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Domestic violence still major threat for Louisiana women

Report ranks state fourth for women murdered by men



  Once again, Louisiana ranks as one of the most dangerous states for women. In its annual report, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) placed Louisiana at No. 4 for the rate of women murdered by men (1.99 per 100,000) — the fifth consecutive year that Louisiana has placed in the top 10 states where women are murdered by men at disproportionately high rates.

  This year's "When Men Murder Women" report, however, covers 2013 — the most recent year data was made available by FBI crime statistics, one year before the Louisiana Legislature began cracking down on domestic violence offenders with comprehensive legislation. (The report also does not count multiple deaths or domestic violence deaths where the victim and offender are the same gender.)

  In its response to the report, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) noted domestic violence murders are down nationwide. Single-victim and single-offender murders of women committed by men have dropped 31 percent nationwide over the nearly 20 years of the study. Meanwhile, Louisiana's rate of women killed by men is 83 percent higher than the national average.

  "We have made a lot of great policy changes, but it takes many years for those policy changes to get fully implemented on the ground in local communities," said Beth Meeks, executive director of the LCADV. "We have a significant lack of resources that makes it difficult for victims to access safety services. We have large areas with little or no advocacy services and too few shelter beds. Programs are doing the best they can, but without additional funding there just aren't enough services for persons seeking immediate safety."

  As outlined in the VPC report, black women are especially at risk for fatal domestic violence incidents. In 2013, black women were murdered by men at a rate two-and-a-half times higher than white women, a statistic that has remained static for several years. Of the 47 women killed in Louisiana by men counted in the report for 2013, 24 were black.

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