Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women nationwide. On Tuesday, the City of Albuquerque announced the creation of a new task force that will bring together advocates and representatives from the city, Bernalillo County and the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department to recommend how the city could spend money, make policy and coordinate between agencies to prevent domestic violence.
Kena Chavez Hinojos, from the Pueblo of Cochiti and the Hopi tribe, is an advocate with Haven House Shelter and a survivor of domestic violence who’ll serve on the task force. She says the city’s efforts should aim to lessen the trauma that a victim goes through when they seek help.
"For instance, when the police come out, with the call time, if there was some way we could get an advocate to that person prior, that is something I wanted to look into," said Chavez Hinojos.
Another member of the task force is Juliann Salinas with Enlace Comunitario. She says it’s important for the City to recognize the intersecting barriers that survivors face in trying to get free.
"Whether that’s their documentation status, whether that’s their ability to take paid time off work, all these different issues may seem disjointed but actually all compound the trauma of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault," said Salinas.
She said having police officers and service providers who speak the same language as the victim is also crucial.
The task force is expected to make a report to the City by next August.
You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Find a list of domestic violence services in New Mexico here.
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