The Domestic Violence Unit was established in the year 2000
in order to provide comprehensive victim assistance for the
victims of domestic violence. The Domestic Violence
Unit is made up of two full-time Domestic Violence
Specialist. The Unit also contains
other Patrol Domestic Violence Specialist who cover the
Patrol shifts. A deputy is also responsible for helping the
victims of domestic violence with protective orders and
filing for Crime Victim’s Reparations.
These Specialists respond on-scene to domestic violence
crimes and immediately begin working with the victims. They
fully investigate all domestic violence crimes making the
victim’s safety their top priority. They assist in safety
planning, provide transportation to shelter, keep the
victims informed of the status of their case, and provide
court accompaniment when requested.
The Domestic Violence Specialists have been instrumental in
influencing policies, practices, and even laws. Members of
the PSS section testified before the Louisiana Legislature
to facilitate the passage of Louisiana R.S. 46:2140.B, the
Predominant Aggressor Law. In the past, victims were being
unnecessarily arrested when conflicting accounts of domestic
violence incidents were provided to law enforcement. Through
the passage of this law, officers must now identify the
predominant aggressor based on a list of relevant factors
and arresting only that party. This law has greatly
diminished the number of dual arrests made: arrest, which
only re-victimized the domestic violence victim.
Currently the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office is working
in collaboration with Metropolitan Battered Women's Shelter
by providing a representative of their organization,
Ms. Tamara Joseph,
to assist with domestic related protective orders. Ms.
Joseph's office is located within the Police Social Services
Office in Thibodaux. The information that Ms. Joseph
receives is confidential unless the victim request that she
speak with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office. You
may contact Ms. Joseph by calling 985-449-4477 or by
YOU REFUSE TO LEAVE YOUR ABUSER
Find a safe place to go
to. If possible, leave the area immediately. DO NOT run
to rooms that have weapons in them (such as the kitchen)
or into rooms that do not have an exit (such as a
bathroom or closet).
Call the police as soon
Make an emergency kit.
This kit should include important papers (birth
certificates, social security cards, medical
information), an emergency credit card, money, change
for a pay phone, checkbook, clothes for you and your
children, and (if necessary) formula for an infant.
Memorize all important
Talk with close family
and friends. Come up with a word that if you use they
will know to call for help.
Remember, you are
important and special. No one deserves to live in fear
YOU HAVE LEFT YOU ABUSER
Change ALL of your
Get caller ID so that
you will know who is calling and so that you have a
record of who has called.
Save and document all
contacts, messages, injuries, or other incidents
involving the batterer.
Change locks, if the
batterer has a key.
Avoid staying alone; however, if this is not possible, please
let someone close to you know where you will be at and when
to expect you back. If you have not called or returned, have
them notify the police.
Have an escape route planned at your house.
you have to meet your former partner, do so in a public
place, and let numerous people know about the meeting. Try
not to go alone.
Try not to take the same route to school and work everyday.
Try not to settle into a routine.
Notify school, work, and childcare centers.
Call a domestic violence program for battered women for
information, legal referrals, and support.
you leave the relationship, or are thinking of leaving, take
important papers and documents with you to enable you to
apply for benefits or take legal action. Important papers
you should take include social security cards and birth
certificates for you and your children, your marriage
license, leases or deeds in your name or both your and your
partner's names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank and
charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of
income for you and your partner (pay stubs or W-2's), and
any documents of past incidents of abuse (photos, police
reports, medical records, etc.).
What is Abuse?
Abuse is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and
control over another person through fear and intimidation,
which could include the threat or use of violence. Abuse
happens when one person believes they arehe or she is entitled to
control another. Assault, battering, and other violent
actions associated with domestic violence are crimes.
There are many different types of abuse. Abuse may include
emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using
children, threats, controlling mail privileges, phone
privileges, intimidation, isolation, and a variety of other
behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation, power and
control. Abuse occurs in all cultures; the perpetrators are
most commonly the men of the family. Women are most commonly
the victims of violence. Elder and child abuse are also
prevalent. Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one
or more of the following categories:
- The abuser physically attacks the victim. Aggressive
behavior can range from bruising to murder. It often begins
with what is commonly excused as trivial contacts, which
escalate into more frequent and serious attacks.
- Physical attack by the abuser will often lead to sexual
violence where the victim is forced to have sexual
intercourse with the abuser or take part in unwanted sexual
- The abuser's mental abuse can include constant verbal
abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, extensive
jealousy, isolating the victim from friends and family,
deprivation of physical and economic resources, and
destruction of personal property.
Abuse escalates. It often starts with the little things that
would just embarrass the victim such as calling the victim
names, joking about their weight, and degrading love ones.
Then they will start pushing, pinching, and giving commands.
This then turns into kicking, hitting, slamming the victim
into things, breaking bones, and black eyes. The next step
is the worst, DEATH.
After reading that, most people think why would someone
start a relationship with a person that would abuse them.
Well, just like every other relationship, things usually
start out great. They begin with flowers, candy, dinners, movies,
shopping and spending quality time together. The abuser will then
start the controlling, jealousy, and arguments. The abuse
then starts to escalate from there. Most of you are
thinking, that the victim should know that he or she should get
out of the relationship; however, how many of you have gotten
into a fight with a partner and then made up. In an abusive
relationship it is much the same, except the making up last
much longer. There are promises to change and speeches of
love. Inevitably, things go back to the rocky road of abuse.
