Audit leads Jewish Community Foundation, Ron Galperin to advocate for abuse prevention

A Jewish elected city official and a Jewish organization are advocating prevention of domestic violence and abuse in Los Angeles.
December 9, 2015

A Jewish elected city official and a Jewish organization are advocating prevention of domestic violence and abuse in Los Angeles.  

An audit published on Oct. 1 by Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin titled “City of Los Angeles Domestic Violence Services and Programs” states that funding for domestic and sexual violence support services have received “insufficient funding and coordination” from the city. 

“On a typical day, 131 people call the City of Los Angeles’ 911 emergency number for help because of domestic abuse,” the report states. “In the course of a year, the City receives about 48,000 such calls.” Yet funding for city support services has decreased in the five-year period covered by the audit, through June 30, 2014, while the number of domestic violence emergency telephone calls and misdemeanor trials has remained either stable or increased, according to the audit.

Coinciding with the audit’s findings, the Jewish Community Foundation Los Angeles — which manages philanthropic funds and distributes the money in the form of grants — is awarding $180,000 to eight organizations that address domestic and sexual violence, according to a Dec. 2 announcement from the foundation.

“The Foundation is proud to take a leadership role locally in supporting these eight outstanding programs in their efforts to break the cycle of domestic and sexual violence across Los Angeles,” Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles President and CEO Marvin Schotland said in a statement. “In view of the City Controller’s recent audit and report, it is clear that there are great strides to be made, as the incidence of reported cases of sexual and domestic violence have risen 8 and 5 percent, respectively, this year. It remains one of our most pressing societal issues, crossing all religious, demographic, ethnic and socioeconomic lines.”

Recipient organizations of the grant are Aviva Family and Children’s Services, 1in6, 1736 Family Crisis Center, A Window Between Worlds, Center for the Pacific Asian Family, East Los Angeles Women’s Center, Jenesse Center and The Rape Foundation.

“This grant from the Jewish Community Foundation will support our work to break this cycle of violence among our residents,” Jeffrey Jamerson, vice president for programs and services at Aviva, an organization providing services to young women through a residential treatment program that received $30,000 of the $180,000 grant, said in a statement. 

According to the audit, in 2014, the City of Los Angeles’ emergency phone number received more than 800,000 phone calls, and approximately 48,000 of those calls were related to reports of domestic violence. These reports resulted in approximately 3,000 domestic
violence-related misdemeanors, according to the report.

Galperin said in a phone interview he welcomes the announcement by the foundation. 

“I think what the Jewish Community Foundation is doing is absolutely critical and will make a significant difference in a lot of lives,” he said.

The grants were awarded as part of the foundation’s General Community Grants program, which “supports initiatives that address high-priority concerns throughout Los Angeles. In recent years, this initiative has made grants locally to address homelessness, youth and adult financial literacy, and for programs that benefit Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans,” a foundation press release says.

Other Jewish organizations attempting to tackle the problem of domestic and sexual violence include Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFSLA), which serves victims of domestic and sexual violence via “emergency shelters, transitional housing, comprehensive counseling and an education and prevention outreach program,” according to the JFSLA website.

The Galperin audit spotlights “shelter-based advocates” of the JFSLA Family Service Project and describes JFSLA as a “community-based organization” that has previously partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department toward forming a Domestic Abuse Response Team.

And, it says, domestic and sexual violence is “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”

Galperin said he was inspired to undertake the audit when a woman he knew died as a result of domestic violence.

“I guess it’s almost two years ago, with a friend of mine whose sister was actually murdered by her estranged husband, and it made me wonder, ‘Was the city and LAPD doing all it could do? And just how were we dealing with domestic violence in the city?’ That’s what prompted this. It was really tragic,” Galperin said. “I was hoping in some small way we could … minimize the next such tragedy.”

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