Chief Deputy DA says domestic violence reports up by 15% to 20% in past month

April 21, 2020
131 reports of abuse
Page 1 

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times

Domestic violence reports have increased by 15% to 20% with a sharp upswing in just the last month, according to a county official.

During this unprecedented time, many are faced with the additional challenges caused by health concerns, job loss, childcare, homeschooling, housing and food instability, and a host of other psychological and physical stressors. Any one of these challenges can be flashpoints for domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, sexual violence, and other forms of interpersonal violence.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Jump, who oversees the victims and community services division and is the director of the Ventura County Justice Center, said during a Monday news briefing that there are many more “now suffering behind closed doors. The pandemic made life difficult for all and even more difficult if you’re a child, or elderly, or a person with disabilities or a battered woman whose home is not safe to begin with.”

Jump said usually Ventura County would be celebrating Crime Victims Week, but District Attorney Gregory Totten sent out a statement that the traditional ceremony supporting crime victims had been canceled.

Jump said in the briefing that those in Ventura County who worked with and for the more than 6,000 victims last year “did so with grace,” and that victims of crime show “courage and resilience that is inspiring and makes it possible to hold offenders accountable.

But Crime Victims Week also is on the heels of a milestone: “This last month, the Family Justice Center has seen over 131 victims of interpersonal violence, nearly all of that happening in the home.”

Jump said 80 were victims of domestic violence, 19 children who were sexually assaulted, and 18 adults who were sexually assaulted and raped.

“Fourteen, sadly,” said Jump, are victims of elder abuse, “and all of this in the span of a month.”

Nationwide, domestic violence, murder, murder-suicide and suicide are increasing, and often victims have almost no way out.

“Many victims do not have the privacy or the ability to contact law enforcement or intervention services before their situation escalates to violence,” said Jump. “It is not uncommon to see victims simply show up at a hospital with brutal and sometimes near-fatal injuries. We know this because of the violence intervention program,” or VIP, a program that was started at Ventura County Medical Center where Jump said victims can be connected immediately with an advocate prior to their release.

He urged others that it is “a time to act” if one knows of a friend or family member or neighbor being abused. He said either the Family Justice Center or other organizations will help protect the victim and their family.

“If it is an emergency, please don’t wait — call 911 immediately. If you see something, you have to say something. If you, right now, are being abused, seek help now, but safely. … Be mindful of your safety, your privacy, the privacy of your home computer and Internet connection.”

There are numerous services available, said Jump. “You don’t need to stay at home and be abused.”

Totten noted that April 19 to 25 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and this year’s theme — seek justice, ensure victims’ rights and inspire hope — is in keeping “with the long-standing mission of the District Attorney’s Office to raise awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights and provide our community with information about services and resources.”

Since 1981, the men and women of the District Attorney’s Office have joined with victims, their loved ones, community leaders, local law enforcement, and advocacy partners in a public ceremony and march to reflect the unity of our community’s support for victims of crime. Public awareness is essential to propel the victims’ rights movement forward, inspiring in victims and their loved ones feelings of hope, justice, and healing. “Observance of Public Health orders and social-distancing practices prevent us from gathering in a public setting,“ said Totten, “but this national observance is of great importance. Let us all remember the personal stories of loss, survival, independence, strength, and resilience of crime victims and survivors and reflect upon them.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of one of these crimes, there is help. Call the Family Justice Center at 805-652-7655, email, or visit for more information regarding the partners and services available. Resources and contacts are also available at In an emergency, call 911.

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