Domestic Violence Coalition Advocates Caution in Wake of Latest Homicide
Baton Rouge, Louisiana – The statewide domestic violence coalition is expressing concern over comments made in the wake of a domestic homicide this week. Monica Johnson of Geismar, Lousiana, was murdered by her estranged husband on Sunday. In response, some community members have advocated that battered women should get guns to protect themselves from their abusers.
“We believe that victims of domestic violence should have the right to firearms for protection if they so choose. And we know some women say they feel safer with a firearm. We just want to make sure people understand that owning a firearm does not guarantee safety, and in cases of domestic violence it actually increases risk significantly.” said Beth Meeks, Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
According to research by Mayors Against Illegal Guns the presence of a firearm in a domestic violence situation increased the risk of homicide by 500% for women. And a study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that over 70% of battered women had been threatened with a gun, while only 7% had used a gun successfully in self-defense.
Telling battered women to kill their abusers can have unintended consequences. Rarely does a self-defense claim work for these women, and as many as 90% of the women in prison today for killing men had been battered by those men. Additionally, when women are sentenced, on average, they receive more than twice the sentence men receive when they kill their partners.
“Beyond the statistics we must realize that even when it is necessary, taking another life creates deep emotional trauma that has long lasting effects.” Meeks said. “Our goal here should be to reduce all homicides, not merely exchange victims.”
Meeks says many communities across the nation have made dramatic reductions in their domestic homicide rates through practices such as expedited dockets, risk assessment, high risk management teams, and intensive monitoring of offenders. “If we are as committed to stopping domestic violence as we say we are, then we simply must retool our interventions to mirror what we know works.”
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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.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Miss Louisiana USA, Candice Bennatt, has chosen domestic violence as her signature cause during her reign. With a compelling personal history of having overcome a violent relationship, Bennatt looks forward to sharing her experience and message of hope with others. She has chosen to partner with Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence to serve as a celebrity ambassador for the cause.
“We are thrilled to partner with Ms. Bennatt to increase awareness of domestic violence across the state and advocate for meaningful change,” said Beth Meeks, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Ms. Bennatt’s dedication to ending domestic violence is impressive, and this partnership will help bring domestic violence issues to the forefront of the statewide conversation.”
Domestic violence remains a serious problem, with Louisiana consistently leading the nation in domestic homicides. The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence tracks these homicides and says from 2010 through 2012 there were 178 deaths due to domestic violence. 74% of these were committed with firearms and 37% of the offenders had a prior history of domestic violence or other violent crimes. The murder rate of women in Louisiana has been as much as twice the national average in recent years.
It is statistics like these that the coalition hopes to change. On April 28th, Bennatt will join domestic violence and sexual assault advocates from across the state at the 4th Annual Day at the Capitol, hosted by Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. This event will include display tables in the Rotunda of the Louisiana State Capitol building from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a presentation on the Capitol Steps will begin at 9:00 a.m. Advocates and supporters will speak with legislators throughout the day to discuss domestic and sexual violence in Louisiana and how legislation can affect programs, advocates, and survivors.
On the evening of April 27th, the coalitions will host the 4th Annual Purple and Teal Reception to honor allies in the movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Miss Louisiana USA will also be present at the reception to share her personal story of hope and resilience in the aftermath of abuse. Several legislators and service providers will also be honored for their efforts in recent years. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lcadv.org.
“Our Day at the Capitol events provide a great opportunity for ordinary citizens to make a difference by participating in meaningful advocacy with their elected officials,” said Meeks. “We are pleased to have Miss Louisiana USA Candice Bennatt join us for Day at the Capitol and the Purple and Teal Reception, and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the future.”
More information on Day at the Capitol events can be found at www.lcadv.org.
“Being a victim of domestic violence has a stigma. But what if you had other options that could help you transform from a victim to a survivor? Those options may seem unattainable, but it is never too late. By saying YES to your life, and YES to your dreams you can break the cycle of abuse for yourself and for future generations as I have in my very own life. One of my favorite quotes says, “If life knocks you down, try to land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.” Your immediate circumstances are not the end of the road. Find the reasons in your life that will keep you going, keep you strong, and help you overcome temporary obstacles. I was a severely abused by my high school boyfriend, but today I am proud to say I am a survivor!”
LCADV is pleased to announce the first ever statewide Assemblage of Batterer Intervention Program Providers.
