New pact aims to get fast help to domestic violence victims

There’s now some extra help available for domestic violence victims in Lakeside, thanks to a new partnership between the Sheriff’s Department and a nonprofit group.

On Thursday, the department and City Hope signed agreement that lets deputies from the Lakeside substation ask a volunteer from the nonprofit to show up at domestic violence incidents in the East County community.

The idea is to get the victims on-scene help, including crisis counseling and shelter arrangements if needed.

City Hope, which works with people in crisis and need, has a team of 16 volunteers trained in crisis counseling to take part in the new program.

Volunteers are available all at hours should a deputy ask for their help at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Sheriff’s Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said the partnership allows for “a more focused, longer-term assistance” from trained advocates.

“While the deputies focus on the legal aspects of the crime case, City Hope can focus on strengthening families and hopefully breaking the cycle of violence,” Stubkjaer said.

Other on-scene help the volunteers can provide includes arranging for transportation for victims and their children, assistance in making safety plans and help navigating the courts, such as seeking a restraining order.

The volunteers are also well equipped to provide follow-up counseling, Stubkjaer said.

In addition, volunteers and deputies will routinely meet to talk about progress in cases or to potentially identify people who might be at risk.

In 2017, deputies from the Lakeside substation made 267 arrests for suspected domestic violence.

For now, the project will focus on Lakeside, City Hope Executive Director Dani Womack said.

More information on domestic violence resources can be found at www.sdsheriff.net/dv, and on the District Attorney’s website by going to www.sdcda.org, clicking on “helping victims” then selecting “domestic violence.”

According to the District Attorney’s web page, domestic violence is also known as intimate partner violence, and includes “a pattern of abusive behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control over one’s partner.”

Forms of domestic violence include not just physical aggression, but also sexual, emotional, psychological or financial abuse as well as stalking.

teri.figueroa@sduniontribune.com

(760) 529-4945

Twitter: @TeriFigueroaUT

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