New look at domestic violence deaths in Louisiana

Photo provided by staff.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 7:00am

October is national domestic violence awareness month and here in Louisiana anti-Domestic violence adovcates are working to give the community a better picture domestic violence issues in Louisiana. They say a recent national report can be misleading when it comes to domestic violence in the state. They're hoping more people will step up and do what they can to draw attention to helping victims break the cycle.

A report released last week by the Violence Policy Center ranked Louisiana 9 in the rate of woman murdered by men in 2011. The report list 39 women were killed by men in single victim single offender incidents in 2011. The report went on to show: "Louisiana had a homicide rate among females murdered by males of 1.67 per 100,000 in 2011."

Beth Meeks, Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said the report doesn't spesifically focus on domestic violence deaths and can be misleading.

"That is one piece of the domestic violence picture here in Louisiana it's a good indicator. It's an important report. Those are important numbers but the report is limited in it's scope. It focuses on single victims single offender incidents," Meeks explained.

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence released a statement giving it's own numbers for domestic violence deaths.

The statement said: "For the year 2011, the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, using multiple sources, identified 71 domestic violence fatalities as follows;
• Single female victim/single male offender: 39 incidents
• Single male victim/single female perpetrator: 10 incidents
• Single female victim/single female perpetrator: 1 incident
• Single male victim/single male perpetrator: 1 incident
• Multiple victims/single offender: 9 incidents resulting in 20 fatalities
The incidents listed above, as tracked by the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, accounted for an additional 21 incidents resulting in 32 deaths which were not included in the VPC report."
Meeks described, "What that essentially means is our rankings are probably higher than number 9 which is really a worse out come that being number nine which is not a great outcome to begin with."

Judy Benitez with the Iris Domestic Violence Center said in 2012 Louisiana ranked 4th in the nation in Violence Policy Center report on rate of women murdered by men. She explained while on paper the state has dropped four spots, the state still has a lot of work to do to help victims of domestic violence.

"It's a little bit better but it's still way far away from where we'd like to be," Benitez said.

She said one way you can help victims is to call an report it when you see an inicident of domestic violence.

"Usually the victim is in a position where she can't reach out for help herself because that wouldn't be safe. If neighbors or just people on the street see something inappropriate happening we need to make sure we're really looking out for the well being of others," Benitez said.

"The biggest key to ending domestic violence is sending a clear social message that we don't accept it," Meeks said. "The biggest key to ending domestic violence is saying to purpetrators you can't commit this behavior any more."

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence you can call the Louisiana state wide hotline at 1-888-411-1333.


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