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City begins Domestic Violence Awareness Month observance

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles has been awarded $900,000 by the U.S. Department of Justice to help victims of domestic and sexual violence, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials announced Oct. 5 while recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Garcetti was joined by his wife Amy Wakeland, as well as Councilwoman Nury Martinez and other leaders at a news conference at City Hall to make the announcement while stressing that domestic violence impacts every level of the economic and social ladder.

“The cruelty of domestic violence still exists,” Garcetti said. “It happens in homes in every zip code, and the people that you think aren’t survivors of abuse are. They are around us. They are our friends, they are our co-workers, many of them suffering in silence and it is up to us to make sure they know they have a lifeline out.”

Garcetti’s office said the three-year grant from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women will help the city serve 30 percent more victims through the Domestic Abuse Response Team and Sexual Assault Response Team programs by training more police officers and service providers while enhancing services.

Wakeland said that the city is working to open four new shelters for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking “so that no one has to choose between a violent home and no home at all.”

She also said two of the shelters would be dedicated just to human trafficking victims and would be the first time the city funded shelters just for trafficking victims.

Garcetti said the city wants to open the shelters in 2018 and that they would be paid for by a combination of block grants and general funds.

Martinez took the opportunity to denounce President Donald Trump and said that his remarks and actions have not helped the fight against domestic violence.

During the presidential campaign, an old tape recording of Trump surfaced where he bragged about groping women. He apologized for the remarks and said they were made in jest as “locker room talk,” but many critics said it was part of a long pattern of demeaning remarks about women.

“Words do matter. And when we allow language that condones the groping of women, we are subliminally encouraging more aggressive behavior that can lead to violence against women,” Martinez said.