San Antonio/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on June 13, 2024
San Antonio Mandates Domestic Violence Info Signs in Public Restrooms Amid Rising Abuse CasesSource: City of San Antonio

In a city grappling with a significant domestic violence issue, San Antonio's Metro Health has unfolded an ordinance that requires all publicly accessible restrooms, excluding schools and places of worship, to display signs with essential resources for domestic violence victims. This new mandate, as reported by FOX San Antonio, is part of a broader plan to tackle the city's rising reports of domestic abuse, with SAPD receiving over 71,000 calls in 2021, which marked a 5% increase from the year prior.

"We rank third in the state for the number of domestic violence murders at the hands of an an intimate partner," Carol Schliesinger, Policy and Operations Program Manager for Violence Prevention at Metro Health, told FOX San Antonio. The signs are a strategic step towards assisting individuals in potentially dangerous situations, offering information such as how to obtain a protective order, access legal services, and file a police report. Schliesinger further explained the community-wide initiative, noting how Metro Health representatives are "visiting businesses every day throughout the city, sharing the signs and educating the community."

About 65,000 restrooms across San Antonio will carry these signs, a measure lauded by Marta Palaez from Family Violence Prevention Services. She described the impact of this ordinance as potentially a ‘multiplier’ for community efforts, stating to FOX San Antonio, "In no plain view to anyone but just her very eyes, [the victim] will be able to take that number and save her life, or maybe save the life of her sister, her best friend, her mother."

Hoodline's report on the subject details the specifics of the ordinance's requirements, with sign placement to be at the bottom right corner of restroom mirrors or, in absence of a a mirror, on the back of the exit door at eye level. Should establishments be found non-compliant, enforcement will chiefly be complaint-driven, yet routine inspections could also bring transgressions to light. Metro Health is providing the necessary signage free of charge, obtainable via a simple call to 3-1-1 or by downloading a printable version from the DVSigns website.

As establishments across the city of San Antonio begin the implementation of this new ordinance, the potential for spaces historically reserved for personal hygiene to also serve as a channel for critical help becomes increasingly tangible. This initiative underpins the ongoing "Love Is…" campaign spearheaded by Metro Health, designed to foster a culture of healthy relationships amidst troubling times.