The city has established the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Commission during Domestic Violence Month.
The task force has studied the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors for the last two years and has made 39 recommendations on where services could be improved. It also looks at preventive strategies and responses to be able to improve the lives of victims, as well as making the committee a permanent task force commission.
Mayor Tim Keller, along with City Councilors Tammy Fiebelkorn, Renee Grout, Trudy Jones and Klarissa Peña, will put forward legislation to establish a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Commission permanently to address domestic violence and better support survivors.
Keller’s administration made it a priority to clear the rape kit backlog plaguing New Mexico in 2021, which was a decades-long pursuit. Now, the administration hopes the commission will reduce the incidence of domestic violence and sexual assault with better employee training and informing the public on recognition and prevention as well as assessing and assuring that the necessary services, policies and programs are funded and provided to those in need.
“We have to work together so that can make sure our city has the services and programs to support some of our most vulnerable populations,” Keller said. “Our community needs a permanent commission working to address gaps in the system that keep folks at risk for domestic violence and assault.”
Jones said, “It’s important that we work with survivors, advocates and other agencies to improve prevention and intervention efforts around domestic violence and sexual assault and to better serve those impacted by it. This commission provides a framework for that collaboration.”
Fiebelkorn said, “We need to do everything in our power to stop domestic violence. This commission will enable the development of long-term plans to reduce violence, improve services for victims and make sure that everyone in our community feels safe in their own home.”
According to S.A.F.E. House NM, a 2015 report by the Survey of the New Mexico Interpersonal Violence Data Central Repository found there were 17,757 domestic violence incidents reported to statewide law enforcement agencies, Bernalillo County accounting for 8,068 (45%) of those reports. During the same reporting period, 7,054 children were present at a domestic violence incident. The majority of victims of intimate partner domestic violence are women. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 34.4% of New Mexican women and 29.1% of New Mexican men experience intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence and/or partner stalking in their lifetimes. It is estimated 1 in 3 New Mexico women has experienced domestic violence and only 1 out of 10 incidents of domestic violence is ever reported.
Anyone in a dangerous situation can find a list of local resources here or call S.A.F.E. House NM at 505-247-4219 or 800-773-3645. People can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.