The San Diego Police Department Domestic Violence Unit is Here to Help


Courtesy of Steve Willard for the Domestic Violence Unit: The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) has been a community partner of the San Diego Family Justice Center (SDFJC) since its inception in 2002.  From 2010 to 2018, the SDPD coordinated the SDJFC. The San Diego City Attorney’s Office now leads the day-to-day operations.

At the SDFJC, a domestic violence victim can speak to a detective in a comfortable, safe environment.  When victims come to the SDFJC, they realize the DV Unit is part of a team of collaborative professionals.  The SDPD recognizes that when law enforcement officials partner with other victim service providers they become a more powerful team in combatting domestic violence and increasing community safety. Today, the DVU is led by Lieutenant Carmelin Rivera.  His team, located within the SDFJC facility, consists of one clerical, one analyst, three sergeants and many detectives who investigate all domestic violence law enforcement reports in the City of San Diego.

In addition to investigating criminal cases, the DV team conducts a wide-range of duties including assisting with emergency protective orders while officers are in the field, responding to domestic violence cases, testifying as expert witnesses in court, arresting abusers, and assisting victims with law enforcement related services including U-Visa certifications. Members of the DV Unit are also part of the High-Risk Team and San Diego County’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board among other community organizations.

Does a collaborative team of enforcement, investigations, trauma informed victim services, legal services and mental health actually work?  One answer could be in the numbers.  In 2002, when the Family Justice Center was founded, the DVU investigated 22,000 DV cases.  Last year they investigated approximately 7,000 DV cases.  In the 1990’s the City of San Diego routinely experienced double digit numbers of annual DV murders.  In the past decade our city has not exceeded ten.  While these numbers alone are impressive, it’s important to remember the population of San Diego has significantly increased while the number of those being victimized has been on a downward trend.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or the San Diego Domestic Violence Hotline at (888) DV-LINKS (385-4657). If you would like more information about the San Diego Family Justice Center, call the Center’s toll-free Information Line at 1-866-933-HOPE (4673). The Center’s trained staff and volunteers can offer help, answer questions, or give you information about the resources available to you. Come to the San Diego Family Justice Center and find safety and support.

For more information, visit


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