Q: I have been in a dating relationship for years and my significant other has become increasingly violent towards me. He gets aggressive and has on more than one occasion grabbed me and shook me. What can I do? I don’t want him to go to jail but I am in fear that my situation will get worse.

A: Domestic violence is a serious national problem which affects millions of households. It crosses all cultural, racial, religious, and economic boundaries. Statistics indicate that 50 to 60 percent of the estimated 47 million couples in this country have suffered at least one violent incident, and 10 to 25 percent suffer domestic violence as a common occurrence.

The victims of domestic violence are primarily women and their children. It has been documented that domestic violence is the single major cause of injury to women, exceeding rapes, muggings, and even auto accidents. According to the FBI, 25 percent of all murders nationwide are the result of domestic violence and 30 percent of all female homicide victims are killed by their husbands or boyfriends.

Physical abuse of a spouse has been documented in nearly half of all the validated cases of child abuse and neglect in Los Angeles County. According to the Southern California Coalition of Battered Women, 63 percent of young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are incarcerated for homicide in California, killed their mother’s batterer. These statistics overwhelmingly demonstrate that all communities, including Santa Monica, are seriously affected by domestic violence. If you are in a violent home environment you are not alone!

If you feel that you are a victim of domestic violence, the Domestic Crisis Unit recommends that you take the following actions:

• Report the abuse! If you are in immediate danger, call 911. The operator will ask you questions in order to determine the nature of the emergency and provide the best possible response. To report an incident to the police after danger has subsided, call (310) 458-8491.

• Don’t be reluctant to have the police arrest your spouse/partner. Studies show that when the police arrest a suspect for domestic violence, the offender is less likely to assault the victim again. The police are required, by law (under most circumstances), to arrest a suspected batterer when the victim shows visible marks.

• Talk to a trained professional to discuss what options are available to you.

Help for domestic violence is available from:

• Peace Over Violence (24 hours) at (213) 626-3393.

• Sojourn Shelter for Battered Women (24 hours) at (310) 264-6644.

• Domestic Violence Clinic (Restraining orders for victims of domestic violence) 1725 Main St. (8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday).

New kid on the block

The Santa Monica Police Department would like to introduce Officer Mike Boyd who will be the new neighborhood resource officer for the Pico Neighborhood (Beat 8). Since the inception of the NRO program 2 1/2 years ago, Officer Francisco Franco has been the NRO for the Pico Neighborhood, and he did so well that he has been chosen to be an investigator with Santa Monica Police Department. Officer Franco will be missed, but Officer Boyd comes to the NRO unit with experience and is ready to keep the pace that Officer Franco has set.

Mike Boyd became a police officer in 1995. His first duty as a sworn police officer was with the California Highway Patrol (CHP). As a CHP officer, Mike had the opportunity to work various assignments. He was a field training officer, a member of the CHP’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (M.A.I.T.), and also assigned to the Protective Services Detail (PSD) which provides motorcades for the president of the United States. One of his last assignments with the CHP was with the Community Enhancement Response Team (C.E.R.T.). He gained valuable knowledge and experience in working together with different community organizations throughout Los Angeles County.

In 2001, Mike left the CHP to pursue a career with the Santa Monica Police Department. Since 2001, Mike has been selected as a scout for the department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team, a defensive tactics instructor, and most recently, a temporary NRO. In late 2008, Officer Joe Cortez was deployed overseas for military duty, and Mike filled in as the temporary NRO for the Wilshire-Montana area (Beat 4). During his time as an NRO, Mike was instrumental in coordinating directed enforcement toward vehicle burglaries and vehicle thefts.

Aside from being a police officer, Mike enjoys exercising and reading nonfiction books. He is an advocate for living a healthy and fit life style and also coaches a first grade boys basketball team in the South Bay.

Mike is dedicated to his new assignment as an NRO. He would like to continue building the community’s relationship with police and strengthen the unity between the community members, businesses, and SMPD.

This column was prepared by NRO Robert Lucio (Beat 6: Montana Avenue to Interstate-10, 20th Street to Centinela Avenue). He can be reached at (424) 200-0686 or roberto.lucio@smgov.net.

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