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La. tops domestic abuse rankings

4 years ago October 25, 2010 Oct 25, 2010 Monday, October 25 2010 Monday, October 25, 2010 4:29:02 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Sarah Rosario, Heather Harel

Louisiana is four times above the national average when it comes to domestic abuse incidences and domestic violence related murders. Meanwhile, women's shelters statewide are facing serious budget cuts.

Calls to Capital Area Family Violence Intervention Center keep coming in, but money to provide help to abused women doesn’t. CAFVIC was forced to cut more than $400,000 from its budget and lay off employees.

Reasons for the budget shortfall include the slow economy and natural disasters, such as the BP oil spill. It's during those times that reports of domestic violence increase but not because more people are being abused, according to CAFVIC Executive Director Martha Forbes. She said the increase is due to the same abusers abusing more frequently as a result of people spending more time together during periods of unemployment.

CAFVIC is the largest battered women's shelter in the state, serving seven parishes. It needs $2.3 million to operate but functions with nearly half that. Even with a skeleton staff, women's needs are met free of charge, part of which is made possible by volunteers.

"We've met with some of the government agencies in other parishes and asked them to consider a baseline, at least of support, to help us," said Forbes.

Only 30 percent of CAFVIC’s budget comes from the federal government. The rest comes from individual sources and grants, which are limited. The biggest untapped resource is the public.

With the holidays approaching, CAFVIC’s goal is to provide families with the best holidays possible, and it hopes to do that with more money.

If you're a victim of domestic abuse or you're interested in donating or volunteering, call the state domestic abuse hot line at 1-888-411-1333.

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