San Diego, California

San Diego is internationally known for several large and successful efforts in the field of domestic violence. It was one of the first jurisdictions in the country to create and implement a specialized form for law enforcement officers to document responses to domestic violence calls, which in turn supported aggressive, evidence-based prosecutions. San Diego also created the first Family Justice Center, which co-locates domestic violence investigators, prosecutors, victim advocates, mental health providers, and other interveners. It has shown a commitment to self-evaluation and problem solving by conducting a safety and accountability audit from 1998 through 2000. This prior audit focused on aspects of San Diego's advocacy and service provider response to domestic violence.

In May of 2011 the San Diego audit team began its work as an Initiative on Witness Intimidation (IWI) pilot site. They undertook investigative activities, identified gaps in witness safety and offender accountability, and made recommendations to address those gaps. They discussed their findings and identified three gaps in witness safety and offender accountability

In December of 2012, the team developed an action plan to effect change. They began developing a documentation guide for victim advocates and other practitioners to help identify, record, investigate, and create policy on witness intimidation. Team members have mapped points of intervention in the criminal justice process for communicating with victims and witnesses about intimidation. Community-based advocates and victim witness coordinators in the prosecutor's office have collected resources (e.g. brochures, tip sheets, etc.) from other jurisdictions to help provide education to victims and witnesses and to incorporate that information into their own practices. Additionally, as a result of IWI, the San Diego team began working outreach and training on intimidation. Finally, advocates and probation officers are working together to identify high-risk offenders.

Implementation and final pilot site reports are available upon request.

AEquitas would like to acknowledge the following organizations for their significant contributions to the San Diego IWI project: California District Attorneys Association; Case Cornelia Law Center; Center for Community Solutions; East County Regional Gang Task Force; National; Family Justice Center Alliance; San Diego City Attorney's Office, Community Justice Division, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit, General Trial Unit; San Diego Compassion Project; San Diego County District Attorney's Office, Family Protection Unit, Gang Prosecution Unit, Sex Crimes, Victim Services; San Diego County Probation Department, Adult Field Services, Special Operations; San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Court Services. Detention Investigations; San Diego Domestic Violence Council; San Diego Domestic Violence High Risk Case Response Team; San Diego Family Justice Center, Legal Network, Military Liaison; San Diego Police Department, Criminal Intelligence Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, Gang Unit; San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program; Superior Court of California, County of San Diego; Young Women's Christian Association.

Special Initiatives