ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque city councilor is working to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to report their abuse to the police. “We know New Mexico is one of the leading states in the country for domestic violence,” said City Councilor Pat Davis.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men in New Mexico have been victims of domestic violence. But Davis says so much of that abuse goes unreported. Vincent Galbiati, the Executive Director for the Albuquerque Domestic Violence Resource Center, says there are a lot of reasons why including fear of their own arrest.
So Davis is sponsoring a resolution that calls on the Albuquerque Police Department to adopt a Safe Harbor Policy. It would allow victims to report incidents of domestic violence, or sexual assault against them, without any threat of being arrested for outstanding warrants. Davis says it doesn’t mean that pending cases will go away, but so long as they’re not wanted for a violent crime, they’ll address those warrants after getting the victim the help and resources they need.
“We want to make it absolutely clear that if you’re the victim of violence and you call APD, we’re going to place your safety and care before anything else,” said Davis. “We’ll deal with those other things some other time,” Davis told KRQE.
Galbiati says the resolution is a good step in the right direction and will help build trust with a vulnerable population. “For us, it’s relatively easy to get behind because victims are so compromised by their abusers that we look for ways to break down barriers,” said Galbiati.
The resolution will be presented at the city council meeting on Monday, April 5. Davis says if a Safe Harbor Policy is adopted, APD could be a national model for other departments across the country.