October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States.
The subject has been highlighted in recent weeks by the case of Gabby Petito, whose body was found after she went missing with her boyfriend on a trip to Grand Teton National Park. During that trip, a Utah witness called 911 about possible domestic violence after seeing the couple arguing.
But stories related to domestic violence are unfortunately not uncommon, especially since at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic there were more calls to crisis phones.
It’s normal for couples to quarrel or have a partner ask where you are – but there are patterns of bad behavior that should set off red flags. Given the latest news on the Gabby Petito case, we spoke to Tracy Tamborra, a professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven and former director of a domestic violence agency in New Jersey.
State law defines domestic violence as “abuse against an adult or minor who is a spouse, ex-spouse, significant other, ex-partner, or a person with whom the suspect has a child or has or had a dating or engagement relationship,” so the California Department of Justice.
According to the agency, there were 160,646 calls for help related to domestic violence in the state of California in 2020 alone.
Of those calls, 35,498 were in Los Angeles County, 10,890 in Orange County, 8,456 in San Bernardino County, 6,344 in Riverside County, and 6,162 in Ventura County.
If you’re in Southern California and you or someone you know need help or volunteer with others, here are just a few of the local accommodations and resources available.
Los Angeles District
The children and family center has locations in Palmdale and Santa Clarita and offers 30 day crisis shelter, individual and group counseling, and courses for individuals and children fleeing domestic violence. They have English and Spanish services and their 24 hour emergency number is 661-259-4357.
The institute for multicultural counseling and educational offers “works with courts, probation departments and shelters” to prevent and respond to domestic violence. Their services include education, counseling and crisis intervention and are available in Armenian, Russian, Farsi, Spanish, Tagalog and English.
IMCES also offers a wide range of other services unrelated to domestic violence, with locations in Los Angeles, Glendale, and West Covina. They can be reached by phone at 213-381-1250.
The Ruth House in Claremont provides emergency shelter, counseling, housing assistance, legal assistance, child care and treatment programs for victims of domestic violence. Their services are available in English and Spanish, they are LGBTQ + friendly, and their toll-free 24-hour hotline is 877-988-5559.
Interval house in Long Beach is self-promoting as the first survivor-led program, offering housing, counseling, legal assistance, education and special cultural programs for people fleeing domestic violence. Their website states that they offer services “in over 70 different languages” and their hotlines are 562-594-4555 and 714-891-8121.
The LA County’s Department of Public Social Services also has an extensive list of other accommodations and resources, including centers that specialize in helping people of certain religions and ethnic or racial origins. The list also includes ways to get in touch with free legal services.
the Transitional housing center for women provides “a full housing program, a children’s program, a hotline and community service” for “all victims of violence” in Orange County.
They are a safe LGBTQ + zone and their 24 hour hotline is 877-531-5522.
San Bernardino County
Option house in San Bernardino offers support groups, parenting courses, restraining orders, emergency shelters, therapy and tips to educate oneself about the warning signs of abuse.
They also have specific resources on elderly violence and resources for LGBTQ + people. Their 24-hour crisis hotline is 909-381-3471 and offers assistance in English and Spanish.
Alternatives to Domestic Violence Serves “all of western Riverside County,” according to its website, providing shelter, one-on-one and group counseling, life skills and professional education, children’s services, and training for professionals to identify the signs of domestic violence.
They also offer anger management treatment for abusers and information about the warning signs of domestic violence. Their 24-hour hotlines are 951-683-0829 for those in “and outside of the county” or 800-339-7233 for the rest of Riverside County.
the Ventura County Family Justice Center is “a collaborative team of more than 40 public and community-based organizations,” which, according to its website, provides free services to those involved in domestic violence. Services include emergency relief, assistance with accommodation and looking for accommodation, legal advice, counseling, and legal counseling.
The center can be reached by phone at 805-652-7655 or by SMS at 805-947-7981.
The pandemic left some of the most vulnerable domestic violence victims, often feeling alone without turning. Hetty Chang will report for NBC4 News on April 16, 2021 at 11 p.m.
the National hotline for domestic violence Listed by the US Department of Justice is free and confidential. The number is 1-800-799-7233. You also have an SMS option available when you send “START” to 88788.
the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has tips on how to get law enforcement help, tips on how to get legal assistance, and tips on creating a security plan for dealing with abusers on their website.