[KHTS] -Dozens of Santa Clarita residents were educated about the issue of domestic violence Thursday evening.
The second installment of “Signal Sessions,” hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, brought on a panel of leaders from the Santa Clarita Valley that are directly involved in addressing the issue of domestic violence.
Linda Davies, executive director for the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley, Dr. Joan Aschoff, president and CEO of the Child & Family Center and Captain Roosevelt Johnson with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station were the panelists at Thursday’s event.
Most people think about domestic violence as more of a physical assault, Davies said. People can be emotionally, physically, psychologically, sexually and financially abused as well.
“It’s important that we talk about awareness when we talk about the Domestic Violence Center and about domestic violence in our community,” said Davies. “People have to reach out first, I think that’s the reason why this is so important for us to talk about.
The Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley serves about 1,500 men, women and children each year.
“Worldwide, 275 million children are witnesses to domestic violence, 15 million here in the U.S.,” said Aschoff. “We often thought that witnessing domestic violence didn’t really necessarily have an impact on the children if they weren’t the direct object of the abuse. Now we know that that’s not true.”
The Child & Families center serves about 750 children and families and young adults each month, Aschoff said.
Aschoff added that domestic violence has a serious impact on children’s lives, even if they’re a witness to it.
“30 to 60 percent of children who are in a violent home are also abused sexually and physically in those homes,” Aschoff said. “Abusers usually do not draw the line between their intimate partners but that’s the way they control and resolve conflicts.”
The Child & Family Center teaches children a different way to resolve conflict and that violence and intimidation is not a way to get one’s needs met, said Aschoff.
“Providing (children) the safety and the support that they need in order to learn a new way of being is our role in this,” Aschoff said.
On an average year, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responds to more than 53,000 calls. About five to six percent of those calls are related to domestic violence, Roosevelt said.
“We’re going to have domestic violence advocates partnering with deputies on ride-alongs at the times where we see most of the domestic violences,” said Roosevelt. “We’ll have that person right there when we respond to those calls so they can intervene as quickly as possible.”
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station services the entire Santa Clarita Valley which encompases over 660 square miles and over 280,000 people.
“Domestic violence is an issue that is at the forefront of every law enforcement officer’s mind,” said Roosevelt. “Our job is to address and deal with the situation that we respond to, in doing so, we have an obligation to take some type of action.”