policeblotter_sfa.jpgSan Francisco police and city officials gathered outside City Hall Wednesday to announce new tools to address the problems of domestic and family violence.

In the past few months, the Police Department has developed a protocol for temporary visas to assist immigrant victims, begun using new police radio codes to signify reports of child or elder abuse, and dedicated two inspectors inside the department’s domestic violence unit to stalking cases.

Emily Murase, executive director of the city’s Department on the Status of Women, said these are “crimes hidden from law enforcement” because they involve victims who are scared to report family members abusing them or are worried about being deported.

The U-Visa, authorized by Congress in 2000, allows immigrant victims of domestic violence and other crimes to gain temporary residency in the U.S. for up to four years if they cooperate with authorities in their investigation into the case.

The Police Department established a protocol last month to deal with U-Visa applicants, who must go to the Domestic Violence Response Unit at the San Francisco Hall of Justice where officials will determine if they are eligible to qualify.

Last month the department also began using new police radio codes to better identify elder and child abuse cases, and in December began dedicating two inspectors to stalking cases.

Beverly Upton, executive director of the Domestic Violence Consortium, said “all of this is a great step forward for the city,” which she said has seen a drastic reduction in fatal domestic violence cases in the past decade.

Police Chief Jeff Godown and Supervisors David Chiu and Ross Mirkarimi were among the other dignitaries at this afternoon’s event.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!