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Sacramento is Facing a Crisis of Domestic Violence

Photo credit: Anete Lusina

Sacramento is battling a troubling wave of domestic violence. Abused women are living in increased isolation due to COVID-19 and are often trapped with their abusers. Consequently, the District Attorney’s Office (D.A.’s Office) reported to the Board of Supervisors in early February 2021 that Sacramento County had eight deaths linked to domestic violence in 2020, up from two in the prior year.

What is the government response? In addition to its regular prosecutorial activities, The D.A.’s Office is trying to increase community vigilance of the issue by putting fliers in supermarkets all across the region, telling people to “Hear. See. Suspect. Report.” The flyers are rich with information, containing websites, phone numbers and names of agencies which give people the chance to report suspected cases of interpersonal violence. Groups to which the public can report include WEAVE, My Sister’s House, the Black Child Legacy Campaign, the DA’s Office and the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center. WEAVE is already seeing increased needs for housing, legal services and counseling.

The biggest challenge for victims of domestic violence is reaching out to the services they need – they have to reach out when their abusers are monitoring their every move. In pre-pandemic times, many victims would simply leave to get help. Many doors are now closed or limited in capacity. Further, many victims are hard-pressed to pay for services or leave their abusers because of job loss or income diminution due to the pandemic. Finally, due to shelter in place and limitations on in-person activities like work or family gatherings, victims of abuse have a reduced network from which to seek support.

The end result? More people are dying as fewer people are reporting abuse. The Sacramento County D.A.’s Office reported fewer cases filed in 2020 as compared with the prior year: 5,976 versus 6,032.

Photo credit: Rodnae

Notwithstanding the above, some agencies are seeing increased activity. For example, the Family Justice Center saw a 73.9% increase in new clients in 2020, with 1,857 new people seeking services. There are also more returning clients with 2,558 people coming back in 2020, compared with 1,006 in 2019.

Many victims of abuse have children - 5,713 kids under the age of 18; 2,534 under the age of 5 being served by the Family Justice Center.

Do you need help escaping domestic violence in the Sacramento region? Here are a few resources, though they are hardly exhaustive:

1. The National Domestic Violence Hotline.; 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE); TTY 1-800-787-3224. This is a national resource that can help victims create safety plans and connect to national and local resources.

2. Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center.; 1-916-875-4673 (HOPE). This group is a clearinghouse for local services, including safety planning, counseling and legal help. While this group will help victims draft and file restraining orders, they will NOT appear in court for hearings or trials.

3. My Sister’s House.; 1-916-930-0626. This group serves the Asian and Pacific Islander and other underserved women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking by providing a culturally appropriate and responsive safe haven, job training, and community services.

4. WEAVE Legal.;1-916-920-2952 24/7 Support Line. WEAVE is the primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County.

5. Empower Yolo.; 1-530-661-6336. This group serves Yolo County. This group provides community outreach and educational programs about available resources to promote health, stability, and self-sufficiency for individuals and families. Empower Yolo will draft restraining order requests and accompany victims to court for the TRO hearing but other legal representation is limited.

6. Stand Up Placer (Roseville Direct Services Office).; 1-916-773-7273. This group serves Placer County and saves lives by empowering survivors and educating communities to stand up to domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

The Sacramento region is in a crisis mode with respect to domestic violence. There are community services to serve victims of domestic violence but further legal representation is necessary for those with the means. Community organizations that provide legal services may help a survivor draft a request for a temporary restraining order but rarely go to Court at the crucial hearing where a restraining order is either adopted permanently or rejected. These groups also do not represent survivors at longer trials or proceedings to renew domestic violence restraining orders.

If you need comprehensive legal services to evaluate your domestic violence case, file for restraining orders, and appear at hearings at every step of a case, contact The Law Offices of Jane Migachyov now. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, we have ample domestic violence experience and can serve you. Schedule a free initial consultation HERE.

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