SF mayor, DA launch domestic violence campaign

December 13, 2012 7:28:37 PM PST
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is launching a new domestic violence awareness campaign. This comes at the end of a year of major publicity over a public official caught up on domestic violence charges. That case put the mayor and the sheriff at odds.

We are talking of course about Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's domestic violence charge and his eventual misdemeanor plea agreement and then the mayor's unsuccessful attempt to oust the sheriff from his job. But on Thursday, everyone ABC7 talked to insisted, this isn't political.

The mayor's outer office was packed with advocates from women's shelters, with police officers and prosecutors, as the mayor announced his new public awareness campaign.

"Domestic violence goes up during the holidays. There's a lot of depression that goes along with holidays and we understand that, so 'Peace At Home' is a campaign to try and address that right away," said Lee.

Not attending Thursday's launch was the sheriff or anyone from the sheriff's department.

"Well, they're not part of this piece of legislation," said Lee.

The mayor denied that this campaign was aimed in anyway at the sheriff. Though he and board president David Chu and District Attorney George Gascon have all been part of the push to get rid of sheriff Mirkarimi, after Mirkarimi bruised his wife's arm during an argument last New Year's Eve.

Chu and Gascon both said Thursday's push isn't about that.

"This is really about protecting victims of domestic violence," said Gascon.

"The number of calls to our local hotlines has increased by 47 percent," said Chu.

Chu says the domestic violence awareness campaign is needed because the numbers are going the wrong way.

There's been more coverage of domestic violence issues because of the Mirkarimi case, than San Francisco experts have seen in well, maybe forever.

"I think you're right in that certainly the message has been amplified from City Hall and we're very glad to see it because it is work we've been doing every day for 30 years," said Beverly Upton from the Domestic Violence Consortium.

We caught up with Mirkarimi in front of the Women's Resource Center, where he's taking part in the sheriff's toy drive. We asked him if the mayor or the district attorney had changed their opposition in working with him on their domestic violence campaign.

"There hasn't been a conversation by them directly with me, but I continue to reach out to them," said Mirkarimi.

The sheriff says he isn't about to resign, but he isn't paying attention to new efforts to have him recalled.

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