LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Advocacy groups working to assist victims of domestic violence have a new partner: the Los Angeles Police Department.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said every division of the LAPD will now have a lieutenant designated as domestic violence coordinator, ensuring that all detectives and officers responsible for those cases will work with advocacy groups to better respond to the needs of victims.
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Villaraigosa said he knows all too well the terror and helplessness that victims feel: his alcoholic father used to beat his mother before eventually abandoning the family, he said.
“I did get other opportunities later on in life, I will add, and took ’em,” he added. “You never forget those images. You never forget that feeling of terror and helplessness.”
Police Chief Charlie Beck said expanding the partnership with advocacy groups is crucial, given that the LAPD responded to 48,876 domestic violence-related calls last year, and more than 16,000 such calls so far this year.
“You can’t just have an overarching city bureaucracy that does it,” Beck said. `This has to be done at a very grassroots level.”
Beck said incidents of domestic violence have declined 6.5 percent compared to last year, continuing a trend that has lasted at least five years.
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