Protecting Domestic Violence Victims: Attorney General’s Office launches community education campaign
Published 9:43 am Wednesday, June 8, 2022
BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana ranks fifth in domestic homicides, and the Attorney General’s Office wants Louisiana citizens to know there are laws to protect survivors from their abusers – including the Firearm Divestiture Program, which became law in 2018 and is designed to protect domestic violence victims, law enforcement, and the community.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the presence of a firearm in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%. But Louisiana has laws to help keep dangerous abusers away from a weapon. Those convicted of a domestic violence felony or who have a domestic violence protective order against them are not able to possess a firearm or purchase a new firearm.
The Attorney General’s Office has taken several steps to combat domestic violence including, but not limited to, conducting dozens of domestic violence training for law enforcement and securing and delivering thousands of pieces of brand new clothes to domestic violence shelters. This latest community education effort includes billboards, radio ads, and social media posts designed to raise awareness of the life-saving divestiture program.
Mariah Wineski, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, highlighted the importance of the awareness campaign, saying, “Louisiana has strong laws in place that require domestic abusers to transfer firearms out of their possession. Public awareness of these laws is crucial, so that individuals know what protections exist and how to access them.”
Louisiana law requires all firearms of domestic abusers to be turned over to the Sheriff’s Office or a third party with the approval and supervision of the Sheriff’s Office.
“The Attorney General’s Office will continue working with law enforcement to protect victims of domestic violence and ensure the rights of law-abiding citizens,” said the Attorney General’s Domestic Violence Coordinator Wanjennia Atkins. “Our office has consistently supported survivors and law enforcement, and we remain committed to these efforts.”