Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that escalates in severity and danger over time. Domestic violence can include physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse.
Examples of Domestic Abuse:
- Making threats to hurt a spouse or partner, children, other family members or pets
- Preventing a spouse or partner from getting a job or having access to money
- Controlling who a spouse or partner sees, talks to, or visits
- Threatening with looks, weapons or gestures
- Making a spouse or partner feel guilty about the children or threaten to take them away
- Making a spouse or partner do sexual things against their will
Domestic Violence Impacts All Of Us
Domestic violence is a part of daily life for many of Northeast Louisiana. In our region, domestic and dating violence cases typically mirror or exceed state and national averages at 1.2 per 1,000 persons over age 12 locally vs 1.5 in U.S. Sources: Wellspring/FJC, 2019 data, reported 2020; Reports to law enforcement per FBI, 2020; BJS, 2019. What’s more, these cases are more likely to be deadly. Louisiana ranked 5th in the U.S. with 2.26 per 100,000 women. (Violence Policy Ctr 2020 (2018 data). In Oct. 2019-Sept. 2020, the service area reported four DV-related murders and one missing presumed dead, a rate of 2.8 per 100,000 women, more than twice the national average of 1.28 and above the second-most lethal state, Missouri, at 2.34. (Alaska is number 1 at 3.4).
Children are particularly vulnerable as both victims and witnesses to domestic violence. Domestic violence creates a violent and hostile environment that can have devastating effects on children, both physical and emotional. Children who have been exposed to domestic violence can become fearful and anxious, concerned for themselves, siblings, and their parents. They may begin to feel worthless and powerless. Children exposed to violence may have difficulty paying attention and display depression and withdrawal. In the long run, children who witness or experience violence at home are much more likely to perpetuate the cycle of abuse in their own relationships as they grow into adulthood.
Domestic violence not only severely impacts victims and their families, but also entire communities. Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the costs of intimate partner violence exceed $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health care services.
But There Is Help
Confidential, comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence and their children are available at no charge at The Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish. Call (318) 998-6030 or 1-888-411-1333 anytime, day or night, for information or assistance.
Domestic violence in Northeast Louisiana is addressed as a community concern since it is a blow to us all. In 1988, the SAFE (Stopping Abusive Family Environments) Task Force was formed by agencies in Ouachita Parish. In 2005, those agencies formed the Family Justice Center of Ouachita to make the parish safer. Since the center opened in 2005, rates of reports of domestic and dating violence have fallen by 47.3% (2,873 in 2004 vs 1,512 in 2020). This reduction is due to the work that community has been doing to hold batterer’s accountable. We are aware that due to the recent Pandemic COVID-19 there has been a reduction in victims/survivors reaching out for services. In 2020, 325 victims/survivors were seen. This number is also lower due to COVID-19. Through December 2020, FJC has seen 8,285 victims/survivors.
But More Work Is Needed
Domestic and dating violence in the state are still 77% times national averages and are among the most lethal in the U.S. The good news is that we’ve seen a 70% reduction in the rate of domestic violence homicides in Northeast Louisiana since 2011. While our coordinated community efforts are unparalleled to many communities around the nation, we have much more to do and much growth before us.
Here’s What You Can Do
If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, ask yourself the following questions about the person with whom you have a relationship. Do they:
- Embarrass me with bad names or put down?
- Not want me to talk to or spend time with my family and friends?
- Take my money?
- Make me ask for money or refuse to give it to me?
- Tell me that I am a bad parent or threaten to take away my children?
- Act extremely jealous of others?
- Lose their temper, strike me, break my possessions, or in other ways cause me harm?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you many need to find out more about domestic violence or talk to someone who can help. Call (318) 998-6030 or 1-888-411-1333 anytime day or night!
If you think someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there are six things you can do:
- Call the police if you see or hear violence in progress.
- Learn about domestic violence services in your community like those provided by the Family Justice Center and The Wellspring.
- If you have a friend or co-worker who is afraid of their partner or who is being hurt, offer your support and refer them to The Family Justice Center at (318) 998-6030.
- Give time, resources or money by distributing domestic violence awareness materials at your workplace, school or church or arranging for informational and educational presentations or training for your church, civic, social, and professional groups.
- Model a respectful attitude toward your spouse in your home, with your family, and in your workplace. Avoid behaviors that demean or control others.
- Build support among your colleagues and neighbors that abusive behavior and language is not tolerated in your neighborhood.
Send a Message
This email is not monitored by clinicians and is not a forum for requesting services or individualized support. If you are in need of our services, please call (318) 998-6030 and someone will assist you.