With news headlines around the country discussing the recent mass shooting incident in Florida, as well as the gunman’s potential connection to domestic violence, alarming news concerning Louisiana and domestic violence was also recently released.
According to the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Louisiana comes in at fourth in the nation for the highest number of women murdered by men. In fact, these state-specific statistics appear to be three times higher than the national average, and most of these domestic homicides are committed with firearms.
Many Victims Going Unassisted
Louisiana still does not place firearm restrictions on those convicted of stalking or abusing their dating partners. This is especially, dire given the statistics about domestic violence victims in Louisiana, and the fact that the law appears to provide disparities in protection simply based on whether a couple is married or not. This does not necessarily make sense, given some of the statistics released by the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
- In 2015, close to 70 percent of partner homicide victims were not married to their abusers;
- Louisiana only has 400 shelter beds available to house victims seeking shelter even though at least 700 are needed;
- In 2014, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that they were unable to meet close to 3,000 service requests from victims due to a lack of resources available. In fact, the “turn away” rate has increased to close to 70 percent just since then; and
- Less than three percent of the funding for domestic violence programs comes from the state of Louisiana itself. Those who work in the field have identified needing approximately $10 million in order to meet current demands.
The Law in Louisiana
Fortunately, Louisiana has taken one step closer to controlling the use of firearms to commit domestic violence when the legislature passed Bill 753 barring those convicted of domestic abuse from possessing a firearm for 10 years after their conviction. In addition, individuals who have active protective orders or injunctions filed against them and who are deemed to be a threat to their family also cannot possess a firearm for the period of the order against them. Violators can face felony charges and imprisonment for up to five years, as well as a fine. However, given how many victims are not defined as “family members” or “spouses,” under Louisiana state law, this can still leave many victims unable to petition the court for a protective order.
If You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there is help for you. In Louisiana, if a police officer suspects that there has been domestic violence, he or she is required to arrest the suspect without first obtaining an arrest warrant. Law officers are also required to help victims of domestic violence obtain medical treatment for their injuries.
For more information, visit the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Louisiana
While many personal injury issues are linked to someone behaving negligently or carelessly, someone purposely harming someone else intentionally can also bring about a personal injury civil suit (in addition to criminal charges, such as battery).
If you have been harmed by someone, you deserve justice and a chance at having your medical bills and other pain and suffering compensated. Contact the attorneys at Harrell & Nowak today for a free consultation and we can begin discussing your options with you.