Ventura County has had 8,000 reported cases of domestic violence this year, ranking it amongst the top in all of California when it comes to domestic violence rates.
Increase in Domestic Violence Cases Since 2012
According to the California Department of Justice, in 2012 there were roughly 7,500 reported cases of domestic violence in Ventura County. This year, the California Department of Justice has received 8,000 cases of domestic violence, and reports that 14% of Ventura County residents have reported some form of domestic violence in their homes. The state average is 6.7%.
According to local social workers and law enforcement officials, there are numerous reasons for the high rate of domestic violence cases
Erik Sternad is the director of Camarillo based nonprofit Interface Children and Family Services. He says that money woes, substance abuse, and emotional immaturity are all common triggers for domestic violence. “We do know that abuse stretches across socioeconomic lines, and we know it is usually behavior passed from parent to child,” he said. Victims also commonly do not have outside support to turn to, thus leaving abusers free to take control of a victim’s life.
Domestic Violence Underreported
While Ventura County takes domestic violence seriously, incidents still go un-reported due to fear and lack of knowledge of outside sources such as outreach programs like Interface.
“Law enforcement in Ventura County takes domestic violence reports more seriously,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Frawley. “They follow up more than other counties. Even so, I think everybody can agree that domestic violence is still underreported.” Sternad agrees that educating the public is one way to cut down on domestic violence situations. “Interface uses outreach programs to help stop abuse before it happens,” he said, “and a school program is used to educate families that are at risk.”
“We are definitely seeing high levels of stress in families during the holidays,” he said. “This is really contributing to the abuse of children and spouses. Because of what we are seeing, we have doubled the amount of preventative education in schools, but funds are short.”
Source: Camarillo Acorn, County’s domestic violence rate one of highest in California, November 28, 2014
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