DVPC5Domestic Violence Policy Committee Report

11. Prevention and Treatment

There is too little priority on prevention and treatment and insufficient supervision and coordination where such services do occur.

a) There is a lack of services for both victims and batterers to help prevent a recurrence of violence, as well as not enough services for those who have problems in addition to violence, e.g., drug and alcohol dependency, mental health. Complicating this issue is the difficulty many batterers and victims have in becoming motivated to obtain treatment or support.

b) There is a lack of early intervention services, i.e., an assault has to occur or a TRO violated before the system will intervene. Interventions that do occur are limited and can be counter productive; e.g., remove the children, send him or her to jail, go to counseling.

c) There is a lack of batterers' programs for offenders. The current Probation Dept. caseload for batterers' services is over 900; however there are only approximately 250 certified counseling "slots." As in many other parts of the system where delays routinely occur, criminal or case information is sometimes forwarded to providers of counseling services long after the counseling process has begun and undermines the effectiveness of counseling and increases the risks to victims. Restrictive guidelines on services for batterers leads to a "one size fits all" approach, limiting availability of services to those who might be most easily helped to stop the violence. With the loss of diversion, "mild violence" does not currently warrant mandated counseling. Thus only "major cases" are referred. For those who do go through counseling, there are anecdotal reports that 40% have some kind of difficulty and half of those (~20%) end up back in court. Of those, 25% have their probation terminated and end up serving jail time rather than completing treatment, often due to poor initial assessment.

d) There is a lack of a clear leadership focusing on developing and providing a system of prevention, early intervention and treatment services; particularly in the provision of health, mental health and social work services and schools.

The AG's report is limited in its review of this issue, restricting its comments to the lack of availability of public information (II.B). While increased public awareness is essential, it does not address the need for more proactive education and prevention strategies. The Community Task Force Report recommends a study of local diversion/treatment programs (C10). It also recommends global education through the schools and media about domestic violence and prevention through education (B4 & 6).

Recommended Actions: Prevention and TreatmentAccountable Parties
A. Law Enforcement Agencies will put a much greater emphasis on their role in violence prevention and intervention, including using every contact as an opportunity for education and referral. This also includes expanded follow-up contact with victims. Sheriff's Dept. and Other Law Enforcement
B. CPS/HSD will establish an intermediate intervention between "family maintenance" and "removal of children" to provide more intensive supervision where a threat of domestic violence is at issue. Child Protective Services
C. Preschools and schools will develop an age appropriate "violence education and prevention" curriculum at all levels, including issues such as: family violence, dating violence, sexual violence, conflict resolution. County Office of Education, State Dept. of Education
D. All agencies involved in violence issues will adopt the principle; let's not wait until violence has occurred. All
E. Expand victim's and children's counseling programs, including individual and group counseling and play therapyfor young children. Provide these services in geographically diverse locations. Courts and Human Services Department
F. There will be an assessment now, and ongoing, of the extent of family violence in the county and resources will be allocated based on these findings. Board of Supervisors
G. Expand batterers' programming, including individual and group education and counseling for identified offenders, for perpetrators who self identify and to those in custody. Provide these services in geographically diverse locations. Probation
H. The state budget will provide appropriate levels of funding to insure the development of a system of prevention and treatment services. Such programs will include:
  • individual and group counseling by domestic violence and child abuse experienced clinical professionals and paraprofessionals
  • community education
  • youth education
  • drug and alcohol services
  • services for children who witness domestic violence.
  • Services will be made available in languages of those whose All first language isn't English. Highest priority should be given to making all services and programs available in Spanish.
State Representatives

12. Language Translation

In many parts of the system, the lack of adequate language translation services lowers the quality of response to people for whom English is not their first language:
a) The lack of TRO information and forms written in Spanish is an even further obstacle for victims who are Spanish speaking.
b) There are very limited Spanish speaking counseling services available for batterers.
c) The courts do not guarantee that a certified translator will be available unless a party to a case has made a request ahead of time, restricting the victim's ability to understand and request protection from a batterer.

This finding is strongly confirmed in the AG's report (II.A), although the report fails to emphasize the needs within the courts. The Community Task Force Report recommends more TRO materials be translated into Spanish.(D14).

Recommended Actions: Language Translation Accountable Parties
A. Certified translators will be provided in the courts and at all points of contact with the system. In the provision of translation services, there will be documentation of the translator by name, and identification of all services provided. Courts, Sheriff's Dept. and Other Law Enforcement and District Attorney
B. Certification of translators will include assurance of culture and gender compatibility. Courts, Sheriff's Dept. and Other Law Enforcement and District Attorney
C. Increased sources of Spanish-speaking counseling services will be identified. Probation, CPS/HSD and Other Service Providers
D. All legal and educational forms and materials will be provided in languages prevalent within the county. Courts and Board of Supervisors

Workplan and Timeline

Meeting/Date Objectives
1/ July 16 1. Get Acquainted
2. Review Charter: Committee Objectives and Issues Needing Attention
3. Adopt Ground Rules
2/ August 91. To finalize Committee Charter.
2. To adopt a preliminary Workplan and Timeline.
3. To begin building a shared understanding of
a) the current statistics on the level of reported domestic violence, and
b) the current status of the service delivery system within Sonoma County.
3/ September 3 1. Continue review of domestic violence case statistics and service delivery system.
4/ September 121. Review Macias Case
2. Review Attorney General's Report
3. Prioritize and sequence review of "issues needing attention".
4. Develop information gathering plan (A. see below)
5/ September 24 1. Review information on first set of issues.
2. Identify key findings.
6/ October 9 1. Review information on second set of issues.
2. Identify key findings.
7/ October 23 1. Review information on third set of issues.
2. Identify key findings.
8/ November 1 1. Adopt "Findings Report" (B. see below)
9/ November 111. Begin developing recommendations.
10/ November 13 1. Finalize and adopt "Recommendations" (C. see below).

A. The plan for gathering information will include: review of written materials, interviews with and/or presentations by experts, people involved in the domestic violence service delivery system, and people who have gone through the system.

B. The "Findings Report" will consist of a summary of the information gathered on each of the issues considered, the Committee's assessment of the most significant information for each issue and identification of the options/solutions available for best addressing each issue.

C. The "Recommendations" will include the Committee's choices on which of the options/solutions considered it believes the Sheriff's Department and District Attorney;'s Office should implement, as well as, a rationale for each choice.

Presentations and Materials Reviewed

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