LOS ANGELES : Toll-Free Hot Line for Abuse Victims Unveiled

Against a backdrop of grainy photographs of more than 50 Los Angeles women killed last year by their spouses or boyfriends, county officials Wednesday unveiled a new toll-free hot line offering victims of domestic violence advice on how to protect themselves and their children.

The number is (800) 978-3600.

The line, which operates 24 hours a day, gives callers recorded advice on how to obtain a restraining order, offers referrals for shelters and outlines a brief plan on immediate steps needed to find safety. The service is in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese and two Chinese dialects, Mandarin and Cantonese.

At a news conference, Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti referred to the pictures of the slain women and said they had come from all walks of life and from every part of Los Angeles County.

"If you are a victim of domestic violence or feel threatened, you now have the ability pick up the phone and do something about it," he said. "A safe way out is now possible for you and your children."

Pacific Telesis and GTE each contributed $5,000 toward the establishment of the line, but Garcetti said about $40,000 is needed to keep the line going for more than a few months and to expand the informational content available through the service.

County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, who joined Garcetti at the news conference, said supporters will solicit contributions from other major corporations and that some county funds might be found to bolster the service.

In addition to the hot line, Burke and Garcetti announced the opening of two 20-bed shelters for battered women in South Los Angeles.

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