LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced a program Friday aimed at providing resources to victims of domestic abuse, as reports of those types of crimes have declined since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Behind Closed Doors initiative is a partnership with grocery stores and other organizations to post fliers at their locations with contact information for assistance that abuse victims can use.
The initiative also calls on workers of essential services to be aware of signs of abusive relationships and circumstances and to contact authorities if they suspect someone is in danger.
Lacey said there are free services available throughout the county, and people are not required to be a U.S. citizen to access them.
“As we go through this pandemic together, we must be prepared to play that role for neighbors, friends and family members in need,” Lacey said. “I’m asking every person who lives and works in Los Angeles County to be on the lookout for people who may need your help.
“You don’t have to be a victim to call these hotlines and report a crime. Others are depending upon you to take notice and do something,” she said.
Lacey said people should take note of others who have bruises, black eyes other injurious marks that are often signs of abuse. She mentioned the high-profile case of Palmdale’s Gabriel Fernandez, whom she said tried to reach out to people without success before he was abused to death at age 8.
Lacey encouraged people contemplating calling law enforcement that it is “better to be safe than sorry.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been conducting increased welfare checks on people who have previously reported abuse, Lacey said, and her office has 200 representatives checking in with victims to make sure they obtain protective orders.
A list of domestic abuse hotlines is available from the county Department of Social Services at dpss.lacounty.gov.