MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A new report out this week says men in Louisiana are killing women at one of the highest rates in the country.
The report, which is released annually by Washington, D.C. based Violence Policy Center, shows that female homicide victimization rates in Louisiana have risen six straight years, from 2012 to 2017. The latest report analyzed data from 2017, the most recent available.
The report ranks states by female victims killed by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents. Louisiana has the second-highest rate, topped only by Alaska. At 2.64 homicides per 100,000 females, Louisiana's rate was twice the national average in 2017.
According to the Violence Policy Center, this is the 9th year in a row that Louisiana has ranked among the top ten states.
The study also found that 92 percent of women killed by men were killed by someone they knew and the most common weapon used was a gun, according to VPC. The study said 62 percent were "wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers."
In a news release, Mariah Wineski, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that while female homicide rates are beginning to increase slightly nationwide, the sharp upward trend in Louisiana is especially alarming. “These numbers point to a crisis in our state. Women are being murdered at sky-high rates, in most cases by current or former intimate partners.”
“Our state’s funding for domestic violence victim services is woefully inadequate, and in many communities criminal justice practices still fail to hold abusers accountable before a homicide occurs,” Wineski said.
The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence says dedicated dockets, specialized law enforcement and prosecutorial units, and domestic violence-specific risk assessments have worked to reduce domestic violence in other states. Wineski says victims in Louisiana face barriers such as economic inequality, housing insecurity, and easy firearm access.
Meanwhile, the nation's Violence Against Women Act, originally passed in 1994, expired in February of 2019. The U.S. Senate failed to reauthorize the legislation which provides funding for victim service and criminal justice efforts nationwide.
Earlier this year, the House has passed a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. After passing the House in April, the bill was received by the Senate on April 8. No action has been taken on the bill since April 10.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.