Domestic Violence Awareness Month Events from Across the State

Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Louisiana was a huge success! Advocates across the state participated in some incredible events, vigils, walks, balloon releases, banquets, and more to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Chez Hope Open House
Faith House “Women Helping Women” luncheon
The Haven
The Haven “Paint the Parish Purple”
The Haven “Paint the Parish Purple”
Iris Domestic Violence Center Open House
McNeese Women’s Basketball Team at CADA’s Taste and Tell
CADA Taste and Tell
Metropolitan Center for Women and Children Survivors’ Dinner
Metropolitan Center for Women and Children Survivors’ Dinner
METRO
METRO
New Orleans Family Justice Center
Oasis DV Awareness Walk
Oasis Annual Meeting
Taylor House DV Awareness Walk, Balloon Release, Vigil
Taylor House DV Awareness Walk, balloon release, and vigil
Taylor House DV Awareness Walk, balloon release, vigil
SAFE DV Awareness Event – St. Helena Parish
LCADV staff with Pastor Rene Brown
LCADV staff with former LSU basketball player Collis Temple
SNAP Breakfast with the Mayor
SNAP Breakfast with the Mayor
Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish “Hope in the Light of Day”
Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish “Hope in the Light of Day”
Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish Butterfly Release

 

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.

 

Louisiana’s 10th Annual Conference on Sexual Assault and Family Violence

conference logo

Location: Baton Rouge Marriott

Join LCADV and LAFASA for this exciting three days of workshops, exhibits, and networking opportunities. This state of the art conference provides training for professionals working with victims of sexual, domestic and family violence and those who work to bring perpetrators to justice.

Registration is now open! Register here.

Want to stay up to date on the latest conference news? Join our mailing list.

Introducing LCADV’s Training and Events Calendar

LCADV is pleased to announce our new Event Calendar page. This calendar will be a resource for professionals looking for training opportunities in Louisiana and the surrounding region, dealing with the issues of Domestic Violence, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Sexual Assault. Posted events will include regional and statewide conferences, local awareness events, and even online training opportunities.
Have an event you’d like us to post? Please contact us.

Check out the calendar here:

http://lcadv.org/calendar-of-events/

Louisiana Budget Cuts Jeopardize Domestic Violence

Baton Rouge, La. – Domestic violence service providers across Louisiana are facing their second budget crisis in 2 months.  The Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services unveiled its proposed budget Thursday.  The plan includes a cut of $1.4 million dollars to domestic violence services; this is in addition to the $1 million the Jindal administration cut in the December, mid-year budget adjustments.

Programs will be losing $2.4 million of the $6.2 million the state was spending on domestic violence services.  This means emergency shelters across the state will have lost more than 38% of their funding from DCFS in just over six months.  This makes a significant impact in a state that consistently leads the nation in domestic homicides.

Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Beth Meeks, warned during the last round of cuts that ‘the situation was precarious and further cuts would destabilize the system’.  She calls the current situation dire, “In the last round of cuts programs laid off about 10% of their staff and many used up any rainy day reserves they had set aside.  At this level of cuts programs will be forced to reduce and eliminate services in some areas, if they can survive at all.”

According to statistics collected by DCFS, Louisiana domestic violence shelters provided almost 91,000 nights of emergency shelter in the last year and took more than 38,000 crisis calls.  There are 18 programs in Louisiana funded by DCFS to provide around the clock emergency domestic violence services.  The programs documented more than 1800 unmet needs during that time period due to low staff and full shelter beds.

During the December budget cuts the Jindal administration said they were moving away from a costly shelter model and would instead encourage the use of hotel rooms for domestic violence victims as a more efficient and cost effective way to do business.

Meeks points out, “If you assume the entire DCFS allocation pays only for shelter nights the average cost is $57 per night.  This is clearly cheaper than a hotel and a woman in shelter gets food, transportation, advocacy and security.  Shelter isn’t a convenient way to warehouse people.  You go as a last resort because you are afraid that apart from that sort of security you might lose your very life.  To suggest that women should hole up unsupported in hotel rooms with no security demonstrates a complete lack of understanding and empathy for the issue of domestic violence, a critical misstep in a state repeatedly leading the nation in the murder of women.”

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.

Research funded by the US Department of Justice and released in 2010 showed that for every dollar spent on a protective order, society saves $30.75 for each survivor who gets one.  All in all, protective orders saved one state, Kentucky, at least $85 million yearly.  This confirms a study released by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health in 2002 which showed that $1.6 billion spent on violence against women prevention programs over five years, saved $14.8 billion in net social costs that otherwise would have been incurred.

“It’s apparent that emergency room visits, funerals, murder trials and incarceration are far more costly than simply providing services up front.  While we certainly expected to share in budget cuts, this level of cut is unsustainable and dangerous for victims who need services.  And in the long run the research proves it won’t save money, only increase costs to local communities who don’t have the funds.  It’s dangerous and it’s fiscally irresponsible, the absolute worst of both worlds.” said Meeks.

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

 

Talking Points About Budget Cuts

Domestic violence is a real and pervasive problem in Louisiana which is compounded by a lack of adequate resources for response.

