When you’re the survivor of domestic violence, you have immediate concerns that have to be addressed. Your ongoing safety is the number one concern you probably have — followed quickly by trying to minimize the effect of domestic violence on other areas of your life.
If you live in San Francisco, you might not have a lot of luck getting the one thing that you need the most in order to obtain a restraining order and take advantage of your right to take off work in order to go to court, move or otherwise manage the situation: the police report about your case.
Since 1999, police in California have been legally required to provide incident reports to the victims of stalking, human trafficking, abuse and similar crimes within five days of an incident report being taken. However, police in San Francisco have routinely delayed the release of these reports for sometimes months at a time because the cases were “under investigation.”
Victims and their representatives in the area have had enough. The Bay Area Legal Aid society has threatened to sue after months of being patient and being left in the dark about the progress that was supposedly being made. That’s prompted the city’s chief of police to agree to fix the problem and work out internal procedures to avoid any further issues.
Just the same, some victim advocates have indicated that they think the department is still taking too long. New procedures may not fully be in place until July. Some city officials have called the failure to comply with a long-standing law designed to protect victims “embarrassing.”
If you’re the victim of domestic violence, you have rights that need to be protected. A strong advocacy in court can help you turn a temporary protective order into a permanent one.