Strategic Plan 2008-2011

Justice and Courage Oversight Panel

Strategic Plan


Revisions for 2010-2011 approved on December 2, 2009

The MISSION of the Justice & Courage Project is to prevent domestic violence by creating a seamless, system-wide criminal justice response to domestic violence in San Francisco.

A. Resources

Goal: Ensure that Justice and Courage Oversight Panel, the criminal justice agencies it works with, and the community-based organizations providing supportive services to the criminal justice agencies have the resources they need to respond appropriately to domestic violence incidents when they occur.

Objective 1: In 2010, establish a Resource Committee to identify resource gaps and pursue additional resources.

Action Steps:

a. Partner with the Controller's City Services Auditor to conduct an audit of the City and County of San Francisco's investment in domestic violence services, possibly focusing on one aspect of these services, such as training or housing.

b. Assess the impact of recent cuts, including state and federal cuts, to determine new gaps in services.

c. Use tools developed in the original Resources Committee to research possible sources of income, such as the Real Estate Fraud Fund.

B. Safe Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors

Goal: Expand the safe housing options for domestic violence survivors, particularly public and affordable housing.

Objective 1: By the end of 2011, create a protocol for responding to domestic violence incidents for all City-, State-, or Federally-funded housing sites, including single room occupancy sites and other affordable housing units.

Action Steps:

a. Convene a work-group of Justice and Courage Panel members, representatives from the Housing Authority, the Mayor's Office of Housing, the Human Services Agency's Housing and Homelessness Division, and housing and domestic violence advocates from the community to determine an appropriate and effective protocol for use at housing sites when domestic violence incidents occur.

i. Utilize/start from the plan developed by Bay Area Legal Aid that outlines many of the current safety needs at housing sites.

b. Conduct training at housing sites and other appropriate places regarding the protocol, once developed and formalized.

i. Engage the Police Department in both the creation of the protocol as well as in training of housing site staff members to support the building of good relationships and communication between housing sites and the Police Department.

C. Judicial Participation

Goal: Ensure that the Courts provide a consistent, seamless response to domestic violence.

Objective 1: Work with the Presiding Judge, the Domestic Violence Court judge, and Family Court Judges to secure their support and participation in promoting accountability and collaboration between the Court and the Adult Probation Department.

Action Steps:

a. Hold regular meetings with the Presiding Judge, Domestic Violence Court judge, and other members of the Court, including Family Court, to address emerging issues.

b. Encourage the Court's consistent oversight and support of the Adult Probation Department.

c. Attend the community meetings of the Judicial Council's Domestic Violence Task Force, encouraging the Court to provide periodic reports to Justice and Courage on its progress.

Objective 2: Ensure that all San Francisco judges and commissioners receive the training necessary to understand the dynamics of domestic violence cases, both criminal and civil.

Action Steps:

a. Build partnerships with the Family Violence Prevention Fund, which offers training for judges nationally, to engage local judges in these efforts.

b. Advocate with the Presiding Judge and others for the creation of a formalized local policy requiring training about domestic violence for all judicial officers.

Objective 3: Cultivate relationships with judges and stakeholders in the judicial system to build a peer network that can advocate for changing the culture of the San Francisco judicial system to consider the safety of victims above judicial neutrality concerns.

Action Steps:

  1. Outreach to key judicial stakeholders, including Deputy Presiding Judge Feinstein, Judge Lee, Judge Morgan, and others to encourage their engagement with the work of Justice and Courage.
  2. Formerly recognize those judges that make a clear effort to address the safety concerns of victims and hold batterers accountable through resolutions and other forms of acknowledgement.
  3. Support local Court Watch efforts to visibly pressure the courts to address victims' safety concerns and hold batterers accountable for their crimes.

D. Batterer Accountability

Goal: Hold batterers accountable for their violence in order to prevent domestic violence and recidivism.

Objective 1: Work with the Adult Probation Department (APD), the Judiciary, and Batterer Intervention Programs to develop improved accountability and oversight mechanisms for Batterer Intervention Programs (BIPs).

Action Steps:

a. Participate in APD's Batterer Intervention Program-Community Advisory Committee and APD's Batterer Intervention Program Committee (for all currently certified batterer intervention programs).

i. Engage BIP providers in Justice and Courage efforts by attendance at BIP Committee Meetings, extending invitations to Panel and committee meetings, and other activities to utilize the knowledge and insight of the staff at these programs.

b. Review APD statistics to determine intervention program effectiveness–review completion rates, bench warrant rates, stay-away order rates, batterer program payment rates, and identify key areas for improvement.

c. Explore possibility of County augmentation and amendments to state legislation regarding batterer intervention.

i. Review literature regarding the efficacy of the 52-week model and Batterer Intervention Programs in general to determine best practices for which Justice and Courage can advocate.

