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August 7, 2013

Full Panel - August 7, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
9 – 11 am
City Hall, Room 408
San Francisco, CA 94102


Members Present:
Chair Andrea Shorter, Commission on the Status of Women
JaMel Perkins, Partners Ending Domestic Violence
Dion Roberts, Mary Elizabeth Inn
Beverly Upton, Domestic Violence Consortium 
Dr. Emily Murase, Department on the Status of Women

Members Excused:
Kathy Black, La Casa de Las Madres
Dr. Antonio Ramirez, POCOVI
Ken Theisen, Bay Area Legal Aid

Other Attendees/Speakers:
Marshall Khine, Domestic Violence Response Unit, District Attorney’s Office;  Captain Jason Fox, San Francisco Police Department; Minouche Kandel, Stephanie Nguyen, Ali Skewes-Cox, and Christine Wagner, Department on the Status of Women; Robin Brasso, National Council of Jewish Women

Dr. Emily Murase called the meeting to order at 9:10 am.  The Oversight Panel approved the agenda with no changes.  [Perkins/Upton/All]

The minutes from June 5, 2013 meeting were approved without objection.  [Perkins/Roberts/All]

A. Department Updates

1. San Francisco Police Department

Captain Jason Fox provided a report on the Special Victims Unit.

Captain Fox reported that the Unit lost 15 of its most senior members. After an anticipated all-time low staffing level over the summer, 7 inspectors have joined the Unit. There are currently 43 members in the Unit. Inspectors have been cross-trained to address sexual assault, crimes against juveniles, and domestic violence. There are 22 Sergeant Inspectors trained to investigate domestic violence cases.

Lt. Trenia Wearing will now oversee the DV Unit as Lt. Michele Jean has moved on to Internal Affairs.  Lt. Wearing comes to the department with an 18-year career in administration and patrol.  The Police Department is focusing on poly-victimization and supporting non-traditional DV victims.
In response to a question about the use of JUS.T.I.S. by the Unit, Captain Fox stated that, at this time, the SVU keeps its own data.  Captain Fox fully supports JUSTIS and provides any statistics and information requested, but will not depend on JUS.T.I.S. alone yet.

Dr. Murase raised the issue of the discrepancy in the definition of domestic violence among law enforcement agencies.  Captain Fox said that he would be willing to engage in a discussion about it.  If he is not available, he suggested Lt. Wearing or Lt. Duderoff.  Mr. Khine stated that he would be the contact for such a discussion.

2. District Attorney’s Office

Marshall Khine, who oversees the Domestic Violence Unit, reported that the Unit has been moved to the 2nd floor.  Mr. Khine added that this space is a nicer environment for victims and survivors and enables the staff to spend more time directly interacting with survivors that are brought to the Unit.  He thanked Beverly Upton for attending the Unit's recent Open House and invited the Panel to tour the new space.  He stated that the 3 dedicated victim advocates have greatly expanded the time spent with victims.  The office has staff with language ability in Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

Mr. Khine reported that the DA's Office is focusing on vandalism and animal abuse cases that intersect with domestic violence.  Ms. Upton offered to support the DA's Office in its appellate court case on vandalism.

In public comment, Robin Brasso, National Council of Jewish Women, asked about resources at the SFPD and the DA dedicated toward addressing human trafficking and elder abuse.

Captain Fox explained that SFPD works with Adult Protective Services and community partners, such as the Institute on Aging, on issues of elder financial and physical abuse.  SFPD meets with them regularly to ensure that the Unit is responding appropriately to incidents of elder abuse.

Captain Fox stated that human trafficking is now under the purview of the Special Victims Unit.  Mr. Khine added that Greg Barge now serves as Managing Attorney of the DA's Sexual Assault Unit and oversees cases of human trafficking.  Mr. Barge tries to identify as many cases of human trafficking as possible and collaborates with other agencies, such as the US Attorney’s Office and the Department of Public Health, to file charges and provide victim services.  Mr. Khine believes that the passage of Proposition 35 will have a significant impact on awareness about the issue and anticipates more survivors coming forward for support.

B. Committee on Housing for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Committee Chair Dion Roberts provided an overview of the Committee which was first convened in March 2010 to address the housing needs of domestic violence survivors. The Committee engaged in advocacy efforts around housing, economic empowerment, funding of these services, and Safe Housing training. In June 2010, the Committee focused on Housing Authority policies related to domestic violence survivors and developed a set of policy recommendations, including priority transfers and Section 8 vouchers dedicated to domestic violence survivors.

Beverly Upton stated that Joaquin Torres, formerly of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services, now serves as President of the Housing Authority Commission. At a recent community meeting, he received considerable feedback from anti-domestic violence advocates on the tremendous needs of survivors. He agreed to support a follow-up community meeting 

C. JUS.T.I.S. Governance Council
Report from June 27, 2013 and July 25, 2013 meetings.
Next meeting: August 22, 2013, 9:30-11:30 am 

Dr. Murase stated that the minutes for the June 27 meeting were included in today's meeting packets but the July 25 minutes were not yet available. She flagged two issues that have come up at recent meetings. There was an all-system outage at the data center, which is never supposed to occur.  Discussion at the Council focused on accountability. The Department of Telecommunications is conducting a thorough post-mortem of the incident. A second issue is the discrepancy between state and local charging codes.  On behalf of the Council, Dr. Murase asked the Controller's Office to intervene on this city-wide issue, but the request was denied.  The Council has escalated the issue to the Mayor's Office.

Minouche Kandel, Department on the Status of Women, provided a report on the meetings she attended in June and July.  Currently, reports have been created to track domestic violence data.  She stated that the hope is in the future, the system would also be able to provide data on elder abuse and child abuse cases.  Due to confidentiality issues, however, the information cannot yet be shared.  There has been discussion at the Council on trying to get the Mayor’s Office to resolve infrastructure issues related to system access.

Captain Fox stated that there is an authorization process that occurs prior to release of confidential information in domestic violence cases.  Information is available, but only on a “need-to-know” basis to maintain confidentiality.  He stated that most information pertinent to the work of the Family Violence Council is accessible at this time, aside from narratives that contain information that is extremely personal in nature (e.g., medical information and direct quotations that could be linked back to specific individuals).  This information is shared with the District Attorney’s Office and other advocates who have the consent of the survivor.

D. Family Violence Council
Next meeting: Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 3 - 5 pm, 400 McAllister St., Room 617.

Ms. Upton reported that the Family Violence Council will be celebrating its 5th year since reauthorization.  The Family Violence Council has been steadily growing, and through collaboration, City departments are discovering many inter-related cases.  Ms. Upton added that the Family Violence Council is looking forward to hearing an update on the Interrupt, Predict, and Organize (IPO) public safety plan.

E. Batterer Accountability
Ms. Upton stated that the Domestic Violence Consortium has partnered with the Adult Probation Department to evaluate batterer intervention programs, including weekly site visits.

Ms. Roberts inquired about the disposition of convicted batterer Tari Ramirez who was responsible for the death of Claire Joyce Tempongko.  Minouche Kandel explained that the 2nd degree murder conviction was upheld by the California Supreme Court, but his attorney has asked for a re-hearing.

F. Current Issues in Domestic Violence

1. Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Ms. Upton reported on efforts to end the federal policy of Secure Communities.  Supervisor Avalos and 8 co-sponsoring Supervisors introduced legislation called "Due Process for All" which would prohibit the Sheriff's Department from cooperating with the U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement Agency.

2. Victim Notification

Dr. Murase stated that Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi informed her that the Sheriff's Department will be re-launching VINE, a victim notification system that is activated when perpetrators of abuse are released from jail or transferred to another facility. She encouraged staff from the Sheriff's Department to share the development at the August 21 Family Violence Council meeting.  Ms. Upton also received notice about the re-launch.


1. Officer Involved Domestic Violence Policy 

Ms. Upton stated that she will be meeting with Captain Joe McFadden in the next few weeks to continue progress.

2. SF Workplace Policy on Domestic Violence

Dr. Murase reported that Supervisor Eric Mar is again interested in this issue.  Commissioner Andrea Shorter urged that Supervisor Cohen's office be included in the discussion.


1. Scheduling Department Head Meetings

Commissioner Shorter stressed the importance of setting milestones to be met before each meeting.  Ms. Upton agreed and suggested having benchmarks and a roadmap with feedback from City agencies.  She also suggested meeting more often with each other and City agencies.

Dr. Murase proposed dedicating the November meeting to strategic planning.

Meetings with the following department heads will be scheduled:
a. Police Chief Greg Suhr
b. District Attorney Gascon
c. Adult Probation Chief Wendy Still

2. Data Collection
Dr. Murase stated the Family Violence Council is committed to including in its annual report statistics related to the co-occurrence of domestic violence and animal abuse.
Dr. Murase added that the Department is starting to plan a needs assessment on services in the community.

Ms. Brasso spoke about the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking Conference on Child Sex Trafficking.

The meeting adjourned at 10:47 am.  [Perkins/All]

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