our efforts to prosecute crime and ensure justice for all victims.”