The effect of disasters on domestic violence prevalence is fairly well documented, with most studies showing that it does lead to an increase in domestic violence. But even more important to consider than prevalence is the increased vulnerability of domestic violence survivors.
- Due to their abuse, many victims have already have been isolated from their support networks, have been prevented from being financially independent, and are more likely to lack transportation.
- Survivors in hiding may have difficulty remaining hidden during evacuations or while at a disaster shelter.
- Barriers to reporting and seeking safety post-disaster may embolden abusers – contact with crisis workers may be cut off, court-ordered protections difficult to enforce. And abusers know this and take advantage of it.
- And long term, a disaster puts a strain on public resources that many domestic violence survivors need – becomes even more difficult to find housing, childcare, or employment post-disaster, for example.
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Did you know?
Louisiana has a law that extends a temporary restraining order when a state of emergency is declared. “In the event that the hearing on the rule for the protective order is continued by the court because of a declared state of emergency made in accordance with R.S. 29:724, any temporary restraining order issued in the matter shall remain in force for five days after the date of conclusion of the state of emergency.”
To see Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 3604 click here.
LCADV Disaster Fund
In 2016, LCADV established the Domestic Violence Disaster Fund. The Disaster Fund is a dedicated fund that assists Louisiana’s domestic violence shelters with expenses associated with ensuring domestic violence survivor safety in the face of a natural disaster. This fund provides reimbursement for the unexpected costs associated with evacuating survivors, replacing lost food and supplies, or making emergency repairs to property in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
For more information or to donate to the LCADV Domestic Violence Disaster Fund click here