Family Violence Council - August 21, 2019 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
August 21, 2019 - 3:00pm

Family Violence Council:

Addressing Violence throughout the Lifespan



Wednesday, August 21, 2019

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

400 McAllister, room 617 San Francisco, CA 94102



Mayor, or designee: Nicole Lindler

Chief of Adult Probation, or designee: Chauncey Robinson Chief of Juvenile Probation, or designee: Paula Hernandez

Director of Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, or designee: Abigail Stewart-Kahn Director of Domestic Violence Consortium, or designee: Jerel McCrary

Director of Elder Abuse Forensic Center, or designee: Shawna Reeves Director of San Francisco Child Abuse Council, or designee: Katie Albright

Superintendent of San Francisco Unified School District, or designee: Thea Anderson Director of Human Services Agency, or designee: Joan Miller

Officer of First 5 San Francisco, or designee: Shelli Rawlings Fein District Attorney, or designee: Brad Allred

Director of Department of Child Support Services, or designee: Freda Randolph Glenn President of Commission on the Status of Women, or designee: Carol Sacco

Director of Department of Public Health, or designee: Dr. Leigh Kimberg

Chief Medical Examiner of Medical Examiner’s Office, or designee: Dr. Ellen Moffatt

President of the Board of Supervisors, or designee: Samuel Bennett, Supervisor Stefani’s Office



Director of Department of Aging and Adult Services, or designee; Chief of Police, or designee; Director of Department of Aging and Adult Services; Sheriff, or designee; Director of Department of Animal Care and Control, or designee


Others Present:

Gena Castro-Rodriguez, DA’s Office Victim Services Division; Glen Fishman, Institute on Aging; Linnea Fox, Department on the Status of Women; Elise Hansell, Department on the Status of Women; Tamari Hedani, Institute on Aging; Christina Howard, Department on the Status of Women; Kari Kientzy, Adult Protective Services; April McGill, California Consortium for Urban Indian Health and Red Women Rising Project; Elizabeth Newman, Department on the Status of Women; Jasmine Smith, Asst. to Director Karen Roye


I.Call to Order/Agenda Changes


  1. Trauma Informed Check-In



25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 240 | San Francisco, CA 94102 | | | 415.252.2570


III.Approval of Minutes

  • May 15, 2019 Minutes approved. (Newman/Reeves)


IV.Update on Family Violence Council Recommendations Involving Domestic Violence and Child Welfare

  • Topic postponed to future meeting.


V.Overview of Response to Elder Abuse Financial Crimes


Kari Kientzy from Adult Protective Services briefed the Family Violence Council on elder abuse financial crimes in San Francisco and the response of APS to such cases. APS is working to remedy the lag time in investigating cases of financial crimes involving elders by partnering with SFPD. Kari also highlighted two new initiatives that APS has developed to address elder abuse financial crimes: the creation of a new virtual financial abuse unit and a pilot project with Hunter College.


  • In 2018, APS created a virtual financial abuse unit to address financial crime cases, which have become more complex and require more specialization as scams have grown more sophisticated.
  • APS is also currently working on a pilot project with Hunter College to work with financial institutions to develop a secure online portal for banks to securely share documents relevant to cases with APS.
  • Kari described the goal of the pilot program as making it easier for financial institutions to share important documents and information securely to aid with APS investigations because even though banks are mandated reporters, they do not always see it as their responsibility to share additional information.
  • Financial exploitation tends to skew towards seniors, rather than dependent adults.
  • APS is also working with SFPD to expedite the investigation process to deliver better outcomes for victims.
  • Financial abuse and exploitation is the largest category of abuse by others that APS sees and it is likely to co-occur with emotional abuse.
  • Kari also emphasized that APS also relies on civil remedies, rather than always pursuing criminal charges.
  • Going into the next year, APS will also have a civil attorney to work with low-income clients.


Shawna Reeves from the Institute on Aging briefed the Family Violence Council on the Institute on Aging’s (IoA) response to elder abuse financial crimes. Shawna discussed two specific projects related to financial crimes involving elders that the Institute on Aging has engaged in.


