05/10/2010 03:04 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

New Resources in the Fight Against Domestic Violence

Today, on Denim Day, I announced with Chief Beck $1.1 million in grants from the Department of Justice that will have a far-reaching impact on how we as a City work to assist victims and prosecute domestic violence crimes.

This grant will go directly to catching perpetrators by improving collaboration and information sharing between the LAPD, City Attorney's Office and service providers. In addition new training programs at the Police Academy and Police Detective schools that will work to enhance the detection and investigation of domestic violence cases. It will also dedicate resources to track the intersection between gang violence and domestic violence.

We will unmercifully go after the perpetrators who seek to cause harm, but we will then equally work to reach out and provide a helping hand to victims. This initiative will support and expand funding for our City's Domestic Abuse Response Team also known as DART, a program that pairs victim advocates with LAPD officers to respond to domestic violence call to provide crisis intervention when it is needed the most. The DART program has been successfully implemented in nine LAPD divisions and has responded to over 2,000 domestic violence incidents. This program has provided the steadfast support needed to address cycles of domestic violence by addressing the needs of victims.

But it is clear that we need to do more to improve access to victim resources. That is why we have launched a new comprehensive initiative called Stop Abuse From Existing (SAFE). This public awareness effort includes a new website that is a one-stop shop for victims in desperate need of finding resources when their world is crumbling around them. The website contains emergency hotline numbers, contact information for shelters and available legal aid.

The campaign has also extended its outreach by printing and distributing business-sized SAFE cards with bi-lingual hotline information that can be found at all 73 Los Angeles Public Libraries, as well as police stations and Gang Reduction and Youth Development service providers.

This fight carries a special significance for me, because growing up I experienced the feeling of despair that a family goes through in a household suffering from domestic violence: the pain of feeling helpless to change the situation and the anger of feeling alone. That is why I want to say to anyone experiencing domestic abuse: you are not alone. Even in your darkest moment, you are not alone. My office, along with the City Council, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the City Attorney's Office is committed to offering a helping hand and committed to prosecuting every case of domestic violence in our city.

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