Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Beth Meeks, speaks on D-Talks about the progress being made toward ending domestic violence against women and children, as well as what challenges we face.
Promote happy and healthy lives and families by helping to bring education and awareness to your community! Listen to our very informative interview with Beth!
Billi LaCombe’s two year term as president of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence did not go unnoticed when it concluded earlier this year as she earned the coalition’s Statewide Leadership Award.
LaCombe joined Faith House 14 years ago and has been its director the past decade. She served as president of LCADV from 2010-2012.
During her term, LaCombe made a complete makeover of the LCADV board and the organization as a whole, and initiated changes to its bi-laws, policy and the focus of the coalition.
“We kind of brought it up to date,” says LaCombe.
The board formerly consisted soley of people representing the domestic violence programs across the state, but LaCombe thought its mission could be better served by diversifying.
“We needed to change that because the coalition hopefully will begin funding the programs through different opportunities,” LaCombe says, adding that now the board consists of 60 percent program members and 40 percent community partners “which will be people from unrelated fields like DAs, state legislatures — people that have some influence from the state.”
The state-wide coalition works on things like public policy, the Legislature, presents outlook awareness programs and provides technical assistance and training. There are 20 domestic violence programs that represent every parish in the state, says LaCombe. Faith House serves five parishes in Acadiana.
“All of our programs throughout the state have suffered with the economy,” says LaCombe. “Donations are down, and grant sources are reducing every single year while the amount of work that we are doing is increasing the need for our services and it has been increasing steadily over the past five years.
“So, our coalition is really working hard to bring the resources that we need to be able to saves the lives of battered women and children in the economy.”
The southern portion of Louisiana has the highest rate of domestic violence, but it also has the largest population. “So, it’s all kind of relative,” says LaCombe. “However, we do tend to have more domestic violence homicides and those sorts of things in the southern part of the state.”
LaCombe says it is difficult to get hard numbers on this issue, but the region ranks in the top two or three where domestic violence/homicides and incidents are concerned. A little more than 2,000 people benefited from Faith House services, she says.
And while two domestic centers in the state have closed from a lack of support and funding, Faith House is standing on firm ground.
“Our community has been extremely supportive in many ways,” she says. “While we have seen reductions in donations and things like that, volunteer involvement has increased significantly. So this community really believes in what we do in our work and continues to support us tremendously.”
Read Full Article
Dr. Robert Hanser, associate professor and head of the University of Louisiana at Monroe Department of Criminal Justice, was recognized for his service in preventing violence against women in the state of Louisiana.
Hanser was presented with the award at the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence 30th Anniversary Celebration event.
Hanser has been a long-time community partner of the Family Justice Center in Ouachita Parish and has served on the SAFE Task Force for approximately eight years.
He is the ULM representative on the task force, serving on bi-monthly committee meetings and ad hoc task forces, as assigned.
Hanser has assisted in training on issues related to domestic violence, conducted community research on behalf of the Family Justice Center, aided in grant writing, and is the director and lead facilitator of the Batterer’s Intervention Program for the Fourth Judicial District.
“I really am deeply honored to be held in such high regard by persons who work in this field and feel fortunate to be included in their work here in Louisiana,” said Hanser.
He has also served on a legislatively established statewide task force related to guidelines and standards for batterer intervention programming throughout the state of Louisiana.
Hanser was also recognized for his work as Co-Director of the Violence Prevention and Intervention Program on the ULM campus.
This program is funded by a federal grant through the Office on Violence Against Women with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The VPIP has been successful in educating students, faculty and staff on issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
The program has effectively brought together a number of partnering persons and offices on campus as well as agencies throughout the community.
“Of all the areas of interest and emphasis that I have had throughout my career, I am most passionate about this area of advocacy and community service,” said Hanser.
LCADV service awards are provided to a handful of persons each year through a process of nomination, review and selection by majority vote among persons tasked with the recognition and awarding process.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today praised the Senate’s vote to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which she cosponsored. Since its passage in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has proven successful in protecting women from domestic violence, reducing the annual reports of domestic violence by more than 50 percent.
