Domestic Violence Advocates Support Proposed Legislation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 28, 2014
Baton Rouge, La. – As bills poured in to meet the pre-filing deadline for the 2014 legislative session in Louisiana, several emerged that will create significant changes to the domestic violence laws here. Most notably a package of bills introduced by New Orleans lawmakers Representative Helena Moreno (D) and Senator JP Morell (D).
The Policy Committee for the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, or UWSELA, is leading the efforts to create reform. They have been working for months with a broad group of allies to gain support for the legislation. The relationship between UWSELA and domestic violence advocates was forged last year when the UWSELA were critical supporters in fighting the budget cuts to domestic violence programs. Those cuts were eventually averted by the legislature.
Beth Meeks, Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence credits that experience and some high profile homicides this year for stirring the public. “I think after the budget battle and then some of the events last year, people were angry. People are tired of women and children being disposable. This does not reflect the values of Louisiana. We are a strong family state and these women felt like someone needed to take a stand, rightly so.”
Louisiana consistently leads the nation in domestic homicides and has done so since 1997. LCADV 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, most recently measured at 40% higher than the national average, has been twice the national average in recent years.
“If a virus was killing people in Louisiana at a rate twice as high as the rest of the nation we’d declare a public health emergency. Every leader would be working around the clock to stop it. Why don’t we have that sense of urgency about the murders of our mothers and wives?” Meeks questioned.
Some of the proposed legislation tightens laws holding offenders accountable for violence against their families. Others will likely be a tougher sell, including some seeking to restrict an abuser’s access to firearms. Meeks is optimistic that constituents and lawmakers can get behind the measures, “I trust the people of Louisiana to love their neighbors and their families enough to understand what we are asking for. We’re simply saying if you are a person who is willing to assault your family you don’t deserve a firearm.”
A poll conducted by Schoen LLC and released less than a year ago showed the vast majority of Louisiana residents support comprehensive background checks on gun purchases. At the time pollster Doug Schoen said, “That 85 percent of Louisiana residents want every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check speaks volumes about the changing public mood on guns. This margin is unlike any I’ve seen on this issue, and it marks a real sea change. Voters want their elected officials to fight gun violence, and after Newtown, they’re demanding it.”
Meeks believes lawmakers can be counted on to stand up for victims. “Some of these deaths were family members who tried to intervene and save a relative’s life. We owe them something in return. They were brave enough to give their lives, we should be brave enough to pass a law.”
For additional information on domestic violence, or to learn ways to get involved, please visit www.lcadv.org.
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.
Available for download: 2014 Legislative Guide – Domestic Violence Homicide in Louisiana
This guide discusses strategies for the reduction of domestic violence homicides in Louisiana.
Due to popular demand, we will offer the training Inside the Mind of an Offender: Interview Techniques for Domestic Violence Cases a second time on March 28, 2014. The March 14th session is now full.
This half-day training that will take you inside the mind of a domestic violence offender and provide useful and effective interview techniques.
Domestic violence experts with decades of experience interacting with violent offenders will address:
- Advanced domestic violence dynamics
- Batterer tactics
- Predominant aggressor determination
- Investigative interview techniques
- Crawford v. Washington implications
- Technology use by batterers
For more information visit the registration page.
Save the Date! April 16, 2014 is LCADV and LAFASA’s Day at the Capitol. Stay tuned for more information!
Want a leadership role? Join the Capitol Crew.
Tax season is fast approaching. Two out of every three tax filers will likely receive a refund. Why not put that money to good use by making a tax refund donation to LCADV?
As you file your Louisiana state taxes this year, you can donate all or some of your tax refund to the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence by selecting LCADV right on your tax return.
Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence works to end domestic violence through education, public policy, and social change. Our success depends on the generosity of our supporters.
So this year, put your tax refund to work in the movement to end domestic violence.
Thank you for your support!
Stalking: Investigating the Crime, Supporting the Victim A multi-disciplinary training presented by Iris Domestic Violence Center, Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the National Stalking Resource Center[button link="http://lcadv.org/2014-stalking-training-registration" color="#de9b03" size="4" style="1" dark="0" radius="auto" target="self"]Register Now[/button]
Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Louisiana State Police Training Academy
7901 Independence Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Cost: $30 per person or $50 per two-person team (one advocate and one law enforcement)
Who should attend: Law enforcement and victim advocates. This training is focused on coordinated community response. As such, we encourage participants to register as law enforcement/advocate teams.
Program description: Stalking–a dangerous and potentially lethal crime–is often misunderstood, minimized or missed entirely. This training will address the crime of stalking: prevalence, dynamics, the use of technology to stalk, and the effect on victims. Focused sessions will be provided on the law enforcement response to stalking as well as the intersection of stalking with dating violence and sexual assault. Participants will be provided with concrete strategies for working with stalking victims, including threat assessment and safety planning.
Social Work CEUs have been applied for.
About the Trainers:
Michelle M. Garcia has worked to end violence against women for over twenty years, and since 2006 has led the Stalking Resource Center (SRC) of the National Center for Victims of Crime in meeting its mission to enhance the ability of professionals, organizations, and systems to effectively respond to stalking. She coordinates all aspects of the SRC’s provision of training and technical assistance, material and resource development, and media relations. Ms. Garcia has provided training and assistance on various aspects of stalking to tens of thousands of professionals internationally. Prior to joining the SRC, Michelle was a Program Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime. Previously, she had worked in community-based sexual assault and domestic violence programs as an administrator, advocate, crisis counselor, and an educator and trainer on topics, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and dismantling oppression. She is a former President of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Ms. Garcia currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Sexual Assault Report, the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, and the Advisory Board of School and College Organization for Prevention Educators (SCOPE). She received her Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago.
Lt. Patrick Gipson is presently a Police Lieutenant and Community Education Officer at Southeastern Louisiana University Police Department, where he has held a number of positions since 1996, including police officer, field training officer, shift supervisor, community response team supervisor, police investigator, and Assistant Director of the Department. Lt. Gipson holds instructor certifications on many topics including Stalking; Sexual Assault; Dating and Domestic Violence; Rape Aggression Defense (RAD); and The Clery Act. He is a volunteer Rape Crisis Counselor for the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office Rape Crisis Center and has trained as a Suicide Intervention Specialist. Lt. Gipson is a member of the Board of Directors for Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa and St Helena and sits on the community advisory board for the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office Rape Crisis Center. In 2003, Lt. Gipson was awarded the Sue Bernie Justice Award for ‘Victim Advocacy and Peer Education in the Field of Sexual Assault’ from the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. In 2013, he was awarded the Vice-President’s Award for Excellence in Service from the Southeastern Louisiana University Division for Student Affairs for his work educating college students on issues surrounding sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.[button link="http://lcadv.org/2014-stalking-training-registration" color="#de9b03" size="4" style="1" dark="0" radius="auto" target="self"]Register Now[/button]
LCADV is pleased to announce a series of trainings for Child Welfare and Behavioral Health Professionals. These trainings will address the dynamics of domestic violence with a focus on identifying and screening for domestic violence. Topics will include the needs of children exposed to violence, screening techniques, risk and protective factors, and age-appropriate interventions.
To register for a child welfare training near you, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CEVCW
To register for a behavioral health training near you, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CEVBH
Help us spread the message of nonviolence, respect, and healthy relationships. Our Say Something T-Shirts are now on sale! These shirts feature the words “Speak Up. Speak Out. Say Something.” printed on a white cotton t-shirt. Available in sizes XS-XXL. Proceeds benefit LCADV and our work to end domestic violence through education, social change, and public policy.
They also make a great gift!
Check out our full Say Something Campaign!
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.