SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County District Judge Monique Diaz remembers when and why area leaders decided curbing domestic violence trends needed to be a collaborative effort.
In 2019, the Texas Council of Family Violence reported Bexar County had the highest rate of domestic violence homicides committed by a man against a woman in 2018 in the entire state of Texas. Soon after, the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence was formed. Now, it holds six committees, one being healthcare.
In August of 2021, the healthcare committee launched a new domestic violence navigation line, funded by University Health in contraction with Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) San Antonio Metro Health, Family Violence Prevention Services and the Bexar County Sheriff's Office (BCSO).
Through the navigation line, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office is able to directly connect domestic violence callers with experts, conduct lethality assessments, and connect them with appropriate resources.
"Additionally Metro Health helps with their case management after their phone call, so after the initial call is made, they are still in good hands after the metro health district thereafter for their management," said Diaz.
From August 2021 to June 2022, there have been more than 1,100 calls. 25% were high risk cases, another 25% were medium risk cases, and 50% were low risk.
"While we have seen that our domestic violence homicide numbers have dropped, we have seen an increase in calls and cases filed for domestic violence," Diaz added.
In 2020, San Antonio Police reported 37 family violence murders and 26 in 2021. BCSO reported six family violence murders in 2020 and two in 2021.
Diaz believes their efforts are working but knows this is just the beginning of much needed work.
"This will take decades of work for us to truly see an impact in our community," she said.
This October, CCDV is hosting their third annual Domestic Violence Awareness Symposium. Diaz said this years focus will be on domestic violence against children.
The symposium is free to the public. You can register here.