By Gladys B. Vargas
October in Oxnard is officially Domestic Violence Awareness Month, after a proclamation by the Mayor in a city council meeting earlier this month.
Mayor John Zaragoza presented the ceremonial item alongside fellow city council members, and members of the city police department.
“Domestic violence awareness month provides an excellent opportunity for residents to learn more about preventing domestic violence and to show support for the numerous organizations and individuals who provide critical advocacy, services, and assistance to victims,” Zaragoza said, reading from the declaration.
Oxnard Police sergeant Dale McAlpine also spoke on the item on behalf of the department. Members of the OPD Investigative Services Bureau were also present, including detectives Manny Perez, Lucy Buttell, Mayra Gonzalez, Mary Panza, and Juan Morales.
“Domestic violence is one of those dark topics that people don’t like to talk about, but it’s important that we take a stand, both as a community and as a police department,” Dale said. “If you see something that doesn’t look right, you stand up and you say something.”
Just a week before the city council meeting, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced it would proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness month on the 10th.
District Attorney Erik Nasarenko also shared that the DA’s office had applied for and received a grant for $202,545 toward “efforts to prosecute domestic violence cases,” and supporting victims with resources through the Ventura County Family Justice Center. The center is currently located in Ventura, though the same announcement shared that a new location in Oxnard is “under development.”
“We definitely are ready to have the center in Oxnard,” Sandra Avila, Victim Advocate Supervisor for the county, told VIDA Newspaper. “It’s definitely something that’s going to be worthy to be able to provide these services to the clients that we serve in the Oxnard area and surrounding areas.”
According to Avila, 45 percent of the clients that the Family Justice Center in Ventura has assisted have been coming from the Oxnard area, including Oxnard, Port of Hueneme, and specifically some from El Rio neighborhood.
“We’re trying to make sure that we are able to assist them with services in the, in the area that they’re coming from,” Avila said. Some clients, she said, have to commute on public buses for “at least an hour or so, depending on what part they are coming from.”
Avila said the opening of the center, named after former Supervisor and longtime activist Carmen Ramirez, is slated to open early 2025 in Downtown Oxnard. The building already houses organizations that the family justice center in Ventura partners with.
“Domestic Violence Awareness Month empowers survivors, educates the public, and advocates for policies and resources that can help prevent and combat the vicious cycle of inter-personal violence,” Nasarenko said. “By shedding light on this problem, we take a significant step towards breaking the cycle of inter-generational abuse.”