Domestic Violence Response Cross-Training Institute
Institute receives a 2009 Acheivement Award from the National Association of Counties! Read the July 1, 2009 Press Release.
Evaluation Update: In November 2008, the consultant evaluator, Mark Morris Associates, submitted a Final Evaluation Report (Word). The Institute has made great strides in improving the San Francisco criminal justice system's response to domestic violence!
Since the 2002 release of Justice & Courage: A Blueprint for San Francisco's Response to Domestic Violence, the Commission on the Status of Women has dedicated itself to inter-agency policy reforms to prevent another domestic violence homicide like that of Claire Joyce Tempongko in 2000, brutally murdered in front of her two young children allegedly by ex-boyfriend Tari Ramirez, a tragedy that inspired the Justice & CourageReport. The Commission convened the Justice & Courage Oversight Panel, composed of a diverse array of community stakeholders including service providers to victims and to batterers, community advocates, and legal professionals, to oversee implementation of the recommendations, by department, contained in the report.
The Justice & Courage Oversight Panel appointed a Resources Committee, composed of community advocates and relevant government officials including representatives of the San Francisco Police Department, the Adult Probation Department, the District Attorney's Office, the Department of Emergency Management, and the San Francisco Superior Courts, to examine the gaps in departmental resources allocated to address domestic violence. After gathering and analyzing available data about department resources, the committee concluded that the availability and effectiveness of City-funded domestic violence intervention training were uneven across departments and, in the case of the Adult Probation Department, eliminated altogether, leaving key law enforcement personnel significantly under-trained and ill-equipped to respond appropriately.
Based on this finding, the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women partnered with the Blue Shield of California Foundation to develop a Domestic Violence Response Cross-Training Institute. Throughout the 2-year grant period (2006-2008), the Institute trained approximately 430 first responders and senior staff in the criminal justice system. Each training included representatives from the following criminal justice agencies: Adult Probation Department, Police Department, Sheriff's Department, District Attorney's Office, and Emergency Communications Department.
The purpose in cross-training criminal justice personnel is to increase inter-agency communication and collaboration and to help all agencies understand and work effectively within an interconnected system. The Institute also provides an opportunity to fully integrate community-based service providers in the training process. The curriculum is based on specific cases reflecting the experiences of these service providers who have had to address, first hand, the impact of gaps in departmental resources on their clients. The cross-training teaching model and integration of community-based service providers are innovations to conventional training methodologies among criminal justice agencies that may form the basis for a new standard.
The Department offered the first Institute sessions beginning in May 2007, and trained 206 criminal justice personnel over the course of 10 training dates. The 2nd round of 10 sessions began in March 2008 and ran through June 2008, training another 231 staff members. In addition to front line responders, the Institute attracted participants from all levels of the criminal justice organizations. Directors, Deputy Directors, Deputy Chiefs, Supervisors, Managers, and Coordinators joined in and participated side-by-side with Police Officers, Dispatchers, Deputy Probation Officers, Deputy Sheriffs, Assistant District Attorneys, and Victim Advocates. We also had 3 Officers from the SF State University Campus Police attend the Institute, 1 Staff Attorney from the San Francisco Unified Family Court, and 1 judge. The wealth of information elicited through this diversity of experience and expertise made any given session of the Institute a truly unique educational environment.
What follows is a sample of some of the feedback and comments the Department received about the Institute during the spring of 2008:
In the course of evaluating the training, one participant, a Deputy Probation Officer, commented on his own rating of the training as excellent: I mean excellent' VERY SERIOUSLY. Not only did you share timely, substantive, and clear info, you opened up needed communication BETWEEN PARTNERS to serve the defendant and VICTIM. The presenters were VERY well prepared, professional, responsive: a breath of fresh air as far as training.
Delia Ginorio of the Sheriff's Department, one of the co-trainers with the Institute and my contact coordinating participants from the Sheriff's Department, received reports from many of the participants she sent to the Institute since March. A supervisor and coordinator of programs at the Sheriff's Department attended the final session and told Delia that she wished every member of the Sheriff's Department could take this training. Another staff member in the Programs Division told Delia that this was the best domestic violence training she has been to, and she has attended quite a few.
During a mini-lecture on risk assessment, trainers give participants 3 questions developed by theDuluth, MN domestic violence intervention community and used by responders to gauge a victims risk and the lethality of the situation. One Assistant District Attorney attended numerous sessions in order to give the DA's perspective on the influential Crawford ruling. She commented specifically about the value of the 3 Duluth risk questions. She said she had read several police reports where the officer had asked those questions, and they gave her important information that helped her make her case.
One of the goals of the training was to help connect criminal justice personnel with the community resources that can help them when they work domestic violence cases, either by answering questions or as a referral for victims. Emberly Cross of the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic and one of the Community Trainers, reports that since the Institute began, not only has she had many clients tell her they were referred by a police officer, but she has had calls from criminal justice staff, such as one police lieutenant calling her for resources related to providing better services to a victim.
A participant expressed how helpful it was to hear the practicalities of how people in other departments do their jobs. He commented that it helps to understand what might be going on in other departments, easing some of the frustration caused by not knowing why things get done the way they do.
One officer who has worked at the San Francisco Police Department for 26 years had never had a personal interaction with a probation officer before attending the Institute. He stated that the training was a good opportunity to network.
The Honorable Mary Morgan, who presides over the Domestic Violence Court , attended the April 29, 2008 session of the Institute, and she sent an email to other judges on April 30:
Yesterday, I attended the all-day DV Response Cross-Training Institute put on by the Department on the Status of Women. It was excellent. It was very illuminating to see and hear police officers, probation officers, sheriff deputies, 911 dispatch operators, and DAs learn from each other about how each department responds to DV. SFPD Deputy Chief Shinn and I were both very impressed with the educational value of the victim's game of life. I learned a great deal about victims as well as working in a diverse community. I highly recommend that other bench officers attend the program. The only difficulty is that there is about 45 minutes devoted to a DA talking about Crawford. Some judges might prefer to step out of the room for that presentation on the law. The rest of the program is much like CJER presentation on DV, but much more up to date and compelling. It is a real pleasure to work with the DOSW.
For more information about the Domestic Violence Response Cross-Training Institute, contact:
Department on the Status of Women