Louisiana Budget Cuts Jeopardize Domestic Violence Victims

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release

December 18, 2012

Louisiana Budget Cuts Jeopardize Domestic Violence Victims

Baton Rouge, La. – Domestic violence service providers across the state are reeling from the impact of Governor Jindal’s latest round of mid-year budget cuts. The cuts created a 21.2% reduction in Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) contracts for domestic violence services. These cuts are retroactive to the July 1 start date of the contracts. This means emergency shelter programs across the state will lose more than 42% of their funding from DCFS over the next six months.

“We had a conference call with the programs this morning and I think they are in shock.  DCFS is the majority of their budgets. No one has yet been able to calculate what cuts this deep will look like.” said Beth Meeks Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Meeks does not yet know if any programs will be forced to close but the programs have indicated that they are reviewing all options. “There will certainly be layoffs and reductions in services. Programs are evaluating what if any other options exist.”

The cuts are aimed at rebalancing the state’s budget in light of lower revenue expectations and higher costs.The budget must be balanced by the time the fiscal year ends on June 30.

“While we certainly expected to share in budget cuts, this level of cut is devastating and potentially dangerous for the women and children that need our services,” said Meeks.  One major area of concern is the possible reduction in beds at shelters that already often operate at or over capacity. “For many victims shelter is a last resort. It provides a secure environment that you can’t get at a local hotel and they don’t want to put their extended families at risk by staying with them,” Meeks explained.

In a one day snapshot on September 15, 2011, Louisiana domestic violence hotlines answered 314 calls, meaning Louisiana programs answered more than 13 hotline calls every hour. In that same day programs reported 51 unmet requests for service, 75% of which were requests for shelter that were unable to be met due to unavailable bed space or funding for hotel stays.

Meeks encouraged communities to rally together in an effort to address domestic violence, “It is clear that communities across Louisiana will need to radically rethink how we are delivering domestic violence services. This announcement should serve as an impetus to implement a stronger coordinated community response. Perpetrators must be held accountable; protection orders must be issued and enforced. We can only reduce the need for shelter beds if we can make it safe for women to remain in their own homes.”

Louisiana consistently leads the nation in domestic homicides and has done so since 1997. According to the September 2012 Violence Policy Center report, When Men Murder Women, in 2010 Louisiana ranked 4th in the nation in the rate of women killed by men.

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence tracks these homicides and says from October 2011 through September 2012, at least 59 people died in domestic violence homicides in Louisiana.

For additional information on domestic violence, or to learn ways to get involved, please visit: www.lcadv.org.

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a state wide network of battered women’s programs, other organizations and individuals who share the goal of ending violence against women and children in Louisiana.  LCADV empowers its members through advocacy, education, resource development and technical assistance.

 

Lafayette native honored for tireless work in domestic violence field

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release

November 29, 2012

Lafayette native honored for tireless work in domestic violence field

Baton Rouge, La. – Ralph C. Peters was presented with the Leanne Knot Memorial Award during a luncheon in honor of his tireless work in the domestic violence field during the 9th Annual Conference on Sexual Assault and Family Violence being held at the Baton Rouge Marriott, Nov. 27-29.

The Leanne Knot Memorial Award recognizes an individual within our state who has made a significant contribution, either through their employment or as a volunteer, in the area of
prevention or intervention in domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

For the past thirty years, Peters has provided education to law enforcement on domestic violence investigation techniques and working with victims. The Lafayette native currently serves on the board of directors at both the Domestic Violence Education and Support Groups (D.O.V.E.S.) located in Natchitoches, La., and Faith House located in Lafayette, La., which are member programs of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“It is my profound honor to present this award to Ralph Peterson,” said Tracy Dahmer-Farris, Domestic Violence Director at the Attorney General’s Office. The Hammond native described Peterson as being invaluable in that he always makes himself available to train fellow law enforcement officers, advocates and the general public which helps in the effective prosecution of offenders.

The Leanne Knot Memorial Award was established in 1998 to honor the memory of Leanne Knot, a Tulane University graduate student who was abducted, raped and murdered in New Orleans on Feb. 14, 1997, following the close of the First Annual Collaborating to STOP Violence Against Women Conference, where she had served as a volunteer.

