Did you know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? The Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women and the Santa Monica Police Department have joined together to spread awareness that domestic violence is a crime, not a private family matter.
Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behavior – physical, emotional, sexual and/or economic – that is used by one partner in the relationship to gain or maintain power and control over the other partner in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
Domestic violence makes far too many family homes places of fear for battered spouses and for children who witness or experience such abuse. Even when children in an abusive household are not directly injured, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to long-term behavioral, social, and emotional problems that play out in forms such as bullying in schools, post-traumatic disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and dating and gang violence.
Domestic Violence is the number one health issue for women and girls. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 are among the most vulnerable to intimate partner violence.
Studies show millions of high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year.
Domestic violence includes, but is not limited, to the following circumstances:
Physical – hitting or burning
Sexual – rape or incest
Emotional – threatening, insulting or harassing
Neglect – poor physical or emotional care
Report the abuse! If you, a relative, friend or neighbor is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. The operator will ask you questions in order to determine the nature of the emergency and provide the best possible response.
To report an incident to the police after the danger has subsided, call Santa Monica Police Department’s Communication Center (non-emergency Dispatch) 24-hours (310) 458-8491.
Don’t be reluctant to have the police arrest your spouse/partner. Studies show that when the police arrest a suspect for domestic violence, the offender is less likely to assault the victim again.
The police are required, by law, to arrest a suspected batterer when the victim shows visible marks.
Talk to a trained professional to discuss what options are available to you.
Help for domestic violence is available from:
· Emergencies, call 9-1-1, or to report a crime that is a non-emergency: SMPD Dispatch at 310-458-8491
· Questions, or to seek resources without reporting: SMPD Crimes Against Persons at 310-458-8451
· Sojourn Shelter for Battered Women and Their Children: 24-hour crisis line at 310-264-6644
· Peace Over Violence (formerly L.A. Commission on Assaults Against Women): 24-hour crisis line at 310-392-8381
· Legal Aid Foundation of LA, Domestic Violence Clinic for restraining orders or legal advice: Santa Monica City Courthouse, Room 121, Monday – Fridays from 8:30 until 11:30 am
For more information on efforts to raise domestic violence awareness and other safety issues, contact the Santa Monica Police Departments Community Affairs Unit at (310) 458-8474.