Editor's Note: the following is a message from the Santa Monica Police Department.
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.
One year ago, an estranged husband allegedly murdered his ex-wife and seven co-workers in an unspeakable act of domestic violence in Seal Beach. This was followed less than two months later by the fatal stabbing in Santa Monica of Christina Talley, a woman killed by her estranged husband while she worked as a checkout clerk in a local grocery store. Nationwide, an average of three women tragically lose their lives each day as a result of domestic violence.
Beyond the workplace, 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 and impacts nearly one in seven women and more than 3 million children. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 are among the most vulnerable to intimate partner violence. Studies show 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year. The economic cost of this crime is enormous and said to exceed $5.8 billion each year. Of that amount, nearly $4.1 billion was for direct medical and mental health care services, and nearly $1.8 billion was for the indirect costs of lost productivity or wages.
The Santa Monica Police Department and Commission on the Status of Women are committed to getting victims the help they need and enabling them to know that there are resources available to them. Together, we encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to learn more.
Report the abuse! If you, a relative, friend or neighbor are in immediate danger, call 911. 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 danger has subsided, call (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:
- L.A. Commission on Assaults Against Women 24-hour crisis line: 310-392-8381
- Legal Aid Foundation of LA-Domestic Violence Clinic for restraining orders or legal advice: Santa Monica City Courthouse, Room 121, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday
- Santa Monica Police Crimes Against Persons Unit: for emergencies, call 911, or to report a crime that is a non-emergency, call (310) 458-8491; for questions or to seek resources without reporting, call (310) 458-8451
- Sojourn Shelter for Battered Women 24-hour Crisis Line: 310-264-6644
For more information on efforts to raise domestic violence awareness and other safety issues, contact the Santa Monica Police Department’s Community Relations Unit at (310) 458-8474.