City leaders prioritize improving domestic violence support for Bexar County residents

While domestic homicides are down, there’s an increase in reports on various incidents of family violence.

SAN ANTONIO — Supporting victims of domestic violence became a big focus during Tuesday’s San Antonio Public Safety Committee meeting. 

Leaders with the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence presented the organization’s 2022 statistical review, which details the frequency of family violence in Bexar County and use of services. 

“We all know someone who is going through domestic violence or who has been before. One in three people,” said Judge Monique Diaz, who presides over the 150th Civil District Court in Bexar County. Diaz is also co-chair of the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence. 

The commission’s latest review reveals an increase in family violence reports over the past few years.

“We can’t necessarily attribute that to an increase in domestic violence. We know there are considerations like a population increase as well as our efforts to help our community become more comfortable with coming forward and filing these reports,” Diaz said. 

While family violence reports are up, homicides stemming from domestic violence are down in Bexar County. 

“The major peak we saw in 2020, we had 36 domestic violence homicides. In 2022, we saw a total of 27 domestic violence homicides. Two-thirds of those were women and unfortunately three of those victims were children,” Diaz said.

Patricia Castillo, head of the P.E.A.C.E. Initiative, agrees with city leaders who are calling for more insight on repeat offenders of domestic violence in the community. 

 “When people reoffend that’s when the cases of domestic violence get more dangerous, that’s when we’re seeing the escalation of violence,” Castillo said. “We really have to be keeping tabs on recidivism and those repeat offenders because they’re the most dangerous.” 

As a member of the commission, Castillo also hopes to expand education for parents already impacted or those who could be affected by family violence in the future. 

“We need to get to those parents and make sure our children have every best opportunity to thrive and in safety and in nurturing and in love and respect,” Castillo said. 

Other reports highlights –

– More than 1,000 adults and children sought refuge in the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter.

– There were nearly 21,000 instances of community members receiving crisis support services.

– The number of adults who witnessed family violence remained static while the number of children who saw family violence grew up from 11% to 15%, according to the Center for Health Care Services. 

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