‘Ultimate form of power and control:’ Domestic violence advocates, law enforcement see uptick in strangulation cases
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There’s a disturbing trend being seen when it comes to domestic violence cases across East Baton Rouge Parish.
District Attorney Hillar Moore says 2021 was the worst year ever when it comes to domestic and dating violence-related homicides.
While this year’s numbers aren’t up to that level yet, advocates are dealing with more cases of victims being strangled.
One spot on Government Street in Baton Rouge has been open since 2020, with the goal of helping victims and survivors of domestic and dating violence.
“All of our services are free, confidential and voluntary,” said Suzanne Hamilton, the executive director of the Capital Area Family Justice Center.
The non-profit organization provides law enforcement support on site, a case manager, medical resources, and the opportunity for victims to connect with the folks over at the Iris Domestic Violence Center if they need immediate help.
“There’s no cookie cutter. We’re not going to tell somebody that they must leave a situation or they need to stay in it. We listen to everyone’s stories and we help devise a plan based on their individual needs,” said Hamilton.
But lately, they’ve been seeing a disturbing trend come through their doors.
“35% of the victims who we are serving are reporting strangulation. It’s pressure around the neck. Domestic violence is all about power and control, and strangulation is the ultimate form of power and control,” said Hamilton.
There are some things you can look out for, like red spots, bloody or red eyes, a swollen lip, bruising, scratches, and cord or rope burns.
“We’ve had victims who have come in and reported strangulation. They were actually still experiencing visible symptoms of strangulation, like light headedness, falling asleep. And so we transported them to the local hospital,” said Hamilton.
“It’s a really difficult case for victims obviously. And it’s a tell-tale sign that things are not going well,” said Hillar Moore, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office has already reported 33 domestic violence-related strangulation arrests in 2022. The grand total number for 2021 was 40 arrests across the parish.
“That’s an indication that the next encounter between the two could be deadly, and it’s one that’s real worrisome,” said Moore.
Hamilton says if someone is strangled, that victim is 7 times more likely to be a victim of a homicide.
“Rely on your support system. family, friends, and then we have resources within the community,” she said.
There are resources for victims of domestic violence:
- Iris Domestic Violence Center: 24 Hour Crisis Line is (225) 389-3001 or (800) 541-9706
- Capital Area Family Justice Center: (225) 239-7880
- The Butterfly Society: (225) 347-7725
- Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Statewide Hotline: 1 (888) 411-1333
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul Sweet Dreams Shelter: (225) 383-7837
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