Domestic Violence

Violence against women is a critical public health problem that has devastating physical and emotional consequences for women, children and families. Women are frequent targets of both physical and sexual assault by partners and acquaintances, as well as strangers.

Domestic violence during the last 20 years has been acknowledged as being a rapidly growing health concern in America's communities, and as a result, communities around the country are working to develop strategies to stop the violence and provide more protective mechanisms for women and children who are battered.

One report estimates that more than 2.5 million females experience some form of violence each year. Further, almost 2 out of 3 females in this population have been attacked by a family member or a person with which they are acquainted.

For too long, domestic violence has been framed and understood exclusively as a women's issue. But domestic violence must no longer be viewed as a problem only affecting women -- increasingly, spouse abuse is a problem devastating every sector of society, overwhelming our courts and hospitals, spilling over into our streets, and filling our morgues. We must all be a part of the solution if we are to address the deadly toll this epidemic is taking, and men have a critical role to play in doing so.

Lesbian and gay relationships have finally been granted legal recognition by the California legislature. That recognition, however, is not in the form of domestic partners legislation. It is, instead contained in new amendment of the Penal Code. A series of changes, that most recent of which went into effect in January 1995, have revised statutes on domestic violence by removing opposite-sex language and expanding the definition of cohabitant to include "unrelated adult persons" having "sexual relations." The changes will make it easier for gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence to seek assistance from the courts and police.

All women, children and men have the right to live their lives in a healthy and safe environment and to conduct their lives without emotional, physical or sexual abuse or the fear of abuse. The mission of this agency is to work toward eliminating domestic violence and sexual assault and to reduce their effects in our community through crisis intervention, services, education and community involvement.