Special prosecutor focuses on domestic violence in the workplace

Special prosecutor focuses on domestic violence in the workplace

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a problem that's all too common in Louisiana, and even across the country. Domestic violence. And it doesn't just happen at home - it also happens at work.

Melanie Fields has her sights set on this potentially fatal problem. The Special Prosecutor for Domestic Violence in East Baton Rouge parish, spoke to the Rotary Club today.

One of her goals is to find real solutions beyond just a restraining order. That is a court directive that prohibits contact between certain people.

In many cases, victims get such an order, but the abuser disregards it and attacks again. In the end, Fields says that legal document is just a piece of paper and there needs to be more police involvement, other, stronger, action from the courts, and counseling for both victims and abusers.

"All three of those will usually assist victims to move forward. And sometimes assist defendants to move or to change their behaviors," Fields said.

One big obstacle is that victims do not always report the abuse. Fields says she's working with hospitals and police to encourage more victims to speak up.

"Law enforcement are working with us to help encourage victims to report when they do come to hospital. We're working with those victims to encourage them to partake in counseling."

And Fields told her audience today that this problem goes deep enough to affect the Louisiana economy. More victims mean increased healthcare costs, missed work days, and decreased worker performance.

"I care from the criminal aspect, but it's important as a community from an economic standpoint. And just to help break the cycle of violence."

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