New Pasadena Police Collaboration Gets Results Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

Published : Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | 5:22 AM

The law enforcement and social teamwork between the Pasadena Police Department’s Special Victims Unit and a local organization called Peace Over Violence is making a positive difference in the lives of Pasadenans.

A document to be presented Wednesday to the City’s Public Safety Committee makes that clear. It will report 126 people have been in the first six months of 2019.

“It’s been pretty helpful,” said SVU’s Sergeant Derek Locklin of the effort, which began on the first of the year.

The report does not sort out whether the cases are domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, all of which fall under SVU’s aegis, but Locklin didn’t hesitate to single one out one category.

“I would have to say domestic violence,” he said. ‘It’s not just a Pasadena thing, it’s a nationwide thing. The numbers are increasing. I wish I could tell you why. Maybe it’s because there’s so much education about it and people are realizing that they are actually victims.”

The response team represents a two-pronged approach to domestic violence in which SVU does the law enforcement and Peace Over Violence begins the process of securing a victim’s safety and initiating a journey toward healing.

Peace Over Violence is a Los Angeles-based prevention center, with a large footprint in the western San Gabriel Valley. In Pasadena, its office is located at 892 N Fair Oaks Avenue.

The organization is focused on helping victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, child abuse and youth violence. Its commitments are to social service, change, and justice which they promote through the provision of emergency services, interventions, education and advocacy services.

It is the advocacy services that come into play with the SVU.

“We will provide a workspace for an advocate [from Peace Over Violence] who comes to our office once a week, usually on Tuesday, Locklin explained. “We provide them with copies of the week’s police report so they can help us with reaching out to victims and to provide services if they want those services.”

The Peace Over Violence advocate might help a victim with a court appearance or in filing for a restraining order.

“They are like a direct line of communication with our victims to us as detectives,” said Locklin.

The pure bulk of cases means that, without the advocates, the police department’s job would tougher and complaints that ‘nothing is being done for the victims’ would grow louder, he said.

The spheres of social work and police investigation remain separate, Locklin explained, with minimal advocate assistance of detectives’ efforts.

“Sometimes, if the victim is not willing to provide a lot of information to us, we might have an advocate there to help them talk,” explained Locklin.

A big issue, from Locklin’s perspective as someone who has sat through on a lot of panels and community dialogue meetings, is that victims don’t know where to get the resources they need.

First responders handout a list of referrals, “But people are afraid to make that call, they just don’t want to take the extra step to help themselves,” he observed. “So that’s why it was important for us to go the extra mile and have the Domestic Abuse Response Team to provide a few numbers it’s been helpful.”

The advocates are available for immediate response on a 24-hour, seven-day a week basis, according to Yvette Lozano, chief program officer at Peace Over Violence.

“We have paid counselor advocates on call rotation so that if a victim shows up at a Pasadena Police station or an emergency room, medical staff and police are informed that they can call POV,” she explained. “We have a special line only for law enforcement and medical providers and it takes about 40 to 45 minutes to respond to a location.”

The relationship between the Pasadena Police and POV is about 20 years old, according to the report. Lozano said the tighter collaboration began when they began working on sexual assault response. That work revealed there was a need to support victims of domestic violence.

“For many years we attempted to establish a domestic abuse response team on a model used throughout California,” Lozano said, “but unfortunately we could never secure funding.”

Which is to say the current response team runs on a pro bono basis on the part of POV. “We do it because there is a need for it,” she stated.

Which is good a time as any to mention POV’s upcoming annual fundraiser, Evening Over Violence, during which community leaders are recognized. This year’s honoree is Netflix for its production of the documentary “Unbelievable,” which is about sexual violence.

“It’s an opportunity for us to raise awareness on these issues and also fundraise for the organization in order for us to continue to provide the services free of charge to community members,” said Lozano.

Evening Over Violence will take place Nov. 7 and more information can be found at https://www.peaceoverviolence.org/evening

 

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