This meeting gives providers a chance to network with other providers around the state, hear about new legislation establishing minimum requirements for batterer programs and learn about opportunities for beneficial partnerships with the coalition.
Among other things we will discuss a newly proposed registry of program providers, upcoming legislative initiatives, national trends in batterer programming and future training opportunities.
This meeting is free of charge and open to all professionals providing batterer intervention programming in Louisiana.
Meeting logistics are as follows:
Monday, February 9, 2015
Jones Creek Regional Branch Library 6222 Jones Creek Road Baton Rouge, LA 70817 Meeting Room #2
Children Exposed to Violence: When Domestic Violence Meets Child Abuse
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
2271 8th St.
Mandeville, LA 70471
– Explore the dynamics of domestic violence
– Recognize the needs of children exposed to domestic violence
– Acquire screening techniques and risk and protective factors that are unique to domestic violence
– Apply evidence based developmental and age-appropriate interventions
– Formulate a model case plan applicable to children exposed to domestic violence
Who Should Attend: Child welfare professionals, behavioral health professionals, social workers who come into contact with children
$25 per person.
3.0 general hours of continuing education credit for social workers has been applied for.
COALITION RELEASES PROTOCOL ADDRESSING CHILDREN WHO WITNESS DOMESTIC HOMICIDE
Project First of Its Kind in the Nation
Baton Rouge, LA– November 20, 2014 – The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence has released a recommended protocol for responding to children exposed to domestic homicides. The protocol, the first of its kind in the nation, became available for download today through the LCADV website.
The protocol was the result of a three year project, funded by the Federal Department of Justice, dedicated to building capacity to assist children exposed to violence. A group of stakeholders and partners, including The New Orleans Children’s Bureau, the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Children and Family Services, participated in authoring the protocol.
LCADV records approximately 60 domestic homicides per year in Louisiana and estimates that at least 100 children per year lose one or both parents in domestic homicides. Annualized over a lifetime this means that there are likely between 8,000 – 10,000 people living in Louisiana who have grown or are currently growing up without a parent due to these tragic crimes.
Louisiana was uniquely situated to author such a protocol due to the high rate of domestic homicides in our state. Louisiana has ranked in the top 5 states leading the nation in domestic homicides for more than a decade. “We know that most of the victims are parents and often their children are on scene when the crimes occur,” said Beth Meeks, Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Unfortunately, we have an uncommon set of experiences and skills in this state because we have had to handle so many of these incidents. We found that there was not much consistency in response and no tools professionals could rely on to lead them.”
The protocol is intended for use by first responders and allied professionals who work in the field of domestic violence. It gives a step by step guide to responding to children who have been affected by domestic violence deaths, whether or not they were on scene at the incident. The protocol walks through a process in chronological order from the time of the incident to the time of a child reintegrating at school.
“We are hoping that communities throughout Louisiana, and the nation, use the protocol to begin conversations about the level of coordination they have in addressing these crimes and what specific resources are available for children who are exposed to this sort of violence.” said Meeks. The protocol is free and comes with an accompanying toolkit that provides educational materials and resources that can be used with families.
Coalition staff are available to provide training and technical assistance to communities wishing to implement the protocol.
Join us for two day advanced symposium on effective domestic violence interventions.
This multidisciplinary symposium is geared toward seasoned professionals working on domestic violence cases.
This hands-on symposium will address:
– Risk assessment in domestic violence cases
– Specific training on the ODARA risk assessment tool
– Gwen’s Law – how new legislation affects domestic violence response
– Louisiana’s statewide domestic violence homicide protocol
– Advanced interventions for surviving children of domestic violence homicides
– Housing protections for domestic violence survivors
Homicide Protocol, Advanced Interventions for Surviving Children of Domestic Homicide, Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors
Gwen’s Law, Risk Assessment, ODARA Risk Assessment Tool
November 5 & 6, 2014
8:30am – 5:00pm
Belle of Baton Rouge Casino Hotel
103 France St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Registration Fee: $80 for two days. $50 for a single day.
Group discounts are available for groups of 5 or more. Please contact us to inquire.
Who Should Attend: Law Enforcement, Prosecution, Corrections, Domestic Violence Advocates, Social Workers, any professional who interacts with children exposed to domestic violence.
For more information, visit http://lcadv.org/advanced-skills-symposium.