San Antonio: Social distancing doesn’t mean safety distancing

 For members of the media, please contact:
 Laura Mayes, City of San Antonio (210) 207-1337
 Michelle Vigil, City of San Antonio (210) 207-8172

 For questions from the general public, please contact:
 COVID-19 Hotline (210) 207-5779

SAN ANTONIO (April 7, 2020) — The San Antonio Police Department has reported a more than 18 percent increase in calls for service relating to family violence in March when compared to the same period of time last year. As residents continue practicing social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, the City and County remind residents that social distancing does not mean distancing yourself from safety or shelter from harm.

 "Right now, many people in our community are experiencing immense challenges and are under extreme stress due to COVID-19," said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. "We know that domestic violence and child abuse happen behind closed doors and so we want to remind people to check on their loved ones during this time to ensure their mental well-being and physical safety."

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 People who need help or shelter from family violence should call 911 for life threatening emergencies. To make a safety plan or report suspected abuse, call 210-207-SAPD. Family Violence Prevention Services can provide support for those seeking shelter by calling 210-733-8810.

 "In a stricter move to protect our staff and the community, we have no choice but to do what most are being asked to do: stay home. Even with a limited staff, our focus continues to be the safety of our community," said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.

 As a result of the joint "Stay Home Work Safe" orders of Bexar County and the City of San Antonio, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office has instructed much of its staff to follow the order and stay home. However, some of its staff are necessary for the purposes of protective orders, magistration, grand jury presentations, intake review of new arrest cases and limited court hearings for pending cases.

 When necessary, County staff may contact victims and witnesses by phone to discuss cases but will not meet face-to-face as long as the threat of COVID-19 remains in the community.

 To apply for a protective order, call 210-631-0100 to begin the process. Applicants who meet the required legal criteria will come to the Family Justice Center by appointment only to sign a sworn affidavit. Starting today, applicants may also fill out the intake form online here: The form may be submitted online or by mail.

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Child abuse prevention information
 The City of San Antonio's positive parenting program (Triple P) gives parents simple and practical strategies to help them build strong, healthy relationships, confidently manage their children's behavior and prevent problems from developing. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District will partner with area school districts to disseminate this information to parents.

 In addition, the San Antonio Police Department continues to work with local school districts through its Handle with Care program. Any incident where a student is a victim or a witness to a violent crime is reported to the schools so that counselors and staff can follow-up with the students to help them navigate the difficult circumstances.

 If a person or someone they know needs help, they should call the Family Violence Prevention Services Crisis Intervention Hotline at (210) 733-8810 to speak with a hotline specialist, 24 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year.

Dial 911 to report an emergency.stats

Filed Under: Government, City

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