U.S. Department of Justice awards $900,000 to the City of Los Angeles to help serve more victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that the City of Los Angeles has been awarded $900,000 by the U.S. Department of Justice to boost assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The announcement came at a press conference to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A three-year grant from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women will help the City serve 30% more victims through the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) and Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) programs — by training more police officers and service providers, and enhancing services that include screenings for sexual assault, forensics testing, and referrals to appropriate services.
“No one should ever be afraid to go home, or live under the constant threat of physical harm,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We’re bringing more resources to this work — so that victims can become survivors, and more Angelenos can break free of the cycle of violence.”
“The normalizing of aggressive and violent behavior towards others is becoming more and more prevalent,” said Councilmember Nury Martinez. “We must continue our work to build our community into a place that cannot and will not stand for violence against others, no matter their sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or immigration status.”
Every DART team pairs trained civilian advocates with LAPD police officers to respond to reported incidents of domestic violence. The team offers victims and their families an array of services and critical interventions, including information and referral assistance, emergency shelter services, assistance in developing safety plans, individual and group counseling, transportation, outreach, community education, and other supportive services for adults (men and women) and children in shelters.
Mayor Garcetti has expanded DART 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. In 2016, DART served more than 6,500 survivors of domestic abuse.
The SART program will be expanded by increasing the number of teams that help victims access specialized sexual assault response services such as trauma informed care, victim-advocate accompaniment to hospitals or emergency rooms, emotional and psychological assistance during sexual assault examinations, and follow-up counseling.
In 2015, Mayor Garcetti signed Executive Directive 12 — ordering City departments to coordinate efforts against domestic violence. Service providers with the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development now receive training to recognize risk factors associated with domestic abuse, disseminate prevention and safety information, and respond to domestic violence incidents.
Angelenos can find extensive information about domestic violence, including teen dating abuse and sexual assault, online at www.NoDVLA.org.