“This award is so meaningful because it allows us to honor those who work to end sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence in Louisiana,” said Judy Benitez, Executive Director of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. “Ralph Peters has been a true asset in our field and we are delighted he is this years’ award recipient.”

“It’s not me who should be getting an award,” said the very humble Peters to the cheering crowd of advocates during his acceptance speech. “It’s all of you who are out here helping those who need it most. Ya’ll are the real heroes.”

His wife, Linda S. Peters, was present and beaming as she stated how very proud she was of her husband’s untiring work. “I know this field is where his heart is and I am happy to support him.”

“We appreciate Ralph’s decades long commitment in the domestic violence movement, said Beth Meeks, Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “He is one of the many community volunteers that really help keep our agencies up and running. I encourage people all over Louisiana to follow his example and support local agencies to help send a clear message that Louisiana does not tolerate domestic violence.”

“Ralph’s longtime commitment to ending sexual assault and domestic violence has advanced the overall mission of our movement in Louisiana,” said Billi J. Lacombe, Faith House Director who nominated Peters for the award. “His greatest contribution to the domestic violence movement has been to change the methods used by law enforcement in their treatment of perpetrators and victims.”

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Welcome Kim Clement!

We are pleased to announce that Kimberly Clement has joined our team as Program Development Coordinator! Please join us in extending a heartfelt welcome to Kim as she transitions into her new position. We appreciate the interest of all the talented job applicants, wish you the best in your endeavors and hope that you will join us in the fight against domestic violence.

LCADV Lagniappe

Welcome to our new, quarterly newsletter, LCADV Lagniappe, filled with invaluable information about coalition work.

We hope that you will find this newsletter useful and informative. Feel free to share the LCADV Lagniappe with your friends and help us spread the word about the work that we, along with our member programs, do to help end domestic violence in Louisiana.

LCADV Lagniappe-NOV 2012

#PassVAWA2012 Facebook Photo Campaign

LCADV would like to thank everyone who participated in the #PassVAWA2012 Facebook Photo Campaign! We appreciate you sharing your stories with us and supporing the National Day of Action as we tell Congress that it’s time to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act! Feel free to keep tagging us on Facebook or email your submissions to: info@lcadv.org.

VAWA National Day of Action

This Wednesday, Nov. 14th, is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION.  The easiest way to participate is through social media.  Be a part of a ground-breaking campaign to leverage the full power of social media in fighting for the Reauthorization of VAWA! Join advocates across the nation in the #PassVAWA2012 Facebook Photo Campaign to tell Congress that it’s time to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act!  It’s easy – just snap photos of you, your friends, and your colleagues – holding up signs saying why we need to Pass VAWA NOW!  Tweetpic to #PassVAWA2012.  Once you send LCADV your photos (monica@lcadv.org), or tag us on Facebook, Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, we’ll send them to the NNEDV team.  Here are some examples:

Want to do more?  Use this number 888.269.5702 to connect to the Capitol switchboard.  Then ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative (www.house.gov) or Senator (www.senate.gov) and tell him or her to pass an inclusive VAWA 2012.

Showcase of Strength

LCADV was proud to support A Showcase of Strength held at the Sigur Center in Chalmette, La., Oct. 6th. Big thanks to the St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program, Inc. for sharing their 25th Anniversary gala photos with us! Please follow St. Bernard Battered Women’s Programs, Inc. on Facebook to view the rest of the gala photos.

LCADV’s Director’s Retreat – Fashion Show Winners

Congratulations to our fashion show winners: Cindy Roach from The Wellspring Alliance for Families ~ ‘Most Unique’, Valerie Bowman, Domestic Violence Program Director for The Wellspring Alliance for Families ~ ‘Most Adventurous’ and Dale Standifer, Executive Director of Metropolitan Center for Women and Children ~ ‘Grand Supreme!’ Thank you to everyone who participated. We hope you are all enjoyed LCADV’s Director’s Retreat!

OASIS’ Flowers on the Lake

LCADV was proud to support OASIS’ Flowers on the Lake at the Lake Charles Civic Center Seawall on Oct. 30th. The event raised awareness and provided support for domestic and sexual violence.

LSU/CAFVIC – Take Back the Night

LCADV staff supported LSU’s Office of Health Promotion, Women’s Center, CAFVIC and several community members during the 26th Annual Take Back The Night Candlelight March held at LSU’s Memorial Tower on Oct. 14.