One of the most important ballot measures passed during San Francisco's recent election has an unassuming name: Proposition D. Despite its generic title, Prop. D is a critical measure that will have significant positive impacts on vulnerable populations in San Francisco. The measure will establish the Office of Victim and Witness Rights, a new city department intended to support crime victims and witnesses, including victims of domestic violence (DV).
This new office will provide extra services to victims and potentially consolidate other city victim support programs in one place. This post explains how the passage of Prop. D will help domestic violence victims and what you can do now if you can't wait for the new office to be established.
Prop. D was added to the ballot in response to San Francisco’s high crime rates. According to a study performed by the advocacy group Californians for Safety and Justice, one in three Californians have been the victim of a crime in the past decade alone. Furthermore, only 20% receive the necessary support in the aftermath. Domestic violence is connected to a significant percentage of those crimes, with law enforcement receiving 160,646 calls for DV assistance in 2020 alone.
That's why establishing the Office of Victim and Witness Rights (OVWR) is so important. Proposition D includes a clause requiring the Office to create a plan to establish a right to counsel for DV victims. If approved, the OVWR's plan would be the foundation for providing legal services for DV victims who need assistance in civil proceedings to escape from their partners.
The OVWR could also consolidate current San Francisco services for abused people. Victims would only need to contact one agency to begin receiving support instead of coordinating with multiple organizations. This would make it easier for targets of all crimes, including DV, to receive all the help they need.
While Prop. D won passage in the June election, it will take time for the OVWR to become functional. In the meantime, you still have options for escaping DV in the Bay Area:
If you're a victim of domestic violence and are still exposed to your abuser, start your journey to freedom today with help from the expert DV lawyers at ADZ Law, LLP. Reach out today to discuss your situation and learn how we can help you start your new life free from abuse.