Domestic violence programs throughout Louisiana are staggering after Gov. Bobby Jindal’s most-recent budget cuts. The model being proposed will cut “costly residential care” and allow for “more-productive” approaches such as short-term hotel stays and support for family members. The problem? This will not work. This is where we were over 20 years ago, and under this model, lives were lost.
A woman staying in a hotel or returning to friends or family when she leaves her abuser is placed in extreme danger. Since Louisiana consistently leads the nation in domestic violence deaths, it is clear that the security of shelters and confidential locations are necessary to save lives.
Everyone understands the need to balance the budget, and everyone should be prepared to do their part. However, this level of cut is too deep and too dangerous for this type of program. Gov. Jindal must rethink the numbers and make a plan to keep shelters open in Louisiana.
Terrie Queen Autrey
social worker, writer