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South Gate Police Department

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Former SGPD Captain Vincent Avila

South Gate was the first police agency to operate a domestic violence counseling and resource program in our area, a privilege we did not take lightly.

When I took charge of the program I was eager to help participants move forward in their lives by giving them the "tools" to become self reliant, self-supportive, and free of their abusive situation. I quickly realized that workshops related to job search training and legal advice, while important, alone could not meet the needs of the participants.

When Yolanda (SGPD's former Window's leader) first brought A Window Between Worlds’ program into the program structure, I must say I was a bit skeptical—art projects?  I couldn't quite make the connection; nevertheless, within a short period of time it was clear to see the positive impact the program was having on the participants. Who would have guessed that some glue, construction paper, along with some real heart to heart discussion could have such an emotional impact and facilitate such progress.


Yolanda shared the impact that the “Funeral of I Can’t” workshop had on one client who had been in an abusive relationship for 21 years. She had only been a part of our program for 3 months and doing the art for even less time, but the “Funeral of I Can’t” workshop was so powerful for her that something shifted and she allowed herself to finally accept help. She called Yolanda a week after doing the workshop and said, “I want a restraining order!” She was finally ready to leave the abusive relationship.

I learned that many victims of family violence cannot move beyond their current situation until such time that they are able to see beyond it, and that all the restraining order process classes in the world would not necessarily make that happen. Often times that sort of motivation and inspiration must come from within.

I can't say enough about your efforts and the impact A Window Between Worlds’ program has had on the South Gate Police Department's Family Violence Prevention and Education program. Thanks for the good work you do!

Join us to help end domestic and sexual violence. Together WE CAN!

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