  • One of the projects was a partnership with the National Center on Elder Abuse to do a campaign about online romance scams for Valentine’s Day 2019.
  • The other project was born out of a scam targeting veterans trying to get their pensions proliferate unchecked for over 10 years.
  • For the project, the IoA partnered with the Attorney General’s Office, the California Department of Insurance, and others, resulting in the Department of Insurance


sending out a warning to all insurance agencies in California about changes in the insurance code that made it more difficult to run the scam.


Lt. Pete Shields of the SFPD Special Victims Unit was not present to brief the Family Violence Council.


VI.Bringing Awareness to Violence Against Native Women in California


April McGill of the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health (CCUIH) and Red Women Rising Project (RWR) presented to the Council about efforts to bring awareness and address violence against Native women in California. April also emphasized the need for collaboration with other city and community agencies and departments to effect systems change.


  • CCUIH partners with tribal consortiums to ensure that Native communities have access to adequate, culturally competent healthcare.
  • The purpose of the RWR Project is to make sure that there are domestic violence services for Native women living in urban areas.
  • The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protected many women in tribal communities, but did less for Native women living in urban areas, which prompted CCUIH to think about how to partner with community agencies that are providing services to Native women without knowing that they are Native.
  • The main goal in supporting survivors is making sure that they have the resources they need and with partner agencies, making sure that they understand the violence being experienced in the Native community and engage in culturally competent practices.
  • April also discussed CCUIH’s partnership with the Sovereign Bodies Institute, which is the first to collect data on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls cases and plans to put out a report on California by the end of next year.
  • The Sovereign Bodies Institute has identified 1,705 MMIW cases.
    • 85% of those as identified as mothers were homicide cases.
    • One third of the cases are girls 18 and under.
    • 77% of all cases are girls living in the foster care system.
    • 75% of all MMIW cases in California are in northern California.
    • California is the number 5 state for MMIW cases.
    • Over half of the cases in California are from the last 3 years.
    • There are 22 MMIW cases in San Francisco, not including any that are being investigated or are closed.
    • Rate of MMIW cases is increasing.
  • April expressed deep concerns regarding the handling of Jessica Alva’s case. An advisory council within SFPD has been created to work on cultural competency within the Native community.


VII.Update from the Sentencing Commission


Jerel McCrary gave an update on the Sentencing Commission. The Sentencing Commission is focused on shifting from post-arrest efforts to pre-intervention to avoid re-offense and re- incarceration. The Sentencing Commission received a report from the re-entry council, which


emphasized their focus on the STAR (Substance Abuse Treatment and Reentry) Program, which provides extended stays for detox beds, extended hours for bed admission, and more flex price for housing. A presentation on sentencing enhancements found that there were disparate racial impacts, with African American individuals serving an average of 7.5 years, whereas non-African- American individuals serve an average of 5.3 years. The next meeting of the Sentencing Commission is on September 15th.


VIII.Key issues in Family Violence

  1. Child Abuse Update – Katie Albright


Katie Albright of Safe & Sound informed the Council that San Francisco was asked to be part of creating a prevention framework by the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention, which will include other counties in the state. The most immediate step is to pull together an understanding of the assets in San Francisco in primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention, as well as gaps, and then to set a plan, ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded in the plan.


Katie also updated the group about the effort to improve the child welfare hotline by hiring a national child welfare thinktank to review 200 front-end cases from the past year to assess strengths and improvements. This process will begin in September.


  1. Domestic Violence Update – Jerel McCrary


Jerel McCrary of Bay Area Legal Aid gave the domestic violence update in Beverly Upton’s absence. Jerel reminded the Council that there will be an opening ceremony on October 2nd 6-7pm at the Polk Street steps of city hall to mark the beginning of domestic violence awareness month. The calendar of events for October will be on the Domestic Violence Consortium website and Facebook page. The DVC is working on a rapid- response protocol for responses to DV-related issues and events in order to ensure more consistent responses to such events. The DVC hopes to have the protocol completed by October.


  1. Elder Abuse Update – Shawna Reeves


Shawna Reeves of the Institute of Aging informed the Council that the IoA hosted a talk with Dr. Moffat on forensic indicators of elder abuse.


IX.Public Comment

  • Elise informed the Council that the Family Violence Council report will include data from the past two fiscal years (FY 17-18 and FY 18-19) and that the DOSW has hired a strategic planner to do a half day retreat for the Council in Spring 2020.