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Officials urge victims to come forward during domestic violence awareness month

October is National Domestic Violence awareness month. According to the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana ranks second in female victims killed by men in single victim/single offender incidents.

Their data also shows Louisiana’s rate of domestic violence has steadily increased over the last five years.

Now, members of law enforcement are working to fix the problem.

“Statistics show that 1 in 3 women in some point in their life will have to deal with some form of domestic violence,” Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson said. “1 in 4 men, believe it or not, will have to deal with it in some form of their life.”

Gibson says the parish has several warrants out for domestic abuse suspects.

“On average we probably see, on an upward scale of 4 to 5 arrests in a week of some form of domestic violence,” Gibson said.

Some don’t know they are victims of domestic violence until the police get involved. In addition to legal remedies, victims are referred to different resources.

“There are plenty of groups and organizations that we work with daily,” Gibson said. “If it’s a matter of helping a person get a restraining order to restrain that person from them or getting them into a shelter, we do whatever we can to help.”

Police and the courts have also begun referring abusers to anti-violence resources.

“We teach them how to live a non-violent life in a relationship,” Ralph Peters of the family violence intervention program said.

Former Lafayette police chief Ralph Peters is the executive director of The Family Violence Intervention Program.

The 26-week long program helps abusers find out why they are violent and gives them therapy to end their abusiveness.

“With all the attention deservedly so being given to victims, no one was trying to do anything to deal with the perpetrators to stop them,” Peters said.

Peters and Gibson both urge victims of domestic violence to come forward before it’s too late.

“You have to take those steps to where you can improve your lifestyle,” Gibson said.

Kendria LaFleur

Kendria LaFleur

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