EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - To hear the number of domestic violence-related cases that came through the East Baton Rouge District Attorney's office last year is astounding.
"Our office served 1,800 victims of domestic violence," said Hillar Moore, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney.
Mayor-president Sharon Weston Broome, along with other elected city officials said enough is enough. "Baton Rouge is second in the nation of people dying from domestic violence and that's too high and that's unacceptable," said Broome.
Family Court Judge Hunter Greene said he has seen a shift in the number of domestic-related cases in his courtroom. "It's every other week. That's twice a month that the day is filled with domestic violence cases. If you saw our docket, it's tremendous, almost overwhelming," he said.
Coming off the heels of a domestic violence shooting that left a mother of three paralyzed, the DA's office has launched a pilot program in the hopes of stopping the revolving door of violence. According to Moore, a judge, prosecutor, and public defender will be at a parish prison once a week to identify high and low-risk offenders, and to offer help.
"This pilot will assist us in quickly asking for protective order as a condition of bond for vulnerable victims, while allowing low-risk offenders out of jail. It will allow us to quickly offer possible mitigation, such as the 26-week domestic violence intervention program or mental health evaluation and counseling, or it will allow us to determine that we cannot prosecute," said Moore.
In discussing other options for domestic violence victims, the DA's office pointed to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital's violence intervention program, a joint project launched last year. When a domestic violence victim comes to that hospital, they're met by a social worker, who quickly tries to determine their needs. "Engaging patients in the hospital during their recovery is an opportunity to change their lives, empower victims, and reduce further instances of violence," said Moore.
Community resources available to domestic violence victims include: