SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department is fighting back against domestic violence by hosting the first-ever Violence Intervention Conference.
The event is being held through Thursday at Our Lady of the Lake University in observance of National Domestic Violence Month.
Beginning in 2007, San Antonio police began pushing to help victims of domestic violence.
"We've changed policies (and) created a family violence unit where it didn't exist before. We've created that unit to better help us deal with the issue," said San Antonio police Chief William McManus.
The Violence Intervention Conference is their latest effort at strengthening community response.
The department organized the event to bring together professionals and advocates who deal with victims of domestic violence in hopes that they can work together to battle the problem.
About 200 people are expected to attend the conference, including government agencies, law enforcement, medical staff and social workers.
"The police department's not going to solve this on its own," said Jane Shafer, with SAPD's Victim's Advocacy Unit. "We all need to come together and see how ... we (can) better serve the victim and make sure there's justice so that the perpetrator is punished."
Shafer encourages the entire community to get involved in helping to break the cycle of domestic violence.
"If you know someone that's in a violent relationship, or a relationship that you're concerned about, don't hesitate to offer some suggestions to at least call the police department, call the Family Justice Center, call the Battered Women's Shelter. There's help out there, so don't stay because you think you're all alone," she said.