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The campaign is being funded by a grant from the California Office of Emergency Services. Courtesy photo
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New outreach campaign encourages action to combat domestic violence

REGION — A new billboard and literature campaign in San Diego gives domestic violence victims, witnesses and offenders the tools to take action, get help, and make a difference in their community, District Attorney Summer Stephan said today.

The outreach campaign, called “Now is the Time,” was launched in conjunction with October being national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Stephan said the campaign provides the community with a better understanding of how to recognize domestic violence and what to do about it.

More than 60 billboards will be displayed across San Diego County with five different messages directed at domestic violence victims, offenders and those who might see something in their neighborhood or with their loved ones.

In addition, wallet cards and postcards — in English and Spanish — are being provided to community organizations for distribution.

The campaign is being funded by a grant from the California Office of Emergency Services.

“People may not know where to turn for support, how to help a friend, how to recognize the signs and how to take action,” Stephan told reporters. “We want victims to know that help is available to get them out of an abusive relationship and provide protection. We also want friends, families and co-workers to know there is a way they can support someone who is experiencing abuse, and offenders need to know it is possible to stop the cycle of violence.”

Last year, there were more than 17,300 incidents of domestic violence  reported in San Diego County — a 4 percent increase from the year before.

Stephan said a bright spot in the figures shows that domestic violence homicide is down. Last year, seven people were killed by their intimate partner, down from 12 the year before and 16 in 2015, a more than 50 percent drop in a two-year period.

“Even though deaths are down, one person killed is too many,” Stephan said. “That’s why we want to spread the word about the Now is the Time campaign. Domestic violence tears families apart and is the single greatest cause of injury to women in the United States.”

People can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to be connected to a local domestic violence helpline, Stephan said.