Los Angeles police have seen a "significant increase" in the number of domestic violence cases this year as the NFL continues to address national attention received after several players have been arrested in connection with the crime.
Now, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and City Attorney Mike Feuer want victims of domestic violence and their families to know they are not alone.
Feuer said his office sees about 11,000 domestic violence cases each year. That’s about 200 new cases every week.
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“We get bumps from year to year, but this year is a significant increase,” Beck said. “Now whether that’s an increase in reporting or an actual increase in occurrences is very hard to parse out.”
The number of cases reported to the LAPD is up 18 percent this year - that's 1,500 more reports so far this year. The number of cases reported to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is up 3.8 percent.
Beck said the LAPD is trying to figure out the reason behind the increase. He hopes providing the community with information on resources, such as locations for battered women shelters, legal services and financial planning.
“These are very difficult crimes to suppress with more police,” Beck said. “This is about more education. This is about talking through things and learning ways to deal with conflict.”
The focus on the issue comes as the NFL deals with high-profile cases involving players like Ray Rice and Ray McDonald. Feuer said while the NFL's situation has opened eyes to an important issue, that focus is too narrow.
“This is about so much more than the NFL and its policies,” Feuer said.
Patti Giggans is exective director of LA-based Peace Over Violence, which provides counseling, legal aid and other assistance to thousands of domestic violence victims, including one who spoke with NBC4 who was only identified as "Gwen."
"I didn't even realize that I was in a domestic violence situation," Gwen said. "There was psychological and verbal abuse."
Gwen said that she didn't call police until her partner's threat and his attempted suicide.
"As a culture, we keep trying respond to the abuse and help. We’re not doing enough on the other end from preventing it from happening in the first place," Giggans said.