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CITYWIDE : Officials to Drive Home Message on Spousal Abuse

Emergency workers and elected officials and their staffs will be asked to place bumper stickers condemning domestic violence on their vehicles under a motion passed Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The bumper stickers, which read “There’s NO Excuse for Domestic Violence,” are part of a citywide campaign to increase public awareness of the problem through public service announcements and educational services coordinated by the city’s Domestic Violence Task Force. The bumper stickers are being donated to the city by the office of Sandra Baca, vice chairwoman of the task force.

The task force, created last June by the City Council in response to publicity on the issue generated by the O.J. Simpson murder case, is an advisory group mandated by the council to coordinate response by the police force, city, district attorney and social service agencies to domestic abuse.

"(The task force) finds ways of approaching the issue to reduce the possibility of it happening again,” said Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, who spearheaded the motion to air public service announcements and place the bumper stickers on city vehicles. “Unfortunately, what we saw from the O.J. Simpson case (is that) the system does not always respond in the most effective way” to domestic violence.

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In 1993, the Los Angeles Police Department responded to more than 43,000 domestic violence calls. More than 8,000 felony arrests were made and more than 20,000 misdemeanor prosecutions were handled by the city attorney involving spousal abuse, according to city officials.

In addition to the symbolically black-and-blue bumper stickers, the task force and the city’s legislative analyst will coordinate airing public service announcements produced by the Family Violence Prevention Fund on Channel 35, the Los Angeles city government access channel.

The San Francisco-based Family Violence Prevention Fund has been coordinating a nationwide campaign with public service announcements and advertisements to educate the public on the prevalence of domestic abuse.

“The main message we are trying to get across is that it’s serious, it happens everywhere, it is a matter of public concern and it is your business,” said Esta Soler, executive director of the Violence Prevention Fund.

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Soler said that the public service announcements do not show any scenes of violence, but rather let the viewer hear spousal abuse occurring with the statement “It is your business” on the screen. The announcements will be aired over the next several months along with a toll-free information hot line.

In the meantime, bumper stickers will remind Los Angeles residents of the issue.

“We want to extend a helping hand to people who have been victims of domestic violence,” Galanter said. “We want to let them know that help is available.”


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