As Domestic Violence Spikes In LA, This Team Delivers Food And Toys To Help

(Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

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Food. Toys and books. Help with the rent.

As domestic violence calls spike amid the stress of the stay-at-home order, a group that works on the issue is hoping that kind of concrete support will lessen the risk of domestic and child abuse.

Staff at L.A.'s Violence Intervention Program (VIP) has started phoning people to ask what they need to relieve some of their stress.

People have said they need deliveries of food and care packages with toys and books, as well as help finding assistance with their rent.

"From a simple [standpoint] of getting these families meals, that consistency of, 'I'm going to have a meal for me and my kids throughout the week,' and for them to rely on that, that's huge," said VIP's staff and community engagement organizer Joe Garza.


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Domestic violence-related calls for service are up 8% over this time last year, according to L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

And advocates across the county continue to express concern about domestic abuse with so many stuck at home.

Garza said one thing he hears over and over is how stressed out people are about the economy. And he worries that can be dangerous.

"It's bad, you know. 'Is my company going to start laying people off?' It's definitely a hard place to be," Garza said.

VIP, which provides mental health and other services to thousands of abuse victims, added 85 new cases just last week. But CEO Astrid Heger is worried there are even more out there who are struggling to find the privacy in an abusive household to call for help.

"I think the volume of calls has been severely impacted by being quarantined," she said.