When is the best time to start counseling for the victims of domestic violence? Right at the scene. But that has hardly been much of an option. The police officers are generally too consumed in subduing, arresting or at least calming the presumed perpetrator to devote much immediate time to the abused. It is at that moment that the victim is most deeply in need, and perhaps most easily reached with sound and sobering advice.
Fortunately, Los Angeles police in Van Nuys now have such options. That LAPD division is the first to field a Domestic Violence Response Team, which sends volunteer counselors out with patrol units when they respond to domestic abuse calls.
Gail Pincus is one of the volunteers, and she provided invaluable help to a woman who was recently battered into semi-consciousness by her husband. Pincus accompanied the woman to a hospital, filled out the financial forms needed to pay her medical bills, provided counseling, and contacted the woman's relatives.
"She was all alone and couldn't talk," Pincus told Times' reporter Jeff Schnaufer. Dealing with her immediate emotional and psychological needs "was not a police job," Pincus added. "They don't have the time."