LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An audit released on Thursday found domestic violence programs were underfunded and inconsistent across city neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
City Controller Ron Galperin released the report, which reviewed domestic violence services funded by the City of Los Angeles over the last five years.
According to the audit, per capita spending for these services were found to be meager — $1.04 projected for 2015-2016 — in L.A. in comparison to funding provided in other major metropolitan areas such as San Francisco and New York City.
“Looking at how little we have spent on these programs, it’s clear that we need to make domestic violence response more of a priority and commit more money to it,” said Galperin. “We need to bolster our commitment to fighting domestic violence.”
On average, Los Angeles Police Department officers respond to 131 domestic violence calls per day, averaging a total of 48,088 calls each year.
Significant findings of the audit revealed the following information:
— The city’s signature program, Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART), has served a limited number of victims within 10 of 21 police divisions.
— DART team members were found to only respond with officers to one out of every 30 domestic violence calls.
— The responsibility to combat domestic violence has been divided among five entities, however, there is a lack of overall responsibility to coordinate these services and programs.
— The LAPD was found to have miscategorized domestic violence reports as generic assaults by 27 percent.
— The public-private Family Justice Center, which offers a single location for victims to get help from social services and lawyers in Van Nuys, was cited by the Department of Justice victims’ advocates as the most effective way to keep victims safe while prosecuting their offenders.
Unfortunately, at least 10 people have been killed in domestic violence related incidents every year, city officials reported.
“Exposure to violence begins at a young age,” added Council member Nury Martinez. “In order to make a stronger impact on this problem, we need to promote healthy relationship habits among our youth and teach them about how to respect one another.”
Not only has domestic violence been linked to a high death rate, but it has also shown to be the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In order to revamp services, funding was increased for domestic violence programs and the DART program was expanded to all police divisions due to efforts made by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council.
According to Galperin, the audit was released today to coincide with the beginning of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.