January is National Stalking Awareness Month

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, National Stalking Awareness Month challenges the nation to fight this dangerous and potentially lethal crime by learning more about it.

What is stalking? According to Louisiana RS 14:40.2, Stalking is the intentional and repeated following or harassing of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or to suffer emotional distress.

Statistics

  • Each year 7.5 million people are stalked in the United States.
  • 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
  • 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
  • 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.
  • 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more.
  •  1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization.

If you are experiencing stalking or need help developing a safety plan you can call the Louisiana Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-411-1333 or visit http://lcadv.org/member-programs/. 

Statistics Source: Stalking Resource Center

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LCADV to Compete in Purple Purse Challenge, Focused on Financial Abuse

Baton Rouge, LA – The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is the only Louisiana nonprofit selected to join domestic violence organizations across the country competing in The Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge, which launches on Monday. The Challenge is a public fundraising and awareness campaign that coincides with October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Challenge features charities that work to ensure economic empowerment for domestic violence survivors. This is LCADV’s second year competing in the Challenge.

“LCADV’s statewide economic empowerment efforts include everything from public policy initiatives to matching savings programs for domestic violence survivors,” said Mariah Wineski, Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “We are excited for the opportunity to compete in The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge. Every domestic violence survivor deserves the economic resources necessary to live in safety. With the public’s help in this Challenge, we can move closer to that goal.”

One-hundred percent of proceeds raised by LCADV in this challenge will go toward life-changing financial empowerment services to help domestic violence survivors build safer lives for themselves and their families. In order to count toward an organization’s total, donations must be received by Oct. 31 at 1:00 p.m. CST, and must be received through the Crowdrise-hosted page found at www.lcadv.org/purplepurse.

To further boost their fundraising efforts, LCADV will raffle an extremely limited edition purple purse designed by tennis champion and Purple Purse ambassador, Serena Williams. Each donation of $100 made in support of LCADV throughout the Challenge will qualify for one entry to win this exclusive tote, handcrafted from premium Italian leather.

The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge is administered by CrowdRise and is part of Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, a public education and fundraising program aimed at raising awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence and financial abuse and the need for resources to help survivors. Now in its 13th year, Allstate Foundation Purple Purse has propelled more than 1 million survivors on the path to safety and security, and invested more than $55 million to empower women to break free from abuse through life-changing financial education, job training and readiness and small business programs for survivors.

To help LCADV win The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge, head to www.lcadv.org/purplepurse. There are many ways to help: you can make a contribution, create your own fundraising page, or share the Challenge page with others.

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ABOUT LOUISIANA COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a statewide network of programs, organizations, and individuals who share the goal of ending domestic violence in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members and communities through advocacy, education, resource development, and technical assistance.
LCADV is dedicated to bringing about change in our institutions, laws, politics, attitudes, and beliefs which will allow individuals to live free of violence. For more information, visit www.lcadv.org.

ABOUT THE ALLSTATE FOUNDATION
Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organization across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity. With a focus on building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, empowering youth and celebrating the charitable community involvement of Allstate agency owners and employees, The Allstate Foundation works to bring out the good in people’s lives. For more information, visit www.AllstateFoundation.org.

Louisiana Remains Among Deadliest States for Women

Baton Rouge, LA – The Washington, D.C. based Violence Policy Center has issued its annual report on female murder victims, and it once again paints a grim picture for Louisiana. The report, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of Homicide Data, reviews female victims killed by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents and ranks all states from highest rates to lowest. The 2017 report, which analyzed homicides committed in 2015, was released this week. Louisiana ranks 3rd in the nation, down from 2nd the year before.

The report reveals that nationwide more than 1,680 women were murdered by men in 2015, and the most common weapon used was a gun. 93% of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew. The report also shows that black women were disproportionately victimized, with black females being murdered by males at a rate more than twice as high as white females: 2.43 per 100,000 versus 0.96 per 100,000. The report does not count multiple death incidents or incidents where the perpetrator and victim are the same gender.

This is the 20th year that the Violence Policy Center has published When Men Murder Women. From 1996 to 2015, the rate of women murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents nationwide dropped from 1.57 per 100,000 women in 1996 to 1.12 per 100,000 women in 2015, a decrease of 29%. However, a review of the report reveals that Louisiana has failed to make the progress seen in the rest of the nation. The rate in Louisiana remains 2.22 per 100,000, double the national average, and 41% higher than the national average was 20 years ago when the reporting began.

Mariah Wineski, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says there are a number of factors that contribute to Louisiana’s high homicide rate. One factor is inadequate funding for victim services. “Domestic violence programs across the state are stretched dangerously thin. Without additional resources, there simply are not enough shelter beds to meet the needs of victims seeking immediate safety.” Another factor, Wineski says, is easy firearm access for abusers. “Although state and federal law prohibit many abusers from possessing firearms, our state lacks any consistent process for actually implementing these prohibitions. This means many people convicted of domestic abuse battery – and therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm – nonetheless retain access to their guns.” Of the women killed by men in Louisiana in 2015, 64% were killed with guns.

