An average of 13 people are killed every year by an intimate partner in San Diego County. Today, the District Attorney’s Office joined the San Diego Domestic Violence Council, county officials and other social service agencies to launch the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month at a ceremony in Balboa Park. The event is meant to empower survivors, award those who work with victims and remember those whose lives were taken in domestic violence incidents during the previous year. This year, the event theme was “Let Today Be the Day You Move Forward!”
In 2022, 10 people were killed by a current or former intimate partner and there were four additional homicide victims, such as a family member, new boyfriend, or bystander, who died during domestic violence related incidents. In addition, five offenders committed suicide. See a list of domestic violence homicide victims not to be forgotten, here.
“In San Diego County, we are fighting every day to save lives from the destructive cycles of domestic violence,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “I want to thank the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and Claudia Grasso for the partnership in protecting families from violence. Domestic violence not only harms the direct victim but also has a devastating ripple effect on children, families, and communities. This is why at the DA’s Office we work every day to prosecute the offenders and provide resources to victims so they can safely leave their abusers and move on with their lives. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is one more chance to empower women, children, and survivors to know that there are resources to help them get out of a dangerous relationship.”
Each year there are more than 17,000 domestic violence incidents reported to law enforcement across San Diego County. Last year, the figure was 17,472 and the District Attorney’s Office filed charges in 2,393 domestic violence cases.
During the Balboa Park event, which included a resource fair and a candlelight vigil ceremony honoring homicide victims, Ivette Kuyateh, who lost her mother to domestic violence when she was a child shared her personal story.
“Events like these give us a platform to expose the darkness in our society and say the words that victims often can’t,” Kuyateh said. “Yet every advocate knows our work continues past the month of October. It is year-round. As long as people still ask, ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ we have work to do to educate others on the complexities behind the answer to this question.”
Also at the event, Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez, who is a marriage and family therapist, was named the new President for the San Diego Domestic Violence Council. The domestic violence council is a collaboration of organizations and community members who seek to reduce and prevent domestic violence. Partner agencies include the District Attorney’s Office, San Diego County Health and Human Services, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department, and other law enforcement and social services agencies.
Over the last year, the DA’s Office coordinated trainings for hundreds of professionals across the county on domestic violence, firearm safety, stalking, and how to be more inclusive when working with victims.
“We are so proud of how the San Diego Domestic Violence Council has brought county organizations together to help connect victims with resources and support service providers with tools to consistently restore hope to those who have lost it,” said Claudia Grasso, the outgoing President of the SDDVC and Executive Director of One Safe Place: The North County Family Justice Center. “I am grateful to District Attorney Summer Stephan, who for my entire four-year term as SDDVC President, was a constant source of encouragement and support.”
If you or someone you know is being abused by a current or former partner, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) for confidential support and assistance planning for safety. More information and resources can be found on the DA’s website here. See the calendar and flyers of additional domestic violence awareness events that will take place throughout the month of October, here.