Domestic violence affects all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. I recently read some alarming statistics about domestic violence and minority women particularly; its effects on African American women. This threat has disproportionately dire consequences for African-American women. According to the University of Minnesota’s Institute on domestic violence, African-American women experience intimate partner violence at rates 35% higher than their White counterparts and 2.5 times the rate of men and other races.
African Americans account for a disproportionate number of intimate partner homicides. In 2005, African Americans accounted for almost 1/3 of the intimate partner homicides in this country. Equally alarming was an FBI and department of justice report that states that law enforcement are killed and assaulted more frequently during domestic violence calls than any other crime related circumstance.
I wanted to know more about the effects of domestic violence, the perpetrators and also, what was being done to address its root cause. Recently, I interviewed Jim Schoengarth, Supervising Deputy Probation Officer for Los Angeles County Probation Department, who shared with me his thoughts on domestic violence in LA County. I asked, “how do we identify root the causes of domestic violence”?
According to Mr. Schoengarth, “we have to first know what domestic violence is; domestic violence is violence within the home, usually between intimate partners. It is not just physical, but can also be emotional or financial. Don’t assume that because you didn’t physically put your hands on your partner that you did not commit domestic violence.”
Thousands of men and women lose homes, jobs, and children because they lacked the proper understanding of what domestic violence is.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS ABUSE!
Mr. Schoengarth stated, “In Los Angeles County alone, we have between 6 and 8 thousand convictions each year for domestic violence some are misdemeanors other are felonies”.
In California, if you are convicted of a domestic violence crime, a misdemeanor or a felony, you must complete a 52 week batterers program.
There are 149 batters program servicing Los Angeles county that are taught in multiple languages and culturally sensitive environments. Each of these programs are part of a rigorous curriculum based module which addresses the key components for the offender rehabilitation.
I had received word from an erroneous source that there was only one shelter for victims in the 2nd supervisorial district servicing mostly African American and Latino families. I found that in fact there were 17.
Mr. Schoengarth also shared, “There is a very low recidivism rate for those who complete the program”.
You can hear the full interview archived on The Power of Voices Radio at www.thepowerofvoices.com, “Back to the Peace Roundtable”July show #3.
What you don’t know can definitely “hurt you” and negatively impact your family. Live in peace! Find out more at Stop the Violence Increase the Peace Foundation.
Stop the Violence Increase the Peace Foundation
Regional Violence Reduction Coalition