Though they expressed frustration with the state’s ranking, advocates are hopeful that change is possible. “This report should be a wake-up call for Louisiana policymakers,” Wineski said. “We are facing a homicide rate of epidemic proportions.” The report shows that the rate of women murdered by men in Louisiana has increased steadily each year from 2011 (1.67 per 100,000) to 2015 (2.22 per 100,000). “We can’t afford to continue on this path. It is time for our state to prioritize women’s lives.”

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The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a statewide network of programs, organizations, and individuals who share the goal of ending domestic violence in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members and communities through advocacy, education, resource development, and technical assistance. LCADV is dedicated to bringing about change in our institutions, laws, politics, attitudes, and beliefs which will allow individuals to live free of violence. For more information, visit www.lcadv.org.

Download press release: VPC 2017 Press Release
See full report at http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2017.pdf

Domestic Violence is Rooted in Oppression

Strengthening our Resolve in the Wake of Charlottesville

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence extends our sympathies to the families of those injured and killed in last weekend’s white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn their hatred and the culture of violence and oppression that it sustains. This type of hatred and bigotry emboldens those who use violence, coercion, intimidation, and domination to maintain power over others.

Last weekend’s events in Charlottesville made clear, yet again, the pressing need to dismantle systems of oppression that justify and promote violence. White supremacy is one of many such systems that play a central role in the continuation of gender based violence. We must acknowledge that all forms of oppression contribute to, and justify the existence of, domestic violence.

LCADV’s mission is to end domestic violence, and to do that we must not only acknowledge these systems of oppression, but actively work to end them. We encourage those who seek an end to domestic violence to recognize its roots in white supremacy, sexism, homophobia, and colonialism, and to take an active role in ending them. Only then will we create a society where all can live free of violence.  

Statewide Needs Assessment: Domestic Violence in Louisiana

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence is pleased to publish the results of a 10-month needs assessment of the current state of domestic violence victim services and victims’ needs in Louisiana. The 2017 statewide needs assessment was conducted from August 2016 through May 2017 with the primary objectives of:

  • Reviewing the structure and composition of the field of domestic violence victim services and criminal justice system response to domestic violence in Louisiana.
  • Providing information about the current needs of domestic violence victims and the state of the service delivery and criminal justice systems.
  • Developing the beginnings of a comprehensive understanding of unmet needs and service gaps through the perspectives of both service providers and victims
  • Identifying gaps in available services and barriers to accessing services among populations considered to have specific needs.

This assessment report is designed to provide an analysis of select aspects of domestic violence response in Louisiana, to supplement information already available from other sources, and to identify significant areas of remaining need in our state’s domestic violence response. It is meant to give a voice to domestic violence survivors as it relates to their experience navigating various systems.

In conjunction with information available from other sources, the information in the report can be used for:

  • Providing discussion points for planners and funders.
  • Planning services to meet victims’ immediate needs, as well as their needs related to the long-term impacts of domestic violence victimization on their lives.
  • Prioritizing services so they can be provided in a way that has the greatest impact for victims.
  • Devising system supports to law enforcement, prosecutors, and service providers so they can most effectively meet the needs of victims.
  • Designing the content, location, audience and methods for future trainings.

To access the report and appendices, visit www.lcadv.org/statewide-needs-assessment.

Coalition Announces New Executive Director

Baton Rouge, LA – The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) announced today the hiring of Mariah Stidham Wineski, MS, as the agency’s Executive Director. LCADV is the federally designated statewide coalition of shelters, non-residential programs and individuals working to end domestic violence in Louisiana. Wineski was chosen to lead the Coalition, effective August 1st, after a nationwide search that began in November of 2016.

Wineski brings with her fourteen years of experience in social change and anti-violence work, with a focus on public policy and strategic communications. She has been employed by LCADV for four years, most recently serving as Interim Executive Director since December of 2016. Prior to her work with the Coalition, she served as Director of Education for the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. She has also coordinated legislative policy, public affairs, and media relations for regional and national women’s health organizations. Ms. Wineski is the current secretary of the Louisiana Domestic Violence Prevention Commission and serves on the Victim Services Advisory Board of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement.

In accepting the role as Executive Director, Wineski said, “It is an honor to have been selected for this position. I look forward to continuing the great work of LCADV, supporting our vision of a Louisiana where individuals can live free of violence.” Wineski stressed the importance of the Coalition’s work, given Louisiana’s current ranking as second in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men. “Louisiana has made great progress in recent years, but there is clearly much work that remains to be done to address domestic violence in our state. The Coalition has a strong network of members and supporters who work tirelessly to bring an end to domestic violence. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity and I look forward to making meaningful progress.”

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a statewide network of programs, organizations, and individuals who share the goal of ending domestic violence in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members and communities through advocacy, education, resource development, and technical assistance. LCADV is dedicated to bringing about change in our institutions, laws, politics, attitudes, and beliefs which will allow individuals to live free of violence. For more information, visit www.lcadv.org.

