Guidance on Danger Assessments and Gwen’s Law

On August 1, 2014, Act 318, commonly referred to as ‘Gwen’s Law’, went into effect throughout the state of Louisiana.  Gwen’s Law instructs courts to conduct a danger assessment and take that into account when determining bail in felony offenses committed against a family or household member or dating partner.

LCADV has issued a memo that seeks to provide professionals working on domestic violence cases guidance on danger assessments and their implementation.

Find the memo and related resources here.

ADVOCATES URGE NATIONAL ACTION TO PREVENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOMICIDES

For Immediate Release:  4:00pm CST, July 29, 2014

Contact:  Beth Meeks, (225) 752-1296

Baton Rouge, LA – July 29, 2014 – Louisiana domestic violence advocates continue to support legislation that will prevent domestic violence homicides. Beth Meeks, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, will join several advocates from across the nation in Washington, DC, for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Meeks and other advocates have urged Senators to support the Protecting Domestic and Stalking Victims Act by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). This legislation would protect victims of stalking and dating violence by restricting abusive dating partners’ access to firearms. The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, through Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, has provided information to the committee regarding domestic violence related gun deaths in Louisiana. Those scheduled to testify in support of the bill include Dr. Jacqueline Campbell, Sheriff Christopher Schmaling, and Elvin Daniel. Daniel is the brother of Zina Daniel, who was killed by her husband at a Wisconsin salon in 2012. Her husband purchased the firearm online and therefore was not subject to a background check. Two coworkers were also killed in the incident.

Keeping guns out of the hands of abusers is a top priority for Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This spring, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into effect a package of domestic violence laws, including a law prohibiting domestic violence offenders from possessing a firearm. Federal law currently prohibits abusive spouses from possessing firearms, but these restrictions generally do not apply to dating partners and those convicted of stalking.

Meeks stressed the urgency of addressing gun violence committed against women. “Not only does Louisiana have a domestic violence homicide rate significantly higher than the national average, we also have a higher percentage of these homicides being committed with guns.” Nationally, 52.5% of domestic violence homicides are committed with a gun. In Louisiana, this number is 74%.  “Keeping guns out of the hands of abusers can prevent countless domestic homicides. Action on this issue is crucial to victim safety in Louisiana and across the nation.”

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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.

 

Free Training Opportunity In Shreveport

LCADV is pleased to announce a free half-day training in Shreveport, LA.

Children Exposed to Violence: When Domestic Violence Meets Child Abuse

Training Information:

Thursday, July 17, 2014
9:00am-12:00pm

Northwest Regional Reentry Facility
1121 Forum Dr.
Shreveport, LA  71107

Learning objectives:
- 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

Registration:
This training is free. However, space is limited and registration is required.

Continuing Education:
This training has been approved for 3.0 general hours of continuing education credit by the National Association of Social Workers – Louisiana Chapter, as authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Social Workers.

Click here for more information and registration.

Upcoming Training: Safe and Positive: The Intersection of Domestic Violence and HIV/AIDS

DV-HIVJoin us for this dynamic half-day training, presented by LCADV in partnership with HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two (HAART). 

Domestic violence and HIV/AIDS experts will address:

  • Advanced Domestic Violence Dynamics
  • Cutting edge data on HIV transmission, progression, and prevention
  • Intersection of Domestic Violence with HIV/AIDS
  • Impact of socioeconomic disparities on the well-being of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence survivors.
  • Promising practices to enhance safety for survivors of domestic violence and HIV/AIDS
  • Collaborative advocacy efforts

Date:
Tuesday, June 24th
9:00am – 1:00pm

Location:
Baton Rouge Area Foundation
402 N. 4th St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

More information and registration here.

LCADV Expresses Support for Shreveport Community

Press release in PDF format: Providence House closure Press Release 4 11 14

April 11, 2014 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana – The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) today released a statement expressing support for the Shreveport community as it weathers the loss of its domestic violence service provider after Providence House announced they would be closing their safe house. 

The Executive Director of the coalition, Beth Meeks, was optimistic about the ability to meet the needs of survivors of violence in Shreveport and surrounding areas. “The good news is that you have two very strong neighbors, DART and Project Celebration are both widely recognized as high quality domestic violence programs.”  Project Celebration is well known in Shreveport as they are the sexual assault service provider for the region and already have an office in Shreveport.  “Project Celebration has confirmed that they can offer domestic violence supportive services through their outreach office so the community still has a safety net in place while we work to transition other services.” said Meeks.     

Meeks says that typically in these situations one of the neighboring programs will offer services at least temporarily while community stakeholders work to locate a new service provider.   The coalition has offered its assistance to key leaders as they consider next steps.  According to the coalition, there are rigorous standards for providing domestic violence services which are governed by many state and federal laws. 

Meeks also praised the Providence House leaders who implemented an exit plan and have agreed to work with anyone who is willing to take on the services and pledged the support and guidance of the coalition as leaders move forward.  “We are keenly aware that citizens in the Shreveport area need and deserve a quality resource for services, support and education as they address this critical community concern.  We are prepared to offer them training, support and any technical assistance necessary to get a service provider in place.” said Meeks.

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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.

Louisiana Moves to Restrict Abusers’ Access to Firearms

PDF Download: LA press release DV bills 4 3 2014

For Immediate Release: April 3, 2014
Contact: Russell Bonewitz, (225) 752-1296

Baton Rouge, LA – April 3, 2014 – On Thursday, three domestic violence bills, sponsored by Representative Helena Moreno, cleared their second legislative hurdle, passing in the House of Representatives unanimously. HB 753, restricting access to firearms by domestic violence offenders, did not only pass unanimously. It also saw 54 legislators sign on as co-authors, 22 Republicans and 31 Democrats, a huge feat in a state widely considered to have the strongest protections for gun owners in the nation.

The package of bills also strengthens protective orders and amends the crime of domestic abuse battery. Earlier in the week, two bills by Senator JP Morrell that allow domestic abuse victims to waive the divorce waiting period and seek exemplary damages in lawsuits against their abusers passed the full Senate, also unanimously.

Louisiana consistently leads 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. There were 16 multiple victim incidents resulting in 35 deaths, practically all of which were committed with firearms. The murder rate of women in Louisiana has been as much as twice the national average in recent years.

Beth Meeks, Executive Director of LCADV, believes the passage of these bills goes a long way in reducing these homicides. “This is a huge first step toward solving the problem. We have more to do, like increase the safety net for victims, but today proves that safe families are a bipartisan priority for Louisiana. We are immensely grateful for the legislators who were brave enough to take this issue on. ”

House bills 747, 750, and 753 by Rep. Moreno will be heard by the Senate later this month. Senate bills 291 and 292 by Sen. Morrell will be heard by the House. The Coalition expects a strong presence from advocates, domestic violence survivors, and community members throughout the process. “People are really tired of losing their friends and families to these senseless homicides. The support has been overwhelming and we expect it to continue to be strong.” said Meeks.

For additional information on domestic violence, and to learn ways to get involved, 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.