Anti-domestic violence campaign launches on Muni

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon honored Domestic Violence Awareness Month Wednesday by announcing a new awareness campaign on Muni and by urging professional sports leagues to denounce domestic violence by placing consequences on players for bad behavior.

Gascon said 2,000 advertisements printed in three languages will be placed on Muni lines around the city today and will remain through the end of October to remind victims that “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.”

The district attorney encouraged anyone who may find themselves in an abusive relationship to seek help from his office, community partners or the police department.

Gascon said his office is here to defend, advocate for and empower survivors of domestic abuse and that greater awareness about domestic violence is needed to reverse the increase in the number of domestic violence cases and felony domestic violence prosecutions that have come through his office in the last year.

Three domestic violence homicide cases occurred San Francisco this year, following a three-year period without any domestic violence homicides, Gascon said.

He said early intervention is the key to stopping abuse, with first time offenders often receiving 52-week counseling that can correct abusive behaviors. He assured victims that his office would remain an advocate for them from the day they step forward.

Gascon said his office would continue to prosecute offenders, obtain restraining orders for victims, help victims seeking restitution and child support as well as assist in custody battles and other issues that arise.

Beverly Upton, the executive director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, a network comprised of 17 domestic violence service agencies operating in multiple languages, said the city’s community organizations are working closely with law enforcement officials to stop “batterers” and protect victims.

Gascon said studies have shown that children who are raised in a home where domestic violence is considered normal are likely to perpetuate domestic abuse when they are older.

He said a lot of young people look up to players in the NFL and other professional sporting leagues as role models and that teams, owners and leagues need to make sure actions exhibited by players remain positive.

He urged sports leagues and teams to take the high road and vigilantly condemn domestic violence by penalizing players who exhibit such behaviors.