Advocates Applaud Passage of Bills Expanding Domestic Violence Protections

Download Press Release 

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) applauded Tuesday’s final passage of bills expanding domestic violence protections in Louisiana. HB 223 by Representative Helena Moreno and HB 27 by Representative Patrick Connick cleared their final legislative hurdle with Senate passage that sends each to the governor’s desk.

The bills close longstanding loopholes in Louisiana’s domestic violence statutes. HB 223 extends the majority of existing domestic violence protections to dating partners. Previously, dating partners who did not live together or share a child were excluded from the protections provided in the domestic abuse battery law. HB 27 changes the definition of “household member” in Louisiana’s domestic abuse criminal statutes to include cohabiting couples of the same sex. Louisiana is one of only two states whose current law explicitly excludes LGBT victims from these protections. “These changes have been a long time coming,” said Mariah Wineski, Interim Executive Director at LCADV. “A large portion of domestic violence survivors have historically been excluded from the legal protections provided in the criminal code.  We applaud today’s legislative victory and look forward to seeing the results of these changes in the field.”

Wineski credits a strong coalition of advocates and supporters for the bills’ success. “Domestic violence is an issue that crosses all social and political boundaries. We are lucky to have a diverse network of people who care deeply about ending domestic violence in our state and are willing to put in the work to see real progress.” The Coalition worked in partnership with several entities to move this legislation through, including the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, various law enforcement and district attorneys’ offices, and local domestic violence advocates across the state.

The bills seek to fix issues in the law that have hindered Louisiana’s domestic violence response for years. According to LCADV, 60% of Louisiana’s intimate partner homicide victims in 2016 were not married to their abusers. Recent high-profile domestic homicides involving couples of the same sex have also brought attention to the disparities in the law. “At the end of the day, these bills will help provide safety for domestic violence victims who currently fall through the cracks.” said Wineski.

The bills were part of a larger package of legislation supported by LCADV.  Three bills by Representative John Schroder, HB 499, HB 509, and HB 524, also passed the Senate on Thursday. These bills advance other portions of the Coalition’s legislative agenda, including enhanced protections for victims of stalking and increased penalties for protection order violations. Wineski praised the progress made this legislative session, “We are grateful for the legislators who are willing to carry these bills and see them through to the end. We have no doubt that these changes will help save lives. It’s a great step forward for our state.”

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The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a statewide network of programs, organizations, and individuals who share the goal of ending domestic violence in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members and communities through advocacy, education, resource development, and technical assistance. LCADV is dedicated to bringing about change in our institutions, laws, politics, attitudes, and beliefs which will allow individuals to live free of violence. For more information, visit www.lcadv.org.

Coalition Expresses Support for Iberia and St. Martin Parishes Upon Closure of Domestic Violence Service Provider

For Immediate Release: February 20, 2017
Baton Rouge, Louisiana – The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) today released a statement expressing support for the greater New Iberia community as it weathers the loss of its domestic violence service provider. Safety Net for Abused Persons (SNAP) announced late last week that they would be closing their shelter and ceasing services.
The Interim Executive Director of LCADV, Mariah Wineski, expressed dismay at the closure of SNAP, but was optimistic about the ability to meet the needs of survivors of domestic violence in Iberia and St. Martin Parishes. “We have a strong network of service providers across the state, and neighboring programs have stepped up to ensure that temporary services are provided to survivors in SNAP’s service area.” Chez Hope, headquartered in neighboring St. Mary Parish, has agreed to take all hotline calls and provide outreach services to survivors in Iberia and St. Martin Parishes. “Chez Hope has confirmed that they can offer domestic violence supportive services in the immediate term, so the community still has a safety net in place while we work to transition other services permanently.” said Wineski.
Wineski says that when a shelter closes, one of the neighboring programs will typically offer services temporarily while stakeholders work to locate a new service provider. According to the coalition, there are rigorous standards for providing domestic violence services which are governed by many state and federal laws. The coalition has offered its assistance to key leaders as they determine next steps for the greater New Iberia area.
Wineski also praised the SNAP leadership for their efforts to close the shelter in an organized and ethical manner. “Citizens in the New Iberia area deserve a quality resource for services, support and education as they address the critical issue of domestic violence. We are prepared to offer them training, support and any technical assistance necessary as they transition to a new service provider,” said Wineski.
Domestic violence survivors in Iberia and St. Martin Parishes seeking shelter, temporary restraining orders, or other supportive services should call the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-888-411-1333. All services at LCADV member programs are free and confidential.

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About The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a statewide network of programs, organizations, and individuals who share the goal of ending domestic violence in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members and communities through advocacy, education, resource development, and technical assistance. LCADV is dedicated to bringing about change in our institutions, laws, politics, attitudes, and beliefs which will allow individuals to live free of violence. For more information, visit www.lcadv.org.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Dating violence is a serious and common type of abuse that affects people of all backgrounds. As teens begin to enter into relationships, it is more important than ever to talk to them about abuse.

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. For more information on dating violence and what you can do to help promote healthy relationships, visit our resource page.