Working to End Domestic Violence

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One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Three women a day die at the hands of an abuser. One in three teens is a victim of dating abuse. These are sobering facts about domestic violence, one of the most serious issues facing our society. Most of its victims are women and children who are not safe in their own home.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which was created to intervene, educate, empower and stop this national epidemic. The intent is to connect advocates across the nation who are working to end violence against women, children and anyone who suffers at the hands of an abuser. In 1989, the U.S. Congress first passed the law recognizing October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We have recognized it and worked hard to elevate the issue in the City of Los Angeles in the decades since because we strongly believe that domestic violence has no place here.

One of our main tools to stop domestic violence is the city's Domestic Violence Task Force, a group of experts who guide the development and coordination of LA's domestic violence programs. The task force also makes recommendations about legal advocacy, legislation and victims' services. Another critical component is DART, the city's Domestic Abuse Response Teams. DART is a partnership between the Los Angeles Police Department and domestic violence service providers to foster and promote coordinated responses to address the needs of domestic violence victims, including crisis intervention and wraparound support services. Recently, DART teams were expanded to all 21 of the LAPD's geographic divisions--more than doubling the original number of trained, volunteer first-responder teams working with law enforcement to assist victims of domestic violence. 

During a City Council meeting this week, we honored several DART volunteers and LAPD employees identified by the Domestic Violence Task Force for their outstanding service to victims of domestic violence: police officers Sandra Carlisle and Timothy McLaughlin, and detectives Karen Widman and John Alviani. Thank you to these law enforcement officers and all others, including the civilian volunteers and service providers, who work so hard to stop the scourge of domestic violence in Los Angeles.

This month, our city also rolled out a new, provocative domestic violence awareness campaign with ads on bus benches, bus shelters and billboards to keep the issue at the top of Angelenos' minds. You might see the ads on your way to work or while you're doing errands in your neighborhood. View all of the ads and learn more about domestic violence by visiting http://nodvla.org/.

One final note: Mayor Garcetti recently announced that Los Angeles was awarded a $425,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women that will be used to improve our city's response to people with disabilities who are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. This adds to the funding already allocated to domestic violence programs through this year's budget process.

There is much work to be done on this issue, but the city is making progress as we seek to end domestic violence. I am committed to this goal, and I hope you will do your part to spread awareness about domestic violence this month and throughout the year. 
 
If you have comments or want to get involved with the city's domestic violence prevention efforts, don't hesitate to contact me: paul.krekorian@lacity.org or (213) 473-7002