DA's Office looking to cut down domestic homicides, partnering with national program
BATON ROUGE - The District Attorney's Office is trying to tackle an ongoing problem in East Baton Rouge Parish: domestic homicides.
Researchers from New York with the National Network For Safe Communities have been hired to examine ways to reduce the violence. Last year was a record year for domestic homicides, totaling in 14 deaths. This year, there have already been five.
"It's challenging, it's disheartening,” District Attorney Hillar Moore said. “After the abuse happens, a person goes to jail. Then within a week or two many of the [victims], 12 to 14 a week, come to the office and say ‘he didn't mean to do it, I slipped, I lied to the police.’ You know they are being challenged to get that person out of jail."
Moore says many of the offenders are repeat offenders.
“We're seeing the same people many times over and over again. So how can we fashion what we do? Can we knock on that persons door before it happens, can we stop something before it happens?” Moore asked.
That’s where the researches come in. Through NNSC, they’re bringing the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention program to Baton Rouge.
“We'll hopefully provide interventions as early as possible for both victims and offenders,” said Rachel Teicher, the Director of Intimate Partner Violence Intervention.
The group has been meeting with local law enforcement agencies for the past two days to see where improvements can be made. A big need Teicher says, is available housing resources in the parish for those involved in the crime.
“That is a huge barrier to leaving an abusive relationship, that's a huge barrier for economic empowerment, that's a huge barrier for the victims and survivors in East Baton Rouge,” said Teicher.
"Where do we put [victims]? how long can we house them? If we had one location and we house them there all the time, that location is well-known then to others who may want to do them harm," added Moore.
The researchers fly back to New York Friday. They will likely have a report about what they found during the work sessions. For the time being, Moore wanted to leave with this message:
“We need the community saying [domestic abuse] is wrong at every level, and part of it is that the news can really do a great job for us carrying this day in and day out. It starts in the home, starts in the family, the neighborhood and the community at large."
The partnership with National Network For Safe Communities does have a cost.
“It’s $75,000 per year for a commitment of two years for the domestic violence side. The homicide side is $35,000 per year for two years,” said Moore.
He’s looking to the City Parish and private donors for funding.