Domestic Violence in Louisiana: The Harsh Reality and How to Help

Note: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a warning, this blog references details of domestic violence.
 
“I knew that I had to get out, but I didn’t know how. I felt like I had no control of myself. I just wanted to keep my kids safe.”
 
Kristy, a mother of two, was repeatedly physically abused and threatened by her partner, resulting in a cracked rib, split head, painful bruising, and worse. 
 
Her situation was grim when local authorities referred her to the St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program, a United Way of Southeast Louisiana partner agency. There, she found a safe space and support to file a restraining order and begin to reclaim her life. 
 
 
Unfortunately, Kristy’s story is not unique. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Louisiana ranks second in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men, twice the national average. 
 
These appalling statistics demand action. 
 
In 2014, United Way of Southeast Louisiana formed the United Against Domestic Violence Coalition with the New Orleans Family Justice Center and the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Since then, we’ve successfully advocated for some of the nation’s most robust legislation protecting victims of domestic and family violence. This legislation includes laws to disarm domestic abusers and stalkers, enact stricter penalties for abusers, and protect children from abusive parents. 
 
Despite these legal milestones, our fight for healthy, safe communities is far from over. How can you help? 
 
Share Resources for Domestic Violence Victims
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the 24/7, free, and confidential statewide hotline at 1-888-411-1333. A list of parish-specific resources is available on the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence website, LCADV.org/Programs-Resources/.
 
Advocate
Join our passionate Public Policy team in advancing United Way’s mission to eradicate poverty in Southeast Louisiana by fighting for the most vulnerable among us. Learn more about our advocacy efforts here and sign up for advocacy updates here.  
 
Give
Your gift to United Way supports our work to promote equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable. As part of our Blueprint for Prosperity, we fund six organizations who provide critical services to individuals affected by domestic violence: New Orleans Family Justice Center, St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program, Southeast Advocates for Family Empowerment, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Adapt, Inc., and Plaquemines Community C.A.R.E. Centers Foundation, Inc. 
 
Only by speaking up and living United can we end domestic violence in Louisiana.  
 
Listen to last week's episode of LIVE UNITED Radio to learn more about the life-saving work of the St. Bernard Battered Women's Program.
 
 
 
Charmaine Caccioppi
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
United Way of Southeast Louisiana
 
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