Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey joined district attorneys from four other California counties Wednesday in releasing a two-part Zoom podcast to provide resources to victims of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and sexual assault during the coronavirus pandemic.
The county’s top prosecutor — who disclosed publicly for the first time that her maternal grandmother was an alleged victim of domestic abuse — said during the podcast that she wanted people to remember that “while it may be peaceful behind your closed door, it may not be that way two doors over and you’ve got to really get involved.”
Lacey, San Diego County DA Attorney Summer Stephan, Sacramento County DA Anne Marie Schubert and Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen are taking part in the podcast, which shares how each of the offices are working to protect victims during the pandemic.
Lacey noted that there are “some people who are in abusive homes right now where they’re not able to get out — children who are not in school and women or men who may not be able to see others.”
“It’s just the family that they see and they may actually be locked inside a home with their abuser,” Lacey said in the podcast. “I’m glad that we’re spending this time talking about victims because they can be the forgotten people in the midst of talking about improving the criminal justice system … I’ve always said that, you know, when you have somebody who’s mean enough to abuse their intimate partner, a child, a senior or an animal for that matter, you really have someone with a dark, evil heart and you have got to do what you can to make sure that that person, that issue is addressed.”
Lacey she couldn’t talk about domestic violence “without thinking about my own personal family history.”
“… My grandfather was an alcoholic and an abuser and he routinely abused my grandmother physically,” Lacey said, noting that her mother notified police about the abuse when she was 17 and that her grandparents were cautioned to “send this girl away” from the small town in Georgia where they lived in the early 1950s since “she means trouble” because she reported domestic violence.
“She (my mother) hated abusers because she lived in a home with an abuser and she taught my sister and I, too, that somebody has to speak up, somebody has to get in there and get involved,” the district attorney said.
The podcast is available at www.youtube.com/channel/UCi0AEGcHEB460WW_VC1g6NA, and through Justice Journal Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and other podcast sites.
Last week, Lacey and City Attorney Mike Feuer announced the start of the Behind Closed Doors initiative in partnership with grocery stores, the Los Angeles Unified School District and other organizations to post fliers at their locations with contact information for victims of abuse.
The campaign also calls on workers of essential services to be aware of signs of abusive relationships and circumstances and to contact authorities if they suspect someone is in danger.
Since the Safer at Home orders were enacted in March, Feuer said last week that the Los Angeles Police Department found a 47 percent drop in reported physical child abuse and a 67 percent drop in reported child sexual abuse compared to this time last year.
Feuer also reported a 50 percent reduction in reports of elder abuse. He attributed that to the pandemic, however, as visitors are prohibited from senior living facilities at this time, which Feuer said are often sources of reporting potential abuse or neglect.
The city attorney said people should demand caretakers at senior living facilities allow their relatives or loved ones to use visual communications if they aren’t allowing someone access to the technology.
Reports of domestic violence have dropped 13 percent and there has been a 71 percent drop in reports of animal abuse, Feuer said last week.