  • Louisiana has the 4th highest rate of female homicide in the nation. 97% of these women knew their assailant and 70% of those victims were wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of their assailant.
  • Women are murdered at a rate about 40% higher than the national average in Louisiana. We consistently lead the nation in domestic homicides and have ranked in the top 5 every year since 1997.
  • There was at least one domestic homicide in every parish between 1997 – 2009.
  • Louisiana has 18 shelters compared to South Carolina with a similar population which has 24. We have fewer shelters than both Oregon and Oklahoma which have 1 million fewer residents than Louisiana.
  • More than 90,000 shelter nights and 38,000 crisis calls were handled within the last year by domestic violence programs in Louisiana.
  • Louisiana has a higher than average rate of multiple death domestic violence incidents. The average is about 30%, ours is 39% and often includes extended family and 10% of the time bystanders.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS ARE A GOOD INVESTMENT

  • Shelters are already very efficient, in fact cheaper than hotels. At one program the DCFS contract for bed night cost $43. This is cheaper than a hotel and the women get security, food, transportation, advocacy and other services they would not get at a hotel. At most agencies bed night cost is between $30 – $50.
  • In some rural areas there aren’t enough hotel beds to accommodate the needs of survivors.
  • Hotels and staying with family are often dangerous suggestions. Hotels lack a level of security that is critical for many battered women. Perpetrators often target a victim’s family. Suggesting that battered women stay with families increases the risk to multiple citizens.
  • Broad –based advocacy has shown to result in decreased risk of re-abuse as well as increased access to community resources, higher social support, higher mental health and well-being. One study of civil legal advocacy found that such services may decrease women’s risk of re-abuse and increase their well-being.
  • In rigorous studies that included large samples across multiple shelters, the vast majority of survivors report that they felt safer, more hopeful, and had more safety strategies at their disposal post-shelter. They also demonstrated a significant decrease in trauma-related symptoms after women’s shelter stays.
  • Clearly, shelters provide not only immediate and long-term support for abused women and their children but are in some cases life-saving as well.
  • Finally, it is that three studies asked women what they would have done if shelter had not been available to them, and their responses were sobering. Women’s responses included that they would have been homeless, would have continued to be beaten, or that they would have prostituted to support themselves or their abuser.

IMPACT OF 2012-2013 BUDGET CUTS

  • In December of 2012, domestic violence programs lost $998,000 in mid-year budget cuts. This represented a 17% loss in total funding from the state. Programs are heavily reliant on these dollars as the economic downturn and recent disasters have created an increase in service requests while reducing available local funding.
  • Many outreach services have been reduced. This means a reduction in prevention services and protection order assistance, both proven cost savings. One study indicates, for every dollar spent on a protection order $30 is saved in costs to local communities.
  • When DV services are lost it actually increases costs to local communities with more strain on other systems including law enforcement and courts.
  • Programs have reduced staff by about 25 positions, roughly 10% of the total advocate workforce in the state.
  • Many programs have used their reserves to continue operating. This threatens the long term viability of programs. It will be years before they can regain those funds and recover from cuts this significant.
  • In the last year programs were unable to meet 1,820 service requests due to lack of resources. This was before the crippling mid-year cuts which can be expected to increase the number of unmet requests.
  • Further cuts could result in closures and destabilize the whole system, increasing homicides and costing local communities money.

 

Save the Date: 2013 Day at the Capitol

Join LCADV and LAFASA as we advocate for survivors!

You are invited to join our

Day at the Capitol
Tuesday April16th, 2013
8:45AM

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We will kick off the day with a short opening ceremony and
display on the Capitol steps at 8:45 a.m.

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Stop in at the display table in the rotunda to get details on
talking points, who your legislators are and what relevant
hearings are occurring where your testimony may make a
difference.

For More Information,  contact LCADV:
Phone: (225)752-1296
Email: info@Lcadv.org

Presidential Proclamation — National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2013

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
December 31, 2012

Presidential Proclamation — National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2013

NATIONAL SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION MONTH, 2013

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

This month, we rededicate ourselves to stopping one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time. Around the world, millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness. They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad, and at home. They are the victims of human trafficking — a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery.

As Americans, we have long rejected such cruelty. We have recognized it as a debasement of our common humanity and an affront to the principles we cherish. And for more than a century, we have made it a national mission to bring slavery and human trafficking to an end.

My Administration has been deeply commited to carrying this legacy forward — beginning with trafficking that happens on our own shores. We have strengthened protections so all workers know their rights, expanded efforts to identify and serve domestic victims, devoted new resources to dismantling trafficking networks, and put more traffickers behind bars than ever before. In the months ahead, we will continue to take action by empowering investigators and law enforcement with the training they need, and by engaging businesses, advocates, and students in developing cutting-edge tools people can use to stay safe. We will invest in helping trafficking victims rebuild their lives. And as one of the world’s largest purchasers of goods and services, the Federal Government will keep leading by example, further strengthening protections to help ensure that American tax dollars never support forced labor.

Our commitment to stopping human trafficking does not end at our borders. As a leader in the global movement to combat this scourge, the United States has renewed sanctions on governments that harbor the worst offenders. We have partnered with groups around the world to help men, women, and children escape their abusers. And recognizing that no country can meet this challenge alone, we have aided others in addressing modern slavery’s root causes, and encouraged nations across the globe to pass comprehensive anti-trafficking laws, enforce them rigorously, and care for survivors.

We know the road ahead is long, and change will not come easily. But as we renew our pledge to erase modern forms of slavery from the face of this earth, let us also draw strength from the movements of the past. We recall the words of the Emancipation Proclamation — that every life saved is “an act of justice,” worthy of “the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of an Almighty God.” We reflect on the Amendment that wrote abolition into law, the decades of struggle to make its promise real, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that has drawn nations together in the pursuit of equality and justice. These achievements once seemed impossible — but on this day, let us remember that they were not, and let us press on toward the future we know is possible.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1. I call upon businesses, organizations, faith-based groups, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA