BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — In Kern County, around 700 victims of domestic violence have sought help from the Family Resource Center in the past three months. It was the busiest quarter the center has seen, according to Kern County District Attorney, Cinthia Zimmer.
That’s why several local leaders gathered in Bakersfield Friday, in an effort to get the word out, about resources that can help those victims.
Domestic violence affects people of all walks of life, regardless of gender or race. In some cases, culture, language, and even distance can become huge barriers in breaking away from these dangerous environments.
“The fear of you knowing you don’t know the language, who are you going to call, they don’t understand you, there is questions about immigration status and how that affects their rights,” said Raji Brar, Co-founder of Sikh Women's Association
Brar is a first-generation Sikh American and Co-founder of Sikh Women’s Association. Her organization along with the Family Resource Center have worked to provide services needed to break some of the barriers preventing Sikh people in Kern County from receiving help in domestic abuse cases.
“Having a resource line in your own language is a way to help combat that abuse” said Brar.
The resource line is run by Sikh community volunteers who she said understand the language and culture and create a safe space for these people to seek help.
Aside from these barriers, people in rural communities also struggle to get resources.
Carol Beecroft is the Chief Executive Officer for the Women’s Center High Desert. She said rural areas often have to be creative and rely on a lot of different people to bring those resources into their communities.
“You know when you live in Ridgecrest, or the outline areas and you don’t have a car and you have to travel to Bakersfield for services. It is really hard,” said Beecroft. “Especially if it starts to snow in Tehachapi and you can’t get through the mountain. And it is just scary also to have your children and drive to an unfamiliar place.”
That is why she is excited to hear about new resources being provided to South Kern.
“We have been working very hard on opening a new Family Justice Center in Lamont which I think is going to be a reality in winter of 2022. So, we are really excited about that,” said Zimmer.
The new Family Justice Center will be able to serve victims in Arvin, Lamont, Tap, Frazier Park, and other areas of South Kern.