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

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

January is Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year. This year’s theme – “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” – challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it. For additional resources to help promote National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit: stalkingawarenessmonth.org and/or www.ovw.usdoj.gov

Presidential Proclamation — National Stalking Awareness Month, 2013

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

December 31, 2012

NATIONAL STALKING AWARENESS MONTH, 2013

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Each year, millions of Americans face the fear, isolation, and danger of being victims of stalking. At some point in their lives, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men will be stalked, and many of these crimes will go unreported and unprosecuted. During National Stalking Awareness Month, we rededicate ourselves to supporting victims of stalking and sharpen our resolve to bring perpetrators to justice.

Stalking is a pattern of unwanted contact that causes victims to fear for their safety or the safety of family members. It can include implied or explicit threats; harassment; or nonconsensual communication through phone calls, text messages, or emails. The perpetrator is usually someone the victim knows. Stalking behaviors may appear innocuous to outside observers, but victims often endure intense physical and emotional distress that affects every aspect of their lives. Many feel forced to move, or change jobs. Tragically, stalking tends to escalate over time, and it is sometimes followed by sexual assault or homicide.

My Administration remains committed to building a robust criminal justice response to stalking — one that holds offenders accountable, offers protection and support to all victims of violence, and empowers them to break the cycle of abuse. In January 2012, we held the first-ever White House stalking roundtable with survivors, law enforcement officers, victim advocates, and researchers. We have built partnerships with communities across the Nation to implement anti-stalking efforts. And we continue to support nonprofit organizations and local, State, and tribal governments as they develop more effective responses to violence against women — including direct services, crisis intervention, transitional housing, legal assistance to victims, court improvement, and training for law enforcement and courts.

We are also working to address the threat of cyberstalking. While advances in technology are making this crime more prevalent, they can also pose unique opportunities to address it. Communities are developing new tools that help connect victims to local services, and State governments are updating statutes to further protect people from cyberstalking. Through our Apps Against Abuse challenge, my Administration recognized mobile applications that are empowering people to defend themselves against dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Thanks to the dedicated work of law enforcement officials, community leaders, advocates, organizations, and survivors, our country has made great strides in combating stalking. During National Stalking Awareness Month, we resolve to keep building on this momentum until no American lives in fear of this crime.

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 Stalking Awareness Month. I call upon all Americans to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime, and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. Let us also resolve to support victims and survivors, and to create communities that are secure and supportive for all Americans.

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

 

Louisiana Budget Cuts Jeopardize Domestic Violence Victims

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release

December 18, 2012

Louisiana Budget Cuts Jeopardize Domestic Violence Victims

Baton Rouge, La. – Domestic violence service providers across the state are reeling from the impact of Governor Jindal’s latest round of mid-year budget cuts. The cuts created a 21.2% reduction in Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) contracts for domestic violence services. These cuts are retroactive to the July 1 start date of the contracts. This means emergency shelter programs across the state will lose more than 42% of their funding from DCFS over the next six months.

“We had a conference call with the programs this morning and I think they are in shock.  DCFS is the majority of their budgets. No one has yet been able to calculate what cuts this deep will look like.” said Beth Meeks Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Meeks does not yet know if any programs will be forced to close but the programs have indicated that they are reviewing all options. “There will certainly be layoffs and reductions in services. Programs are evaluating what if any other options exist.”

The cuts are aimed at rebalancing the state’s budget in light of lower revenue expectations and higher costs.The budget must be balanced by the time the fiscal year ends on June 30.

“While we certainly expected to share in budget cuts, this level of cut is devastating and potentially dangerous for the women and children that need our services,” said Meeks.  One major area of concern is the possible reduction in beds at shelters that already often operate at or over capacity. “For many victims shelter is a last resort. It provides a secure environment that you can’t get at a local hotel and they don’t want to put their extended families at risk by staying with them,” Meeks explained.

In a one day snapshot on September 15, 2011, Louisiana domestic violence hotlines answered 314 calls, meaning Louisiana programs answered more than 13 hotline calls every hour. In that same day programs reported 51 unmet requests for service, 75% of which were requests for shelter that were unable to be met due to unavailable bed space or funding for hotel stays.

Meeks encouraged communities to rally together in an effort to address domestic violence, “It is clear that communities across Louisiana will need to radically rethink how we are delivering domestic violence services. This announcement should serve as an impetus to implement a stronger coordinated community response. Perpetrators must be held accountable; protection orders must be issued and enforced. We can only reduce the need for shelter beds if we can make it safe for women to remain in their own homes.”

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.

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.