MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Studies show Louisiana has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, but one Monroe organization is trying to change that.
The Wellspring is speaking out because February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. They’re hoping to end domestic violence, but also offering help to victims.
The Wellspring has resources to help victims with things like reporting sexual assault, counseling, support groups, and medical and legal advocacy. Those services reach nine parishes throughout Northeast Louisiana.
Sexual Assault Program Coordinator Melanie Clark says they’re also teaching people what a healthy relationship looks like so they can identify abuse better.
"Our prevention education is directed toward teaching people, teens, and adults, about healthy relationships. Such as what healthy relationships look like, what consent looks like, what respect looks like, what boundaries look like in a healthy relationship,” Clark explains. “It opens a conversation when things are not healthy."
In fact, the organization just reached new heights. The Wellspring recently jumped from level one accreditation to level three accreditation for its sexual assault center. The new accreditation also means they'll get more funding for these programs.
The Wellspring says it's important to offer these services for victims, but it's also important that we work together to end domestic violence in the first place.
"To work to end sexual violence, we have to work together as a community and address this as a community and societal level problem that we want to eliminate while at the same time taking care of those who have experienced sexual assault," Clark says.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, please call the hotline.
888-411-1333 (24 hr. Crisis line)