LOS ANGELES, CA — Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Verizon Wireless gathered today at Los Angeles City Hall to announce plans to establish a new Child Abuse Prosecution Unit in the City Attorney's office.
As a part of the new public-private initiative, Verizon Wireless awarded a $40,000 grant to the City Attorney's office, covering startup technology and equipment costs for the unit. This grant will provide computers and software as well as digital cameras for the Los Angeles Police Department to document injuries to children for use as court evidence.
"We are proud to be the founding private supporter of the City Attorney's Child Abuse Prosecution Unit," said Verizon Wireless Regional President Greg Klimek. "Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless launched a first-of-a-kind domestic violence prevention initiative with the City of Los Angeles aimed at helping abuse victims, and focusing greater attention on the problem. We are pleased to further our commitment to the City with a $40,000 grant to provide resources for a new effort that holds such promise for reducing the toll of domestic violence for those who live or work in Los Angeles."
In September 2001, Delgadillo pledged to make child abuse prosecution a priority for the City Attorney's office. On November 27, in the first step of this collaborative effort, Supervisor Antonovich introduced a motion requiring the Department of Child and Family Services to provide the City Attorney's office with all cross-reports of child abuse and neglect occurring in the City of Los Angeles. This motion was unanimously approved.
The City Attorney's office currently only receives information related to some five percent of abuse and neglect cases. With these cross-reports, the City Attorney will implement a new Child Abuse Prosecution unit aimed at detecting and intervening in the early stages of child abuse through an increase in misdemeanor prosecution of these crimes.
"This unit will allow my office to become a full partner in the war against abuse and neglect of Los Angeles' children," said Delgadillo. "Early prosecution of these crimes can help break the cycle of violence before it reaches the felony level and provide the necessary incentive to get abusive parents the counseling they need."
Earlier this month, the City of Los Angeles and Verizon Wireless rolled out a comprehensive, domestic violence prevention and awareness campaign in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The multi-pronged partnership, the first alliance of its kind in Greater Los Angeles, included:
- Cash grants to local domestic violence prevention agencies totaling more than $30,000
- Donation of more than 200 cellular phones from Motorola and free Verizon Wireless service to Los Angeles area battered women shelters.
- Launch of an abuse prevention campaign, including the distribution of domestic violence awareness posters and educational materials targeted to Los Angeles area businesses
- Production and distribution of video and audio public service announcements encouraging Los Angeles residents and businesses to help curb domestic abuse
- Distribution of Domestic Violence Survival Guides throughout at Los Angeles County hospitals and libraries
- HopeLineSM - a Verizon Wireless program to collect and recycle used wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28.7 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.