Domestic violence homicides and incidents increase during holiday season

Domestic violence homicides and incidents increase during holiday season - 6:30 a.m.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana is now the number two ranked state in the country when it comes to domestic violence homicides, according to data from the Violence Policy Center.

The most recent incident happened this past weekend in East Baton Rouge Parish.

In the majority of cases, the victim is a female in an abusive relationship. An organization is working to decrease the number of domestic violence incidents across the Capital region and state.

The IRIS Domestic Violence Center has been serving the Capital region for over 35 years.

Its mission is to provide safety and protection to domestic violence victims. The center provides emergency shelter, free legal services and counseling for clients. It also has a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims or observers of abuse to call in for help.

Louisiana typically falls into the top five states for domestic violence homicide. This past year, the Bayou State rose to the second highest in the nation.

IRIS executive director Lynne Medley-Long said studies show all other states having at least a 31 percent decrease in the number of female homicides related to domestic violence.

Louisiana has not seen a decrease in recent years.

"Unfortunately, in Louisiana, I characterize our situation relative to domestic violence as follows: we are living in a dangerous place and a dangerous time," said Medley Long. "In 2015, there were 51 in Louisiana. 51 female homicides associated with domestic violence. In 2016 there were 58. We've seen about five or six since the historic flooding,"

The leader of the organization said holidays and catastrophic events tend to result in higher numbers of domestic violence incidents and homicides.

"This is the holiday season and according to the National Center for Domestic Violence, there are known upticks in domestic violence incidents around holidays. It could be associated with the increase in alcohol consumption, family stress around the holidays, the finances of families, a number of factors contributing to why we see an increase in domestic violence incidents around the holidays," Medley-Long added.

Medley-Long said the main thing she wants victims to know is that there are resources available in the Capital region. She encourages victims to call the center even if he or she is not ready to leave an abusive relationship.

To reach the center, call 225-389-3001 or visit

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