Nearly everyone agrees that the level of domestic violence in the U.S. and in Louisiana is too high. Efforts to reduce the physical, emotional and financial costs of domestic violence continue to seek promising results, though the issue remains intractable. Are tougher laws, greater advocacy on behalf of victims, better education and more social programs the answer? Do any recent actions on this front look promising?
A recent article in The Advocate unfortunately paints a bleak picture of domestic violence in the state, even with many programs and initiatives happening in Louisiana. One of these programs is a partnership between the District Attorney’s Office and Catholic Charities to provide counseling free of charge to victims of domestic violence. Another promising venture is a $750,000 grant to the Family Justice Center for victim services. This money was made possible by the criminal justice reform measure passed in 2017, which sought to bring in more money to address domestic violence. The Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence believes the state needs to prioritize domestic violence protections, which is still in its early stages.
The state legislature attempts to reduce domestic violence by passing laws that address many of the issues. The Advocate wrote about legislation that seeks to lower cases of domestic violence and provide incentives to reduce divorces. Louisiana has the fourth highest divorce rate in the state. Introduced legislation would consider couples counseling at various critical stages in a relationship that could lower the divorce rate. Other measures in recent legislation deal with better handling of restraining orders as well as education of those experiencing domestic violence.