Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Domestic Violence

Kerry Klein

The California Report recently reported on a 2013 case of domestic violence in which the alleged abuser was a Clovis police officer. Though that particular instance occurred six years ago, domestic violence remains commonplace in the San Joaquin Valley—in fact, local law enforcement agencies warned in May that cases appear to be increasing.

This week on Valley Edition: Rates of domestic violence appear to be climbing in the Central Valley. How pervasive is it, and what’s behind the increase? We bring you the story of one survivor whose abuser was a Clovis cop.

We also hear from mental health educators who work with high schoolers and other youth. Kids are learning the signs of mental illness, and if a career in mental health is for them.

Later, we talk about a festival brewing in Lemoore, and it’s all about lagers, IPAs, and ales to name a few.

Immigrants who are fleeing domestic or gang violence can seek asylum once again.

 

On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down a decision made by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in June. Sessions’ decision disqualified domestic and gang violence claims for people applying for asylum.

 

The ACLU and the University of California’s Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies filed a class action lawsuit challenging that decision in August.

 

Genoveva Islas

A Fresno-based organization that helps Valley communities access healthy foods and safe places to exercise is spreading its reach to help prevent domestic violence among Latina immigrants. Cultiva La Salud was awarded a grant that was awarded by the non-profit Prevention Institute and the Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Listen to the above interview to hear Genoveva Islas, program director for Cultiva La Salud, talk about what the grant covers and what they will do with the funding.

Kern County District Attorney's Office

In the last 10 days, Bakersfield has been the site of two high-profile attacks: In one, a man and a woman were stabbed in a Starbucks; a few days later, another man gunned down his ex-wife and four other people in east Bakersfield before turning the gun on himself. On their face, these two crimes don’t have a lot in common; but at the root of both was domestic violence, which in 2017 was responsible for almost 7,000 calls for help in Kern County alone.

Monica Velez

The soft chatter in the waiting room at the Yarra Law Group offices in Fresno are muffled by a Food Network show playing on TV. Receptionist tap their keyboards and answer phone calls. 

A 23-year-old woman from El Salvador, who we’ll call Ana, is among the dozen people in the room. A receptionist calls her name and she goes in to see her immigration attorney, Jeremy Clason. He’s preparing documents he’ll eventually file with the immigration court in San Francisco. She speaks to him softly as she begins to tell her story.

Laura Tsutsui

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions made changes to the qualifications of those seeking asylum in the United States. Now, people fleeing domestic or gang violence no longer qualify for asylum. 

To be granted asylum, people have to prove they’re in fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion. An immigration appeals court during the Obama administration ruled those fearing domestic and gang violence fall into the “social group” category. Sessions overturned that decision.  

Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Today marks the final day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Across the United States, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, law enforcement agencies receive 15-20,000 reports of domestic violence each year.

In an effort to reduce these crimes in Tulare County, the sheriff’s office earlier this month announced a new strategy for fighting domestic violence—one they hope will aid not just in responding to reported crimes, but also in preventing future ones.

Jeffrey Hess

October is domestic violence awareness month, a time police and advocates have set aside to highlight how common intimate partner violence is and encourage people to seek help. It’s acutely problematic in Fresno County, where authorities receive a shockingly high number of calls reporting domestic violence. That left our news team wondering: Why?

Fresno police are forming a dedicated unit to go after domestic violence offenders because domestic violence calls and charges are up.

Domestic violence crimes are up more than thirty percent in 2016 compared to the same time last year.

That is on top of three years of increasing reports of domestic violence in the City of Fresno.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer has formed a domestic violence task force to go after offenders, 83 of which have currently have outstanding arrest warrants.

City of Fresno

Fresno Fire Department Chief Rob Brown was placed on administrative leave today by City Manager Mark Scott. The move comes hours after Brown was arrested by Fresno County sheriff's deputies after an alleged domestic violence incident at his Fresno home late Wednesday night. 

According to the Fresno County Sheriff's Department, Brown was arrested on charges of felony domestic violence and criminal threats. Jail logs indicate that Brown was released from the Fresno County Jail on bond early Thursday morning.