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Domestic violence was pushed further into the shadows during the pandemic and the system routinely fails survivors

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Nearly 20 people per minute in the U.S. are physically abused by a significant other, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Bexar County has a particularly problematic history of intimate partner killings and family violence homicides, and many more non-lethal assaults.

The San Antonio Police Department says it receives an average of 40,000 family violence-related calls every year. Officers filed 14,050 reports on family violence incidents in 2020, which is up 55% compared to 2014.

Measures implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus have only exacerbated the crisis of intimate partner violence for both women and men. Now that those measures are eased, what is the state of domestic violence and justice for its survivors in Bexar County?

A new Express-News investigative series looks at the epidemic of domestic and intimate partner violence in San Antonio, how the system continues to fail survivors, and how — despite forming a commission to address the issue two years ago — the city is still “behind the curve in addressing family violence in significant ways.”

Why is domestic violence so prevalent in San Antonio? What additional education, awareness and enforcement is needed to effect real change?

Why do abusers have such high dismissal and low conviction rates? How do systemic failures erode survivors’ trust that justice will be served?

What progress has been made since the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence was established? How much momentum was lost amid the pandemic and what’s being done now to renew focus and regain ground?

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), the City of San Antonio Domestic Violence Hotline at 210-207-1878 or the Family Violence Prevention Services 24/7 Hotline at 210-733-8810.

Guest: Emilie Eaton, criminal justice reporter for the San Antonio Express-News

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet@TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, November 15.

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