Domestic Violence

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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.

Click here to view a report on domestic violence from the National Network to end Domestic Violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

The Family Justice Center would like to recognize and thank our Legislative Champion, Senator Bob Kostelka.  Click here to read more about his efforts.



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, 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 his/her will

Can you recognize domestic violence?
domestic violence posterIn 2012, law enforcement reports documented 2,026 domestic and dating violence calls in the 15 parishes of Northeast and Central Louisiana. That is 6.1 per 1,000 people over age 12, nearly three times the national average of reports of domestic violence per 1,000 people over 12 in the U.S. (Data reported by law enforcement to Family Justice Center Ouachita or based on FBI data)(BJS Intimate Partner Violence, 2007)

These incidents are often lethal. Louisiana is 4th in the U.S. in murders of female victims by males where domestic violence-related murders are typically reported. (Violence Policy Center, 2012)

Children are particularly vulnerable as both victims and witnesses to domestic violence. Children exposed to violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs, and run away from home. Men exposed to domestic violence as children are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. (Strauss et al, 1990)

Domestic violence not only severely impacts victims and their families, but also entire communities including $4.1 billion in direct health care expenses (NCIPC, 2003), and up to $13 billion in costs to employers each year. (BNA, Violence and Stress, 1990).

Confidential, comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence and their children are available at no charge in Ouachita Parish at The Family Justice Center. Call 318.998.6030 or 1.888.411.1333 for anytime 24-hour information or assistance.

Domestic violence in Northeast Louisiana is addressed as a community concern that 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 which has made the parish safer. Since the center opened in 2005, rates of reports of domestic and dating violence have fallen by 47.6% (2,873 in 2004 vs 1,505 in 2012).

Despite widely available services throughout the region, reductions in rates of domestic violence since the Family Justice Center Ouachita (FJC) opened in Ouachita Parish, and increases in coordination among service providers regionally, domestic and dating violence in the region and state are still nearly three times national averages and are among the most lethal in the U.S.

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, ask yourself the following questions about the person with whom you have a relationship. Does he or she:
• 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 his/her 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:
1. Call the police if you see or hear violence in progress.
2. Learn about domestic violence services in your community like those provided by the Family Justice Center and The Wellspring (info at
3. Give time, resources or money. Distribute domestic violence awareness materials at your workplace, school or church. Arrange for informational and educational presentations or training for your church, civic, social and professional groups.
4. If you have a friend or co-worker who is afraid of his or her partner or who is being hurt, offer your support and refer them to The Family Justice Center at 318.998.6030.
5. Model a respectful attitude toward your spouse in your home, with your family, and in your workplace. Avoid behaviors that demean or control others.
6. Build support among your colleagues and neighbors that abusive behavior and language is not tolerated in your neighborhood.