City Council members strategize to combat intimate partner violence

City leaders hoping to use budget money to create plan

SAN ANTONIO – Regardless of sexual orientation, age or race, City Council members say family violence is a growing problem in the community that must be tackled.

“In San Antonio, we're seeing that the rates are alarmingly different than in other cities around the United States,” District 8 City Councilman Manny Pelaez said.

He said 1 in 3 women in San Antonio have a domestic violence story to tell, but the problem of intimate partner violence is also growing among the LGBTQ community.

“Members of that community, are experiencing domestic violence, intimate partner violence, in increased rates than violence in the heterosexual community,” Pelaez said.

District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales teamed up with Pelaez, hoping to use city funds to create a comprehensive approach to quell intimate partner violence and focus on response, education and prevention.

“My initial thought is that we would just increase fundings to programs that already exist,” Gonzales said.

Some of the programs include Family Violence Prevention Services, the Peace Initiative, Family Services Association and the San Antonio Police Department.

“I have a 'promotores' program that I piloted in District 5 to directly work with women who had incidents of child abuse," Gonzales said.

Both Gonzales and Pelaez said this is an urgent and crucial issue that stretches across district council lines and exceeds partisanship.

“I think there is a realization on the part of my colleagues on the council that this very much threatens our community's ability to thrive,” Pelaez said.

At the end of June, there will be a budget prioritization meeting where Pelaez and Gonzales will address the other council members to figure out what can be done to bring this plan to fruition. A vote is expected in October.