L.A. gets $1M to help fight domestic violence

LOS ANGELES On the 11th annual Denim Day, /*Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa*/ and /*LAPD Chief Charlie Beck*/ announced a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help the LAPD and the city attorney's office combat /*domestic violence*/. Wearing blue jeans, the mayor and LAPD chief were joined by leaders of a number of women's groups that work on domestic violence issues.

"These grants awarded to the city will have a far reaching impact on how we as a city work to prosecute domestic violence crimes and how we work to connect the victims with the essential service they need to escape violent situations," said Villaraigosa.

According to the LAPD, violent crimes such as rape are down in the city, but the need for prevention and support programs is still needed. And part of the grant money will be used for such programs.

The city has launched a new campaign called Stop Abuse From Existing (S.A.F.E.), which includes a new Web site to help victims find resources, such as hotline numbers, contact information for shelters and available legal aid. There will also be S.A.F.E. cards available at all the city's 73 public libraries with information for victims on who to call and where to go for help.

/*Denim Day*/ was created in response to a 1999 ruling by an Italian High Court, which overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans. The Italian judge argued in that case that "because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them ... and by removing the jeans ... it was no longer rape but consensual sex."

Enraged by the verdict, women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans to work.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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