Coalition Says Homicide Numbers are Even Worse Than They Appear

FINAL DVAM 2013 Press Release 9.27.13

Statewide Coalition Says Homicide Numbers are Even Worse Than They Appear  

For Immediate Release:  September 27, 2013

Contact for LCADV:  Russell Bonewitz, (225) 752-1296

Baton Rouge, LA – Each October, across the nation people concerned with domestic violence devote the month of October to raising awareness of the issue.  This year is no different as communities throughout the state take time out to bring light to a particularly troubling problem for Louisiana.

Louisiana consistently leads the nation in domestic homicides and has done so since 1997.  According to the recently released Violence Policy Center report, When Men Murder Women, in 2011 Louisiana ranked 9th in the nation in the rate of women killed by men.

However, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence tracks domestic homicides and says that number is slightly misleading and the reality is probably worse than the report reveals.

The VPC report does not focus on domestic violence fatalities.  Rather, it focuses on female victims killed by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents.  The report does not count multiple death incidents, or incidents where the perpetrator and victim are the same gender.  According to the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, this means a large number of deaths related to domestic homicide were not included in the 2011 analysis.

For the year 2011, the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, using multiple sources, identified 71 domestic violence fatalities as follows;

•           Single female victim/single male offender:  39 incidents

•           Single male victim/single female perpetrator:  10 incidents

•           Single female victim/single female perpetrator:   1 incident

•           Single male victim/single male perpetrator:   1 incident

•           Multiple victims/single offender:  9 incidents resulting in 20 fatalities

The incidents listed above, as tracked by the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, accounted for an additional 21 incidents resulting in 32 deaths which were not included in the VPC report.

“This means in the year 2011 in Louisiana, there were 60 incidents resulting in 71 deaths that could be defined as domestic homicide.  Meaning we had an approximate 16% increase in domestic violence fatalities from 2010 to 2011.” said Beth Meeks, Executive Director.  “What is clear is that our rate of domestic homicides did not improve from 2010 to 2011, in fact it worsened.”

Meeks says there are a number of complicated factors that contribute to that increase but the lack of resources and closure of some shelter programs in recent years is alarming and probably makes it difficult for victims to access safety services.  “We have large areas with too few shelter beds.  Programs are doing the best they can with outreach advocates but as funding has been slashed staff have been reduced.  There just aren’t enough services for persons seeking immediate safety.”

Meeks encouraged individuals to take a stand in their local areas.  “Do something valuable for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Donate to a domestic violence program, tell your legislators to protect the funding for these services, encourage local funders to support them.  We each have a role to play in stopping this violence.”

Programs throughout the state are commemorating this month with a wide variety of activities including Take Back the Night marches, candlelight vigils and luncheons.  Meeks thinks citizens are a key force in solving this problem. “I would encourage people all over Louisiana to attend these events to show your support and send a clear message that Louisiana does not tolerate domestic violence.”

For additional information on domestic violence, or for a list of Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities in your area visit www.lcadv.org.

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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.

 

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