In recognition of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, the New Orleans City Council addressed domestic and family-level violence in Orleans and Jefferson parishes during a presentation at its March 13 meeting. Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge Morrell said there will be other presentations at the council throughout the month.
Rebecca Rainey, director of the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, said the center received 5,000 calls to its 24-hour crisis line (504-837-5400) in 2013 for trafficking, domestic violence and sexual violence, and the center helped serve nearly 600 family members. The week of March 3, 17 children under age 5 and their mothers received care, and from March 12-13, 22 women and children entered the center. The center — which serves eight parishes — also has Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking staff members and advocates helping sex trafficking victims and children.
Hedge Morrell also called for support in Baton Rouge, where state Rep. Helena Moreno and state Sen. J.P. Morrell (the councilmember's son) have introduced several anti-domestic violence bills in this year's legislative session. The House Criminal Justice Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss those bills later this month on March 24 and 26. The statewide organization Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence will host a rally with the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault April 16 at the Capitol.
The efforts follow other citywide moves to combat domestic violence, including the New Orleans Health Department's latest programs and the Orleans Parish District Attorney's renewed efforts against domestic violence offenders. Read Gambit's ongoing coverage of domestic violence rates and resources at bestofneworleans.com/dv.