City Moving to Improve Response to Domestic Violence

The City of San Antonio is looking at updating its policies to deter and prosecute Intimate Partner Violence, what used to be called 'Domestic Violence,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The name was chances to reflect that fact that policies are now geared to include threats from non domestic sources, like stalkers, ex'es and even co workers.  But it still covers physical, sexual, and psychological violence.

City Council's Public Safety Committee got an earful from victims of domestic violence, who say they were failed by police and other support institutions.

"I had an over all very negative and very disrespectful experience with the police, the District Attorney, and the Bexar County Family Justice Center," one woman said.

Another pointed the finger directly at police.

"You are faced with a system which has, in essence, holds you hostage," she said.  "They are not being handled accordingly."

Updates and improvements to the SAPD's Special Victims Unit, which was hit by a scandal last year of sexual assault and domestic violence cases being ignored and forgotten is acknowledged to be a part of the City's inability to properly handle Domestic Violence cases.

Metro Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger says while both men and women can be guilty of IPV, it is generally women who suffer the worst injuries from it.

She says there are several risk factors for IPV in the community.  They include low income, unemployment, less than a high school diploma, a history or child abuse, and a history of IPV in their own home as a child.

Dr. Bridger bristled at suggestions that victims of IPV can 'just leave.'  She says 40% of the 146 women who were killed by a male intimate partners in Texas in 2016 had left their batterer, but were tracked down and killed.

She says Metro Health is attempting to map the areas of the city where the problem is particulary acute, and to make sure there are services available in those areas.

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