Louisiana ranks top 10 in domestic violence murders

Louisiana ranks top 10 in domestic violence murders
Photo provided by MGN Online.

POSTED: Monday, August 12, 2013 - 7:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 11:31am

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputies said a domestic dispute ended with suicide this weekend. A father turned the gun on himself after holding his wife, son, and other relatives hostage. Judy Benitez, the Executive Director of the Iris Domestic Violence Center of Baton Rouge, said this tragic situation is all too familiar here in Louisiana.

"Louisiana consistently ranks in the top 10 in domestic violence homicides. As of last year we had the 4th highest rate of female homicide," Benitez said. "We have a higher than average number of multiple deaths in a domestic violence homicide situation."

Benitez has worked in the violence against women field for 24-years. Benitez said domestic violence murders like the one that happened this weekend occurs more than anyone would like to see.

"Well it occurred to me that I was glad that no one other than the offender was killed," Benitez said. "At the same time, I know there were several children that we present, and that had to have been absolutely terrifying and traumatic for everyone concerned."

Benitez said there are some warning signs leading up to domestic abuse. If your partner has difficulty controlling anger or tries to control what you do, watch out.

"If someone's really controlling and wants to dictate who you can talk to, what you can wear, and where you can go and with whom. Those are all really bad signs of someone who is very controlling, and it's probably not going to get better," Benitez said.

"Every situation is a little bit different, so it really depends on what's going on and what the nature of that relationship is," Benitez said. "If she's interested in applying for a protective order, we can help her with that. We provide both legal advocacy by non-attorneys and legal representation by attorneys in that process."

Louisiana has 18 domestic violence centers, and combined, they've received over 35,000 crisis calls this passed year. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office has made more than 300 arrests in domestic cases in 2013.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a domestic abuse situation -- Benitez said don't hesitate to contact the Iris Center. For more information and the phone number to their Crisis Hotline, go to their website: http://www.stopdv.org/  

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