“The Senate’s vote to reauthorize this legislation sends a clear message – our country does not tolerate violence against women,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Studies by the Violence Policy Center have consistently ranked Louisiana among the top five states for domestic violence homicides in the nation. Our state must continue fighting for our women and families, and this legislation provides the resources needed to continue this very important effort.”
Because of the Violence Against Women Act, more than $37.2 million was awarded to local governments and organizations in Louisiana between 2006 and 2011 for the purpose of combatting violence, according to the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV). This includes grants from the Children and Youth Exposed to Violence program, which will enable the LCADV to promote training, coordination and advocacy programs that serve children and youth whose parents were the victims of domestic violence homicide.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act includes the following provisions to strengthen existing law:
• Protects Native American women from domestic violence and sexual assault, and includes non-discrimination protection for all victims, regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
• Reduces bureaucracy and implements new accountability measures to ensure federal investments are properly spent.
• Places greater emphasis on training for law enforcement response to sexual assault, which has among the lowest conviction rates for any violent crime.
The State Capitol has been quite the site of action lately with the teacher protests, the festivals, and the upcoming birthday celebrations, and the next several days boast no exception. Starting tomorrow, different types of events, namely rallies on the war against domestic violence and sexual assault, will kick off at the Capitol, and with everything that is going on, it truly is a week for women here in the Red Stick.
Thursday: Fight back against domestic violence
To begin, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence – along with its sister coalition, the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault – will be hosting its first annual Day at the Capitol tomorrow, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall, located in the State Capitol building.
Advocates from across the state will gather at the Capitol to raise awareness of the issues of violence that exist in Louisiana. Lisa Lovello, communications coordinator for the Coalition, notes that this year “is also a celebration of the coalitions’ 30th anniversaries, as both were founded in 1982. We are celebrating milestones in the 30 years we’ve been working in the anti-violence movement in Louisiana.”
To get an idea of their scope of influence, let me throw some numbers at you: In 2011, LaFASA’s programs served over 13,000 clients and LCADV’s programs served over 17,000 clients. There are, however, many unmet needs for services due to issues like lack of funding, under-staffing, and other barriers that non-profits face. Domestic violence is a growing concern, so if you or someone you know have been a victim, get down to the Capitol tomorrow to show your support and help to stop the violence.
For more information on the Coalition or this event, visit www.LCADV.org.
Saturday: Unite against the war on women
Launched this past February, Unite Women inundated Facebook with a call to march and rally on April 28 in every state. Their mission: to say that enough is enough when it comes to the legislative attacks on women and women’s rights across the nation. The organization has four basic goals of action: 1) to inform about issues from life experiences as women, 2) to advance women’s roles in politics and policy-making so that women’s concerns are addressed by women, 3) to increase participation of women in the political and legislative processes by using their voices to inform and advocate for women’s rights and by employing tactics and tools like Get Out The Vote, and 4) to nurture intergenerational networks of women so they can recognize and respond to the range of issues women experience across their life span, as well as to fulfill their full potential as women and as human beings in this society (courtesy of Ashley Baggett, Louisiana state leader).
The Louisiana rally will feature speakers on various women’s issues, music, informational tables, and the Clothesline Project (a project that allows survivors of gender-based violence to decorate a t-shirt that expresses their emotions and brings awareness to the prevalence of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence). This event will also provide the opportunity for individuals to have their voices heard.
Individuals and groups at LSU are supporting Unite Women and its goals as well. A few organizations, such as Feminists in Action (FIA), Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX), and the Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Student Organization (WGSGO), are endorsing the movement. They have mobilized their members to take part in the rally, spread the news about Unite Women, make signs, and volunteer for a variety of tasks at the rally. Unite Women strongly supports diversity and welcomes men and women of all ages, without discrimination.
If you are interested being a part of this movement, please visit www.UniteWomen.org or the Louisiana Chapter’s Facebook group at www.Facebook.com/groups/CAJUNWOW/ and contact State Leader Ashley Baggett. Volunteers can give as little or as much time as they would like.
Sunday: Man enough to walk in heels
Ever heard the old saying, “You don’t know what someone has been through until you’ve walked a mile in [his/her] shoes?” Well, one group is taking that adage literally, as on Sunday, April 29 community men will know what it’s like to walk at least a mile in a woman’s shoes…a woman’s pair of high-heeled shoes.
The Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center (STAR) is hosting their second annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” march at the North Boulevard Town Square in downtown Baton Rouge from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is intended to bring awareness to the prevalence of sexual violence in our community. Their goal is to raise $25,000 by having community members sign up to take the Walk a Mile Challenge and get their loved ones to sponsor them with donations to STAR. Registration is free but all participants are encouraged to seek sponsors for STAR donations. For more information about this organization or event, visit www.BRStar.org.
Advocates from all across the state of Louisiana will gather at the State Capitol, 900 North 3rd St., Baton Rouge, on Thursday, April 26, to speak with legislators about the issues of domestic and sexual violence. This is the first ever joint Day at the Capitol by the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) and the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA).
LCADV and LaFASA will have a display table in the Rotunda of the Louisiana State Capitol building from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Because the Day at the Capitol is being held in conjunction with both organizations’ 30th anniversaries, the educational display will highlight key milestones from the past 30 years in the movements to end violence. Program advocates will speak with legislators throughout the day to discuss domestic and sexual violence in Louisiana and how legislation can affect programs, victims and survivors.
“It’s very exciting to celebrate our 30th anniversaries together,” said Beth Meeks, LCADV Executive Director, of the joint Day at the Capitol. “The state and our two coalitions have come a long way in 30 years in terms of serving victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.”
One notable milestone for LCADV is its recent report in response to HCR 86 on Domestic Abuse Intervention, which will lead to more comprehensive programs in our state for perpetrators of violence.
“There is no excuse for sexual and domestic violence to still be prevalent in Louisiana,” said Judy Benitez, LaFASA Executive Director. “This joint Day at the Capitol event is so important so our legislators understand the gravity of the issues by speaking with people who serve victims and survivors every day.” According to LaFASA’s 2011 Annual Report, a total of 13,350 sexual assault victims and survivors were served in 2011. That includes criminal justice contacts, hospital contacts, hotline calls, group counseling and individual counseling. At LCADV’s 18 member programs, there were a total of 17,103 clients served in 2011.
For more information, visit the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence at www.lcadv.org and the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault at www.lafasa.org
An annual survey conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) provides insight into domestic violence services in the United States. On September 15, 2011 – one 24-hour period – domestic violence victim advocates in Louisiana served 948 victims and answered 314 emergency hotline calls. Nationally, advocates served more than 67,000 victims and answered more than 22,000 emergency hotline calls.
“The number one focus of domestic violence programs is always serving the survivors,” says Beth Meeks, executive director of LCADV. “These annual NNEDV census days are important so we know what services our programs are providing domestic violence victims and survivors in our state.” Meeks also notes programs are consistently reporting significant numbers of needs unmet, overwhelmingly due to lack of funding.
The census revealed 51 people were unable to receive emergency shelter or transitional housing, which accounted for 75% of all unmet service requests. This is directly related to funding, number of beds and transportation needs. Nationally, service providers did not meet 10,581 requests for assistance.
The census is an unduplicated count of adults and children seeking domestic violence services in the U.S., documenting the number of individuals who sought services, the types of services requested, the number of service requests that went unmet because of lack of resources, and the issues and barriers that domestic violence programs are facing as they strive to provide services to victims of domestic violence.
The full National Domestic Violence Counts 2011 report is available online at http://www.nnedv.org/census. For more information, visit the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence at http://www.lcadv.org.
The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence is the federally designated statewide coalition of shelters, non-residential programs and individuals working to end domestic violence in Louisiana. Our programs serve people from everywhere in Louisiana and who come from all backgrounds. LCADV opposes violence as a means of control over others and supports equality in relationships.
BATON ROUGE—The National Network to End Domestic Violence completed its 6th annual Census Day for its state coalitions, which included the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its member programs.
In one, 24-hour period on Sept. 15, 2011, domestic violence advocates all over Louisiana:
- Served 948 victims
- Answered 314 emergency hotline calls
- Housed over 140 survivors in transitional housing or emergency shelter
- Did not meet 51 requests for services due to lack of funding, staff, beds and other necessities.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office an the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence hosted the National Sheriffs’ Association Domestic Violence Trainings in Franklin, LA from October 24-27, 2011.