Coalition Secures Landmark Funding Increase for Domestic Violence Shelters
For Immediate Release: June 9, 2023
Media Contact: Mariah Wineski 225-752-1296
Louisiana’s federally designated network of domestic violence programs, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV), joined advocates statewide in applauding the Louisiana State Legislature for its investment of $7 million in new state funds for domestic violence shelters. The addition of this funding follows many years of advocacy by the Coalition and its member programs to secure sufficient resources to meet the vast need for domestic violence victim services across the state.
Louisiana’s domestic violence shelters provide emergency shelter, safety planning, legal advocacy, housing assistance, and much more to victims of domestic violence and their children. Despite the tremendous efforts of these shelters, who serve more than 14,000 victims of domestic violence each year, the need has vastly outpaced the available resources. A December 2021 report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor found that Louisiana did not adequately fund domestic violence services, and that more than 2,600 requests for shelter went unmet each year.
Advocates hoped to change that this session, with a coordinated effort to secure the first state general funding for domestic violence shelter services in over a decade, and the first appropriation ever of this magnitude. “We are thrilled that the Legislature has recognized this longstanding unmet need and has appropriated funds to address it,” said Mariah Wineski, LCADV executive director. “We applaud the tremendous effort of advocates and survivors to secure this crucial funding. We look forward to the expansion of services, shelter capacity, and safety resources that will be available as a result.”
Louisiana has long led the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, according to the Violence Policy Center’s annual report, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of Homicide Data. For years, advocates have pointed to an insufficient safety net for victims as a contributing factor for these persistently high homicide rates. Advocates are hopeful that the addition of these funds will bolster a shelter network that has been badly under-resourced for decades.
Advocates stated in budget hearings this session that they intended to use the extra funding to open new shelters, stabilize staffing at existing shelters, and expand prevention and outreach services. “This wise investment will save hundreds of lives and provide a pathway to safety, independence, and stability for people escaping abuse,” Wineski said. “We commend the legislature for adding these funds, and we look forward to moving one step closer to a Louisiana free from violence.”
The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is the statewide network of programs, organizations, and individuals who share the goal of ending domestic violence in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members and communities through advocacy, education, resource development, and technical assistance. For more information, visit www.lcadv.org.