Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento DA launches campaign to fund center for domestic violence victims

Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully announced a campaign Friday to fund a resource center for domestic violence victims, a vision she has held for years.

The so-called “family justice denter” would be a centralized location where domestic violence victims could address all of their needs. A victim, for example, would be able to file a police report, meet a prosecutor, receive counseling and find shelter from abusive situations.

“By bringing together our existing committed partners and forming a collaborative framework, we can provide a safe place for victims and their families to receive the resources and services they need to escape domestic violence,” Elaine Whitefeather, executive director of A Community for Peace, said in a promotional video released Friday.

Beth Hassett, executive director of Women Escaping A Violent Environment, said in the same video that a family justice center would “fill the cracks in our current system, allowing us to get to victims early.”

Officials say the problem is pervasive, and often hidden from view. Mary Maguire, chairwoman of the California State University, Sacramento, criminal justice department, said national statistics show one in four women and one in 31 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

Local officials say the issues of domestic violence and human trafficking are especially acute in Sacramento, where the population is extremely diverse and growing.

Law enforcement officers in Sacramento County respond to more than 18,000 calls related to domestic violence annually. They forward about 6,000 of those reports for prosecution each year, and Scully’s office files charges in a little more than half of them, according to officials.

In the video, Scully said a family justice center would provide a “seamless response” to victims in need.

Though a number of law enforcement agencies, organizations and institutions, such as Sacramento State and My Sister’s House, have committed to the effort, officials say they are still in need of a location, which they hope will be donated. They also are seeking donations to fund services, staff members for the center and various startup costs.

To learn more about a family justice center, to donate to the “Are you in?” campaign or to purchase wristbands supporting the effort, go to hopethriveshere.org.

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