Domestic abuse specialists speak to coalition

Published 4:30 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services heard a presentation from seven specialists in the field of domestic violence abuse on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 9:30 a.m. at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church. Charlette Fornea, executive director of ADAPT, Inc. talked about free assistance to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence including one on one counseling regardless of when the abuse occurred in a lifetime. Call ADAPT at 985-732-4961.

Pamela Hutcheson and Stacy Hebert from Southeast Advocates for Family Empowerment (SAFE) communicated about teen dating, housing programs and self-referral not to mention rental assistance through Housing and Urban Development. At the end of the housing assistance program the residence can belong to the person or family. Contact SAFE at 985-542-8384.

The Council on Aging shared that Louisiana Public transportation is available for victims of domestic violence or anyone by calling 732-6868 or 839-4535. Ana Lopez, Staff Attorney, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation, talked about Civil Protective Orders, calling 911 and taking pictures to document injuries or threats in domestic violence situations. Paula Charles, Managing Attorney, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corp. spoke about free attorney consultations on the second and fourth Mondays at the Franklinton courthouse basement.

Laurie Tigert and Jo Perry from Safe Harbor talked about 24-hour crisis intervention, empowerment groups, children’s center, temporary housing and safety planning for leaving as well as bringing pets along with the person who is leaving a domestic violence situation. Call Safe Harbor at 1-888-411-1333.

Sheri Eastridge from The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence shared that Louisiana has the third-highest incidence of women killed by men, which is twice the national average. The organization provides current research, advocacy support and statewide hotlines. “Domestic Violence affects someone you know and 20 percent say domestic violence occurs before the age of 12 years old,” she said.

Eastridge also talked about a policy change in Louisiana, in that Louisiana no longer protects just members of the opposite sex — the law now includes same-sex partners. For free, confidential information 24 hours per day, call Louisiana Statewide Hotline at 1-888-411-1333.

There will be a Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Nielsen’s Pharmacy from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. As a result of partnering with the DEA and the Bogalusa Police Department to safely dispose of your old medications, all prescriptions (Schedule II-V controlled and non-controlled substances) and over the counter medications will be accepted.

Gail Brigham, Coalition coordinator, reported on involvement in the Washington Parish Free Fair where the coalition had a booth near the rodeo arena and materials were distributed on prescription drug abuse and underage drinking. Members of the Washington Parish Youth Coalition worked the booth for extra credit, which will go toward winning a trip to the annual Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Conference in Washington, D.C.

A representative from Choices, Brightside Social Services, Well Ahead, Louisiana Healthy Community Coalition Region 9 and Our Lady of the Angels Hospital gave information on their latest community endeavors.

ADAPT, Inc., talked about Red Ribbon Week in all public and private schools on Oct. 23-31. Schools in Washington Parish are celebrating the week with the theme, “Your Future Is Key. Stay Drug-Free!” Students received red and washable red wristbands to wear every day.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 14, with Maj. Percy Knight of the Bogalusa Police Department and the showing of “Chasing the Dragon,” a film on opioid addiction. There will be a committee meeting at 8:30 a.m., and a coalition meeting at 9:30 a.m.

This article is by Gail Brigham, who is the treasurer of the Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services.