A new report detailing local domestic violence statistics from 2021 showed increases in domestic violence calls and filed reports within San Antonio city limits and in unincorporated Bexar County areas compared with similar data from 2020.
However, the San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff’s Office each reported a slight drop in family violence homicides between 2020 and 2021, according to the new report.
The Joint City County Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence released the 2021 annual statistical report on Oct. 20. This is the second year the CCDV compiled such data offered by commission members with the intent of providing a complete picture of the state of domestic violence in Bexar County, a news release said.
According to the report, the SAPD received more than 71,000 family violence calls in 2021, resulting in 20,000-plus family violence incident reports filed. There was a 5% increase in family violence calls and a 20% increase in family violence incident reports filed between 2020 to 2021, the report said.
In 2021, the SAPD reported 22 family violence homicides—down from 30 in 2020.
The BCSO in 2021 filed slightly more than 2,100 family violence cases, a 17% increase from the previous year. In 2021, the BCSO reported two family violence homicides, down from six in 2020.
Additionally, the report said that within the Bexar County District Attorney’s Family Violence Division, the Protective Order Division saw a 23% increase of protective order petitions filed in civil district courts in 2021 over 2020.
There was also a 5% increase in incoming felony family violence and sexual assault bookings, a 10% increase in misdemeanor family violence bookings, and a 7% decrease in family violence and sexual assault indictments, the report showed.
The Center for Health Care Services, which serves as the local mental health authority, saw an increase of 4.7% for adults and 9.2% for children who have witnessed family violence, the report said.
The 211 Texas hotline, which connects residents with various community services, reported an average 12% decrease in categories of calls for family violence-related assistance—from legal services and counseling to shelter and housing—between 2020 and 2021.
Commission members said the intent of the annual report is to raise awareness about domestic violence by providing the statistics compiled by law enforcement, the criminal justice system, nonprofits and the health care system.
A news release about the report said the indicators shown in the document allow the reader to gain a clearer, more comprehensive understanding of the way domestic violence affects survivors, children and offenders each year.
“We’ve made strides in establishing new resources, building stronger networks of support with nonprofits and partners, as well as raising awareness about the signs of domestic violence, but there is still much more work to do,” said Maria Villagomez, deputy city manager and CCDV co-chair.
Judge and CCDV co-chair Monique Diaz said the report provides the community a vital tool for transparency, accountability and evaluation of the complex issue of domestic violence in Bexar County.
“We are committed to a sustained effort to spotlight this important issue, and we will continue to work collaboratively to bring healing to survivors, their children and offenders in furtherance of preventing generational cycles of abuse,” Diaz said.
According to a news release, in 2021, the CCDV collaborated with the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, University Health, the BCSO, Family Violence Prevention Services and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District to launch a navigation line to identify and aid domestic violence victims who may be at a higher risk for serious injury or death.
Of the 371 calls to the navigation line, 24% were identified as high-risk and were encouraged to seek shelter and help immediately. Of those high-risk cases, 45% sought shelter at the Battered Women’s and Children’s Shelter, a hotel, or with friends and family, the report said.
In addition, the Bexar County Community Supervision and Corrections Department supervised more than 20,000 court-ordered violence misdemeanor and felony cases in 2021, the report said.
Elsewhere, the Putting an End to Abuse through Community Efforts (P.E.A.C.E.) Initiative provided more than 580 educational trainings, sessions and speaking engagements to the community and medical, child protection, social service and other community stakeholders, the report showed.
FVPS provided shelter, transitional housing, counseling and legal services to 5,297 clients in 2021, while Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which provides free legal services to low-income persons, conducted more than 1,300 domestic violence and family law intakes in 2021.
Commission members said anyone experiencing domestic violence may call the FVPS 24/7 Hotline at 210-733-8810 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).