Rate of women murdered by men in La. increases for 5th straight year

Rate of women murdered by men in La. increases for 5th straight year
(Thomas, Rachael)

(WAFB) - The Violence Policy Center, based out of Washington, D.C., has released its annual report on female murder victims killed by men, and the report reveals a disturbing trend for Louisiana.

The report, entitled, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of Homicide Data, tracks female victims killed by men in single victim/single offender incidents and ranks all the states in the country from highest to lowest. This year’s report, which analyzes data from 2016, ranks Louisiana in the #2 position, up from #3 in 2017. The report also shows Louisiana’s rate of women killed by men has been going up steadily for the last five years.

This year’s report shows Louisiana’s rate at 2.42 homicides per 100,000 females.

“We are deeply concerned that women in Louisiana continue to be killed at a rate twice the national average. Behind each of these numbers is a woman whose life was cut short, in most cases by a current or former intimate partner,” said Mariah Wineski, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Wineski says there are numerous factors that contribute to the state’s high domestic homicide rate, such as inadequate funding for victim services, criminal justice policies that fail to prioritize victim safety, and abusers' easy access to firearms.

“Domestic violence programs across our state work tirelessly to promote the safety of people experiencing domestic violence, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. If we are serious about preventing domestic homicides, every entity in our state has a role to play,” Wineski said.

The report states of the women killed by men, 69 percent were killed with guns. Domestic violence advocates say they’re hopeful recently enacted legislation requiring the transfer of firearms from convicted abusers and those with protection orders will have an impact on this high number. SB 231 of this year’s regular session requires sheriffs to oversee the process of transferring firearms from those legally unable to possess them.

“Louisiana has made steady progress over the past several years. We’ve established state level firearm prohibitions, as well as a mechanism for securing transfer of the firearms. However, it can take years for legislative changes to be fully implemented in local communities,” Wineski said.

This is the 21st year in which the Violence Policy Center has published this report. They say from 1996 to 2016, the rate of women killed by men nationwide dropped from 1.57 per 100,000 women to 1.2 in 2016, which is a decrease of 24 percent. Despite this, Louisiana’s rates have continued to rise.

The report also shows black women are disproportionately killed across the country, being murdered by men at a rate of more than double white females: 2.62 per 100,000 versus 1.03 per 100,000.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is October.

“Louisiana clearly has work to do. There is a cultural shift that must occur if we want to see real progress toward preventing homicides. It is time for our state’s priorities to reflect our true values of safety, equality, and freedom from violence,” Wineski said.

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