Abused pregnant women finding support from SAPD crisis response team

Recent update in Texas law makes all assaults against pregnant women a third-degree felony

More than 320,000 pregnant women are abused during pregnancy each year, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

SAN ANTONIO - – More than 320,000 pregnant women are abused during pregnancy each year, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

It’s an issue directly attended to by members of the San Antonio Police Department’s Crisis Response Team, which focuses solely on domestic violence cases and following up with survivors through the entire process.

February will mark one year SAPD Officer Christopher Torres has been with the Southside substation’s CRT.

“It’s been an eye opener,” Torres said. “Being a patrolman, we get out there and just handle the report. We turn it in and we don’t see anything else with it. Now being a part of the CRT, I get to pick up the case, see it from start to finish, the judicial process, being involved with the victims, getting them the resources they need. So it’s more of hands on.”

A noticeable realization was the number of pregnant abuse victims CRT officers assist.

One in every six abused women experiences abuse for the first time during pregnancy, according to the the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Experts report existing abuse often gets worse during pregnancy, and it’s even harder for those women to leave.

“They feel they’re going to be out alone with no financial support, no support by family members as far as caring for that child, child care. There are so many reasons,” Torres said

A state law updated Sept. 1, 2019 specified that assaults on pregnant women were a third degree felony, and those cases are now separately recorded.

Since then, there have been 251 reported assaults on pregnant women in San Antonio.

Not all of those reports involve domestic violence, but the ones that do allow officers like Torres to build stronger cases.

“It’s a third-degree felony, there are severe consequences for the batterer. We’re able to actually go out and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” Torres said.

He wants the women to know if they’re able to safely leave, they will have support for housing, counseling, child car and legal issues.

How to create a domestic violence safety plan in case of emergency

“We get so involved in our cases we build relationships and we stay in touch,” he said.

The resources ensure these women no longer have to put their life and their baby’s life at risk.

If you need to get in touch with a CRT officer, you can contact them at each specific substation. Or you can call the SAPD non-emergency number at 210-207-7273.

There is also a long list of resources on the KSAT.com Domestic Violence Page.

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.