A Message from the CEO
Ed Mercurio-Sakwa speaks about a community-wide response.
Emerge! provides a wide array of life-saving and life-changing services to nearly 4,500 domestic abuse victims and their children every year. However, the effects of domestic abuse are far too expansive to be addressed by victim services alone. There are legal implications, trauma that requires long-term therapy, impacts on the victim’s health, economic abuse that impairs the victim’s ability to be financially self-sufficient, and many other issues that must be dealt with in order to alleviate domestic abuse. We must have a community-wide systemic response to domestic abuse. Our community needs this, and victims of abuse deserve nothing less.
Our community benefits when law enforcement officers are well-trained in the dynamics of domestic abuse, coercive control and the common tactics used by abusive partners. We benefit from law enforcement agencies, like the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, who go above and beyond to by taking a leadership role in the creation of a powerful DV taskforce that focuses on offender accountability and increased advocacy and safety planning for victims. There is also great benefit to on-scene support for victims when law enforcement has to be called out, such as that provided by the dedicated staff and volunteers of the Pima County Attorney’s Office Victim Services Division.
Our community benefits from prosecutors, like the Pima County Attorney’s Office and City of Tucson Prosecutor’s Office, who prioritize victim safety and work to hold all offenders accountable. We benefit from judges who, like Judge Wendy Million and Judge Jack Peyton, do not allow offenders to use the court system and legal process as just one more coercive tactic. We benefit from courts, like the City of Tucson Domestic Violence Court and the Pima County Superior Domestic Violence Court, that do not allow a victim’s fear of testifying to become a barrier to victim safety. We also benefit from the Pima County Adult Probation Department’s commitment to accountability for those convicted of domestic violence-related crimes. This not only creates opportunities to reduce the likelihood of new violence or other criminal acts, but through a partnership with Emerge!, provides the opportunity for probationers to learn how to change their coercive and controlling behaviors as well.
Our community benefits from the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence, and other public policy advocates, who push for legislation that actively supports victims of domestic abuse.
Our community benefits from having the resources to provide victims with legal assistance, employment skills, basic needs (diapers, household supplies, etc.), healthcare, counseling services, sexual assault response, housing assistance, child abuse services, education, immigration assistance, shelter for pets while the victim is in Emerge!’s shelter, and much more.
The effects of domestic abuse are far-reaching, long-lasting and often severe. Emerge! is fortunate to partner with so many wonderful people and organizations, and we look forward to many others joining us as part of a community effort to end domestic abuse. In fact, the community will benefit the most in regards to domestic abuse as the entire community—individuals, businesses/employers, social services, elected officials, schools, the full spectrum of the legal system, etc.—becomes increasingly engaged in actively supporting victims and holding abusers accountable. With a community response to this community issue, we truly can create, sustain and celebrate a life free from abuse for all.