Fortunately, authorities were able to save this little girl from her abusive situation. But the physiological and psychological effects of abuse can last a lifetime, and we need to be aware of what is happening in our communities in order to help those who need it. (To read the full story, click here) Some facts and statistics about domestic violence in Los Angeles and around the country:
Police rescued the little girl from a Mesa apartment on Monday after a tipster alerted them of her condition. Responding officers reported finding the child inside a closet. According to the probable cause statement, the child, who was wearing a diaper and T-shirt, was bound, gagged and "inside a black trash bag with only the top of her head exposed. The victim was covered in human feces."
Authorities' attempts to interview the child have been unsuccessful. "It is unknown at this time if she is unable to speak or will not speak due to the emotional and physical trauma she has sustained," reads the probable cause statement. 7
- By age 12, 83% of homeless children have been exposed to at least one serious violent event and nearly 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their families. 2
- Reported cases of domestic violence are up 5%, according to the LAPD 1
- Victimization rates were highest among the youngest population of children, birth to 3 years, at a rate of 16.5 per 1,000 children (USDHHS, 2007). 3
- For FFY (federal fiscal year) 2013, there were a nationally estimated 679,000 victims of abuse and neglect, resulting in a rate of 9.1 victims per 1,000 children in the population 8
- In 2012, an estimated 1,640 children died from child maltreatment (rate of 2.2 per 100,000 children) 4
- Domestic violence occurs in all cultures, races, income levels, and ages. In fact, approximately one-third of the men counseled (for battering) are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and their communities. These have included doctors, psychologists, lawyers, ministers, and business executives. 6
- Nationally, 50% of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home 6
- There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for battered women and their children 6
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States 6
- 63% of the young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser 6
- Victims of domestic violence often have to leave abruptly and quickly, and are unable to gather and pack their belongings. As a result, their children likely don’t have basic necessities when they arrive at a shelter
Behind the glamour of Hollywood, the warm days at the beach and the overcrowded highways lies a disturbing and nearly invisible problem: Los Angeles ranks among the highest in the nation in numbers of children in foster care, many due to abuse or neglect. Furthermore, in 2012 and 2013 over 60 children in Los Angeles were killed due to abuse or neglect suffered at the hands of their caretakers. For years, one Los Angeles Times writer has been tirelessly working to expose systematic problems that put children in danger, and we are beginning to see some results and changes. This year, child deaths due to neglect or maltreatment in Los Angeles County were nearly cut in half.
Garrett Therolf has been writing for the Los Angeles Times since 2006, and has covered everything from crime to the Egyptian Revolution. His specialty, however, is child welfare. Over the years, Therolf has dedicated much of his work to exposing problems within the Los Angeles County Child Welfare System. He has taken County policies to task over issues ranging from unsafe family reunifications to unfit foster parents. His reports have put the plight of abused and neglected children on the map in Los Angeles County, and have been helpful in igniting the fires of change within the department. Just this year, the Department of Child and Family Services in Los Angeles added 750 new social workers, implemented new training policies to help workers identify child abuse and put in place a stricter policy regarding family reunification.
Here at My Stuff Bags Foundation, we are happy to see writers like Mr. Therolf bringing the issues of domestic violence against children and child neglect into the public consciousness in Los Angeles. LA is our backyard and in fact we distribute more My Stuff Bags here than in any other county. While foundations like ours can help children who suffer these horrible circumstances, it will take an army of informed Angelenos for sweeping change to take place. We thank Mr. Therolf and all those at the LA Times for doing their part to better the plight of children in Los Angeles, and we can only hope that the situation will continue to improve!
Each year following Thanksgiving, millions of consumers flock to stores and websites to spend billions of dollars during the now infamous “shopping holidays,” Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To offset these consumer holidays, a group of people founded #GivingTuesday, an initiative based on the true spirit of the holiday season: giving back. The idea is simple: every Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Americans donate money to the charity of their choice, and charities promote the day through various channels of social media
The holiday season is an especially difficult time for children in foster and shelter care. Imagine the pain of a child waking up on Christmas morning in an unfamiliar place without a single gift or loving card to look forward to. Sadly, for thousands of children this will be a reality.
For #GivingTuesday, the My Stuff Bags Foundation is hoping to raise shipping funds to send out as many My Stuff Bags to these children as possible, and help brighten what could otherwise be a very dark holiday season. My Stuff Bags are individual duffels filled with childhood items of necessity and comfort, and while we distribute them year-round to foster agencies and crisis shelters nationwide, it is especially important that we deliver them during the holidays. So remember, after the family gatherings, turkey, stuffing and shopping this Thanksgiving; there are thousands of kids who will have nothing during the holidays. Please consider helping these children and donating to the My Stuff Bags Foundation for abused and neglected children this #GivingTuesday.
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The primary mission of the My Stuff Bags Foundation is to provide children entering foster care and crisis shelters with brand new belongings of comfort and necessity to help ease their transition into foster care. However, in cases of extraordinary circumstances or instances of disaster, our Foundation is prepared to answer the call.
In the late afternoon on Friday, October 4th, a fire tore through an Oxnard, CA neighborhood, destroying many residences in its path. The fire forced over 60 people onto the streets with nowhere to go. Thankfully, our friends at the Ventura County chapter of the American Red Cross stepped up and were able to provide shelter to these families in a school gymnasium. Red Cross volunteers have been working around the clock since the fire to make sure all of the displaced families have the food, shelter and comfort they need, but they wanted to do more to help the many children under the shelter’s roof. Some of these children lost all of their belongings in the fire, while those whose homes remained undamaged are prevented from returning to their neighborhood while an investigation is conducted. These children had nothing to help them get through the long days spent away from home.
The Red Cross called us up to see if we would be able to send them My Stuff Bags to help these children get through a difficult situation, and we gladly obliged! We decided that in this extreme case, we would put together especially personal bags for each child in the shelter, and sent over 40 bags, each with a very specific set of items based on the age and gender of each child in the shelter. We are happy to report that the bags arrived in the gymnasium, and were very well received by the children. We want to thank the Ventura County American Red Cross chapter for all they have done to help these families get through a difficult time, and we were happy to assist!