Domestic violence rarely takes place in a vacuum. Long before law enforcement gets involved and makes an arrest, there are usually underlying factors at work in the household that create conditions that are just primed for an argument or escalating tensions to get out of hand. These risk factors can include things like stress, emotional turmoil, mental illness, substance abuse, financial worries, and a slew of other possible issues.
During this ongoing pandemic, families are continuing to spend lots of time at home or in quarantine. That fact alone can put the family at higher risk for those underlying factors to eventually erupt into violence. The specific issues may be different in every household. Still, if you can identify these factors and find constructive ways to deal with them, you can often break the cycle of escalation and make your family safer at home.
To help with this process, we’ve compiled a list of programs and resources available to Los Angeles-area residents. Some of these resources are government-funded and operated, while others may be private organizations—and this is by no means an exhaustive list. But if you believe your family could be at heightened risk, this list will hopefully provide a starting point to get the help you need.
To make the list easier to navigate, we’ve broken it down into three categories that most frequently contribute to domestic violence: Emotional/mental health issues, substance abuse issues, and financial issues.
For General Help, Dial 211
Los Angeles County has set up a central services hotline, which you can access simply by dialing 211. (You can also visit the 211 website at https://www.211la.org/.) By answering a few questions, the person at the other end can direct you to the appropriate services. If you’re not yet sure what kind of help you need, 211 is an excellent place to start.
Programs for Mental Health and Emotional Issues
Let’s start by removing the stigma associated with “mental illness.” You don’t have to be diagnosed with a condition to be suffering mentally or emotionally. Mental illness symptoms can hit anyone, and they can range from mild to severe, just like any other type of illness. With more than half of Americans now saying the pandemic has caused them to struggle with their mental health, no one should be surprised to be experiencing heightened stress or symptoms of anxiety or depression, even if you’ve never experienced them before. These heightened emotions can become kindling for family disturbances. Below are some programs that may help you get ahead of the curve.
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health– 1-800-854-7771
The largest county mental health department in the country, LACDMH can connect you to 80 unique programs with 700 participating providers, many of which can offer assistance remotely via phone or video chat to help you stay safe.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness – 323-294-7814
The Urban Los Angeles chapter of NAMI is another hub for resources specifically designed to direct you to the type of mental health assistance you need.
Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741
This nonprofit organization connects you immediately to a trained crisis counselor by texting HOME to 741741. The number works anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, and it’s one of the fastest ways to get help anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed, panicked, anxious, or facing any other type of crisis. It’s also helpful in sensitive situations where you may not be able to talk on the phone.
Panic Disorder Info Hotline-1-800-64-PANIC (1-800-647-2642)
Another highly useful program for people in crisis or feeling intense emotions, this hotline connects you to someone who can provide assistance as well as give you perspective on what you’re feeling so you can process it constructively.
Substance Abuse and Addiction Issues
Substance abuse is a contributing factor in 40-60 percent of domestic violence incidents—and the stress of our times provides ample temptation to give in to addictive tendencies. If you are vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, the following resources can help.
LA Public Health-Substance Abuse Prevention and Control– 1-844-804-7500
The SAPC program can connect you to needed treatment services and provide educational resources on how to deal constructively with addiction and addictive tendencies. Call the hotline above to get help.
Westwind Recovery – 855-340-9952
This Los Angeles-based organization offers a variety of substance abuse treatment options (both inpatient and outpatient).
Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (LA CADA) – 562-906-2676
A treatment center certified by the LA Public Health SAPC, this facility offers an expansive array of treatment options for many different circumstances.
The stress over finances in today’s challenging economy can definitely be a trigger for violence. If your family is struggling financially, check out some of these resources.
The federal pandemic unemployment benefit expired in July. However, if your work hours have been affected by the health crisis, you may still be eligible for benefits you’re not yet claiming. The EDD will guide you through the process of applying for benefits.
Department of Public Social Services – (866) 613-3777
This county department can connect you with a number of practical assistance programs, including CalWorks cash assistance, MediCal and more.
The Los Angeles Controller has set up a resource hub to connect Angelenos with many local, state, and federal programs offering emergency financial assistance.
The resources above, each in their own way, may offset some of the pressure triggers that could make your family more susceptible to domestic violence. That said, if you’ve had an altercation leading to your arrest and DV charges, you need some help, as well. For compassionate legal counsel and representation, give us a call today for a free case evaluation.