Advocates to Convene at Capitol to Support Domestic Violence Shelter Funding
Advocates from across Louisiana will gather at the State Capitol at 9:00a.m. on Wednesday, May 3rd, to encourage legislators to support funding for domestic violence shelters in the state budget, as well as laws that strengthen protections for domestic violence victims.
This Day at the Capitol, hosted by the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV), will feature a display table in the Rotunda of the Louisiana State Capitol building from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a gathering on the Capitol Steps at 9:00 a.m. Advocates and supporters will be speaking with legislators throughout the day to discuss domestic violence in Louisiana and how funding and legislation can affect shelters and survivors.
The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) has been involved in efforts to request an appropriation of state funds to the Family Violence Program within the Department of Children and Family Services, which funds domestic violence shelters statewide. In 2021, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor released a report, “Challenges in Louisiana’s Efforts to Address Domestic Violence,” recommending that the state appropriate more consistent funding for domestic violence victim services. Currently, the state does not appropriate any state general fund dollars to this purpose. Advocates say this lack of funding contributes to high domestic homicide rates.
“Domestic violence is an issue that affects far too many Louisiana citizens. We have an opportunity to change our state’s trajectory and save hundreds of lives by investing in a stable safety net for victims,” said Mariah Wineski, LCADV Executive Director. “Domestic violence shelters have been drastically underfunded in Louisiana for years, and victims end up paying the price.”
The Legislative Auditor’s report highlighted gaps in services for victims statewide due to lack of funding, including an average of 2,659 unmet requests for shelter beds per year during fiscal years 2015-2020. “There is no way we can turn away 2,600 requests for shelter and say nothing needs to change,” Wineski said. “It is past time for Louisiana to provide adequate funding for victim services, and we urge the legislature to make this important investment.”
For more information on the upcoming Domestic Violence Advocacy Day at the Capitol, visit https://lcadv.org/2023-day-at-the-capitol/.