The Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) has four Domestic Violence (DV) Specialists, three of whom work under the Early Intervention and Community Services Bureau and one of whom works under the South County Bureau. DV Specialists provide information and resource referrals to families involved in domestic violence incidents. Another part of the job assignment is conducting Emergency Response investigations.
In North County, two of the DV Specialists are located at the Family Violence Center, 125 East Gish Road, San Jose, CA. 95112. The other is located a the Sheriff's Department,
55 West Younger Ave., San Jose, CA 95110. All police reports from the San Jose Police Department, Sheriff's Department and Santa Clara Police Department that involve domestic violence in which the suspect or victim has children are reviewed by a DFCS Domestic Violence (DV) Specialist. They are forwarded to the Child Abuse and Neglect Center (CANC) for a response priority determination.
The DV Specialist in South County is located at the Gilroy Family Center, 7350 Rosanna Street, Gilroy, CA, 95020. The DV Specialist in South County investigates referrals involving domestic violence in which the incident occurred in a jurisdiction served by South County.
|DV Specialist Responsibilities at the Family Violence Center and Sheriff's Department
The DV Specialists at the Family Violence Center and Sheriff's Department:
- Review all law enforcement reports forwarded to them after review by the Domestic Violence Sergeant.
- DV specialists out-stationed at the Family Violence Center review police reports from the San Jose Police Department.
- The DV specialist out-stationed at the Sheriff's Office reviews police reports from the Sheriff's Department and the Santa Clara Police Department.
- ID in CWS/CMS the names of the family members identified in the reports to obtain child abuse referral history.
- Review prior child abuse and neglect referrals found in CWS/CMS.
- It is important to read Screener and Investigation Narratives from previous child abuse history to determine risk factors and patterns of domestic violence.
- Determine if the report is a high risk situation, based upon information gathered from the law enforcement report and CWS/CMS.
|If the assessment is made that..
||Then the DV Specialists..
| The situation is immediate high risk
||Immediately send the report to the CANC for assignment for an in-person response.
|The situation is not immediate high risk
Keep the report to provide information and referral services to the family. The specialists:
- Send a courtesy letter to the person identified as the victim in the report.
- The letter introduces the DV Specialist and briefly discusses the impact of domestic violence on children.
- Follow-up the letter with a telephone call to the victim.
- Assess from the report and CWS/CMS history whether sending a letter to the person identified as the suspect in the report would compromise the victim's safety.
- Do not send a letter to the suspect if it is reported that the victim expressed fear of the suspect or there was a threat by the suspect to harm the victim.
- If contacted by the victim after the victim receives the courtesy letter and the victim confirms that it is safe to send a letter to the suspect, send a courtesy letter to the suspect.
- Discuss with the respondents the impact of domestic violence on children.
- Provide information on community resources to the respondents.
- Document on a 909:
- Efforts to contact the family members.
- The discussion during any contacts actually made.
- Any referrals to community resources that are provided to the respondent.
||Then the DV Specialists..
|The reports that the DV Specialists keep to work indicate that the children were not in the vicinity of the domestic violence incident and there is no child abuse history involving domestic violence
- Log the report.
- Do not send the report to the CANC for CWS/CMS inputting.
- File the report with documentation.
- Files are kept for one year.
|The reports that the DV Specialists keep to work indicate that the children were in the vicinity of the domestic violence incident but do not appear to be impacted and/or there is minimal child abuse history involving domestic violence
Send the report along with the 909 documentation to the CANC for inputting into CWS/CMS and filing.
- These types of reports are generally evaluated out by the Screening social worker.
|There is no response to the telephone calls or courtesy letters sent by the specialists
||Send the report along with 909 documentation to the CANC for CWS/CMS inputting and filing.
|What Determines a High Risk Case
When receiving a report, the DV Specialist considers the following factors in assessing risk to the child:
- Age of the child(ren)
- Younger children are more at risk, however, older children are also often at high risk because they may try to intervene.
- Level of violence during the incident
- Was there a report of strangulation, objects being used, items being thrown, preventing victim from calling police, child hurt during incident?
- Victim's level of cooperation with police
- Was the victim uncooperative with police and denied domestic violence occurred despite clear evidence that it did occur?
- Numerous prior undocumented domestic violence incidents as stated by the victim or witnesses in the report
- Multiple child abuse referrals which involve domestic violence
- Intentional violation of restraining orders by the victim
- Substance abuse
- The child(ren)'s emotional state/reaction to the domestic violence incident
- The child(ren) reporting witnessing on-going violence in the home
- Whether the suspect is on parole/probation for a violent offense
- This is sometimes mentioned in the report.
- The level of understanding/cooperation by the victim once contact is made the the domestic violence specialist
- Include in documentation if, after talking to the victim, it is assessed that the victim does not have a clear understanding of the impact of violence on his/her child(ren)'s safety and well-being.
|DV Specialist in South County
The role of the DV Specialist in South County differs from that of the DV Specialists in North County in that the South County specialist is not out-stationed and does not review police reports.
The DV Specialist in South County:
- Is assigned referrals received through the CANC, including those involving domestic violence, for Emergency Response investigation.
- Completes Court-ordered Domestic Violence Assessments.
- Serves as a member of the Domestic Violence Response Team in South County.