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The Implications Louisiana’s Budget Plan Could Have On Domestic Violence Shelters

February 29, 2024 10:37 PM | Anonymous

Gov. Jeff Landry's proposed state budget has raised concerns due to its significant reduction in funding for domestic violence victims, particularly for shelters. The change will reform the current criminal justice overhaul from 2017. The removal of $7 million from the state operating budget could result in the closure of new shelters and the scaling back of existing ones, affecting services for victims across Louisiana.

Domestic violence is highlighted as a critical public safety issue in Louisiana, with statistics showing high rates of female homicide and a significant portion of victims being killed by intimate partners. Despite this, the reasons behind the funding cut for domestic violence shelters remain unclear, as the Landry administration has not provided a response.

The $7 million allocation for shelters, added by the Louisiana Senate in 2023, was initially understood by advocates to be a permanent increase in funding. However, the Landry administration has described it as temporary, one-time support, leading to uncertainty regarding future funding.

Gov. Landry's focus on other public safety measures, such as increasing prison expenses and funding for state police, alongside the reduction in funding for domestic violence shelters, has raised questions about budget priorities. Advocates argue that domestic violence shelters play a crucial role in supporting crime victims and preventing further violence.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor's investigation in 2021 highlighted the urgent need for more shelter beds for domestic violence victims, pointing out the significant gap between available spaces and the number of requests for shelter beds. The lack of a domestic violence shelter in central Louisiana, despite high demand, underscores the necessity of adequate funding and support for such services.

Advocates emphasize the importance of domestic violence shelters in saving lives and breaking the cycle of violence. The potential closure of satellite locations and the inability to expand services, such as children's programming, due to funding cuts could have detrimental effects on victims and their families.

Legislators, including Senate President Pro Tempore Regina Barrow, have expressed disagreement with Gov. Landry's decision to remove funding for domestic violence shelters and plan to prioritize reinstating the $7 million allocation during budget discussions.

Overall, the proposed budget cuts for domestic violence shelters in Louisiana have raised concerns among advocates, legislators, and communities about the impact on victim support services and public safety efforts.


 
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Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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