I am a former volunteer (18 years) at the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic (CROC), which assists survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in obtaining restraining orders against their abusers. CROC is located in the Women’s Building on 18th Street in San Francisco. I was dismayed to learn that last year, the San Francisco Superior Court notified CROC that they were cutting their contract by $65,000 because of their own budget deficit and they forewarned CROC that unless the budget improves, they can expect the remainder of their funding from them to be eliminated entirely in July 2018. This cutoff of funding will place CROC in desperate financial straits.
Last year, CROC provided free legal services to a total of 878 individuals, many of whom fall below the federal poverty guideline, are of limited-English proficiency, or are marginally housed.
The restraining order is made by the Family Court. It is made to stop physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking. The court can make this order against the abuser if the abuser is the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim, their boy/girlfriend or ex-boy/girlfriend, the other parent of the victim’s child, or a family member (parent, grandparent, sibling, child, or grandchild). The Court will also make custody and visitation orders regarding any children they share with the abusers and can make child and spousal support orders. The Court can also order the abuser to move out of the victim’s home and can sometimes make orders about items of property they own together or items of the victim’s the abuser has in his/her possession.
Given the #MeToo Movement, last year’s Women’s march on Washington, and Saturday’s Women’s March Bay Area, it seems incongruous to me that victims of domestic violence, who are primarily women, should take a back seat to other victims of sexual violence and a movement to empower women.
Surely, the City of San Francisco or another source can be found to fund the vital services provided by CROC.Filed under: San Francisco News