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Domestic violence a widespread problem in Louisiana

Sometimes, it remains hidden and private, out of public view for a long time. In many homes in Louisiana and elsewhere, behind closed doors, there is domestic violence going on between boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife. Even more tragically, sometimes children are victimized and brutalized too. There are domestic violence cases involving siblings and other relatives, but the majority of the time, it occurs between people either in a marriage or an ongoing relationship.

The majority of victims of domestic violence are women, although there are a smaller number of men who are also targeted. The law can regard domestic violence as a criminal offense of either a misdemeanor or felony nature, with the more serious charge used for when the harm inflicted is greater or when there are aggravating factors. Those factors might include the abuser using a gun or knife or breaking into a residence to inflict harm.

One frequent pattern is an abuser promising not to do it again. After such a promise is made, however, the abuse often occurs again. Recent statistics in some areas of Louisiana unfortunately show domestic violence cases to be increasing.

Victims of domestic violence, particularly women with children, often feel like they are powerless and must stay in the relationship or marriage with the abuser, often for economic reasons and the lack of a safe place to go. There are a variety of programs and shelters available and programs that provide counseling and advice. Additionally, it is possible to get a protective order barring the abuser from continuing to bother the victim or their children. Violations can result in arrest and incarceration. A family law attorney can assist a victim in obtaining such an order and advise them as to other legal options that they have, including divorce.

Source: Tri-Parish Times, "Fight for Freedom: Victim recalls year's of husband's abuse" Claudette Olivier, Oct. 30, 2013

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