E. Training

Goal: Provide quality domestic violence training to members of the San Francisco criminal justice system that addresses emerging issues and creates opportunity for cross-system collaboration.

Objective 1: Conduct an audit of training practices and resources within criminal justice agencies (as resources permit).

Action Steps:

a. Create a work-group to review curricula related to domestic violence, cultural competency, and responding to communities with complex risk factors, to determine appropriateness and efficacy of in-house training modules at each of the criminal justice agencies.

b. Conduct a quantitative and qualitative assessment of both in-house and external trainings attended by criminal justice staff responding to domestic violence incidents.

c. Determine gaps and overlaps in training offerings, both in-house and external, to maximize resources.

d. Submit a report of training-related recommendations to department heads.

Objective 2: Establish stable, long-term funding for the Domestic Violence Response Cross-Training Institute.

Action Steps:

a. Seek out and apply for grant opportunities as they arise.

b. Advocate for general fund support for the Institute with the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, and department heads.

F. Safety Audit Implementation and Replication

Goal: Implement recommendations and close gaps identified in the Safety and Accountability Audit, and replicate the audit process regularly as a means of identifying gaps in San Francisco's system-wide response to domestic violence.

Objective 1: Implement recommendations made in the 2007 Safety and Accountability Audit Report.

Action Steps:

a. Convene monthly meetings of the Audit Implementation Committee to oversee regular evaluations of progress on implementation of Audit recommendations.

b. Draft a City-Wide Memorandum of Understanding, per the July 2007 Executive Directive, to create a systemic protocol for responding to domestic violence, addressing those Audit recommendations that involve multiple departments and department head approval.

i. Convene a Department Heads Summit to review the MOU, create buy-in, and sign the MOU.

c. Produce a final report for the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, and department heads on the implementation of Audit recommendations by December 2010.

d. Sunset the Audit Implementation Committee by December 2010.

Objective 2: Begin planning for the next Safety and Accountability Audit in 2010.

Action Steps:

  1. Advocate for general fund support and/or seek other funding for a 2nd Safety and Accountability Audit.
  2. Conduct Audit by 2012.


Goal: Advocate for the immediate implementation of JUSTIS.

Objectives: Ensure that the implementation of JUSTIS remains a priority issue at all levels of government and within the community.

Action Steps:

a. Use department head meetings, meetings with the Mayor and mayoral staff, and contact with the Board of Supervisors to promote the rapid implementation of JUSTIS.

b. Attend all meetings of the JUSTIS Governance Council to ensure that the priorities of Justice and Courage are addressed in its implementation, including the types of data collected.

H. Stalking Awareness and Response

Goal: Improve the criminal justice response to stalking.

Objective 1: Participate in the District Attorney's Stalking Task Force.

Action Steps:

a. Support the DA's Office and Stalking Task Force in distributing its Stalking Resource Guide to the wider community, including to the housing community, and others that may interact with stalking victims.

b. In collaboration with the DA's Stalking Task Force, explore the benefits of holding a roundtable on the issue of stalking.

c. Examine links between departments' stalking protocols to highlight and close any gaps in the systemic response.

d. Advocate with the Department of Public Health for the long-term continuation and expansion of the Center for Special Problems, currently the only intervention program certified to work with convicted stalkers.

I. Language Access

Goal: Ensure that all San Francisco domestic violence survivors have access to quality, face-to-face interpretation and that language barriers to domestic violence assistance and services are removed.

Objective 1: Partner with the Office of Language Services (OLS) to improve City-wide language access.

Action Steps:

a. Become an active participant in the Language Access Coalition, specifically in efforts to develop officer training and resource materials.

b. Monitor domestic violence content in the language fluency program.

c. Monitor the expansion and institutionalization of the language fluency program.

J. Oversight and Administration

Goal: Maintain Justice and Courage as a forum to identify and respond to emerging domestic violence and victim response issues.

Objective 1: Engage in committee-based and Panel-wide activities to address the issues and goals laid out in the Strategic Plan.

Action Steps:

a. Hold quarterly meetings of the Oversight Panel to discuss, plan for, and respond to domestic violence response issues.

b. Continue to meet regularly (2-4 times annually) with department heads of each of the criminal justice agencies to inform them of concerns and build cross-departmental collaboration.

c. Utilize the Media Committee ad hoc to respond to specific high-profile domestic violence events.

d. Hold annual hearings at the Board of Supervisor's Public Safety Committee to draw attention and raise awareness about the ways that funding creates gaps in the system response to domestic violence and develop champions amongst government and elected San Francisco leadership.