The cycle has now began. For the rest of the relationship, you
will be able to see the signs of abuse and then the making
this leads us to a very intriguing question. How can you
tell if the person you are interested in is an abuser?
Unfortunately, there is not a set description that we can
give you; however, there are personality traits that if a
person has several of these traits (usually three or more)
it is a good chance that your prospective partner could be
an abuser. If your partner only has one or two of these
traits, they could be very exaggerated. Please do not fall
into the typical stereotypes that say that abuse only occurs
between a male abuser and a female victim. Actually, abuse
may occur in any relationship, gay and lesbian, parents and
children, dating partners, or married partners.
In the beginning of a relationship an abuser will say that
their jealousy is a sign of love and needing to be around
you; jealousy has nothing to do with love, actually
it is the complete opposite of love. It is a sign of
control, possessiveness, and lack of trust. The abuser will
question their partner about whom they talk to, accuse them
of flirting, or be jealous of time they spend with family,
friends, or children. As jealousy progresses, the abuser may
call them frequently or drop by unexpectedly. The abuser may
refuse to let them work for fear they will meet someone
else, or even do strange things like checking the car
mileage or asking friends to watch her.
At first the batterer will say that this behavior is because
of concern for the partner’s safety and well-being. The
abuser will be angry if the partner is "late" coming back
from the store or elsewhere and will question them closely
about where they went, to whom they spoke, etc. As this
behavior gets worse the abuser may not let the partner make
personal decisions about the house, their clothing, going to
church; the abuser may keep all the money or even make the
partner ask permission to leave the house or room.
Many battered people dated or knew their abuser for less
than six months before they were married, engaged, or living
together. An abuser comes on like a whirl-wind claiming,
"You're the only person I could ever talk to", "I've never
felt loved like this by anyone". The abuser will pressure
the partner to commit to the relationship in such a way that
later the victim may feel very guilty or that she is
"letting the abuser down" if she wants to slow down
involvement or break-off the relationship.
Abusive people will expect their partner to meet all of
their needs; the abuser expects the woman to be the perfect
wife/husband, mother/father, lover, friend, and will say
things like "If you love me, I'm all you need - you're all I
need". They are supposed to take care of everything for the
abuser emotionally and in the home.
The abusive person tries to cut the victim off from all
resources. If they have friends of the opposite sex, they
are whores; if they have friends of the same sex then they
are homosexual; if they are close to their family, they are
taking time away from their relationship and they don’t care
about the abuser. The abuser accuses people who are the
victim’s support of "causing trouble". The abuser may want
to live in the country without a phone, may not let the
partner use the car (or have one that is reliable), or may
try to keep the partner from working, going to school or
BLAMES OTHERS FOR EVERYTHING:
If the abuser is chronically unemployed, someone is out to
get them; someone is always doing them wrong. The abuser may
make mistakes and then blame the victim for upsetting them
and keeping them from concentrating on the work. The abuser
will tell the partner that they are at fault for almost
anything that goes wrong. The abuser will tell the victim
"You make me so mad", "You're hurting me by not doing what I
tell you", "I can't help being angry". The abuser really
makes the decision about what they think or feel but will
use feelings to manipulate the victim. Less obvious are
claims that "You make me happy", "You control how I feel".
An abuser is easily
insulted, claiming their feelings are hurt when they are
really mad, or taking the slightest setbacks as personal
attacks. The abuser will rant and rave about the injustice
of things that happen - things that are really just a part
of life, like being asked to work overtime, getting a
traffic ticket, being told a behavior is annoying, being
asked to help with chores.
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND CHILDREN:
This is a person who kills or punishes animals brutally or
is insensitive to their pain and suffering. The abuser may
expect children to do things that are way beyond their
ability (whips a two-year-old for wetting a diaper) or the
abuser may tease children or young brothers and sisters
until they cry (65% of those who beat their partner will
also abuse the children). The abuser may not want the
children to eat at the table or will expect them to stay in
their room all evening when the abuser is home.
OF FORCE IN SEX: The
abuser might say that this is “playful” sex.
of person may like to throw the victim down and hold them
down during sex. The abuser may want to act out fantasies
during sex where the victim is helpless, and suggest that the idea of rape is exciting. The abuser may show
little concern about whether the victim wants to have sex
and will use sulking behavior or anger to manipulate them
into compliance. The abuser may start having sex with the
victim while they are sleeping, or demand sex when they are
ill or tired. This
could also lead to firm sex roles between the abuser and
victim. The abuser expects the victim to
serve them, perhaps saying that the victim must stay at
home, that they must obey in all things - even things that
are criminal in nature. The abuser will see victim as
inferior, responsible for menial tasks, stupid, and unable
to be a whole person without a relationship.
In addition to saying
things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this can be
seen when the abuser degrades the victim, cursing them, or
running down their accomplishments. The abuser will tell the
victim that they are stupid and unable to function without
them. This may involve waking the victim up to verbally
abuse them or not letting them go to sleep.
JEKYLL & MR. HYDE:
Many victims are confused by their abuser's "sudden" mood
changes - they may think that the abuser has some mental
problem because one minute the abuser is really nice and the
next minute the abuser is exploding. Explosiveness and
moodiness are typical of people who abuse their partners,
and these behaviors are related to other characteristics
such as hypersensitivity.
four signs are found in those who are indeed batterers:
PAST BATTERING: An abuser may say that they have
hit partners in the past but it was their partner’s fault or
it was only one time. The partner may hear from relatives or
ex-partners that the person is abusive. A batterer will beat
any partner they are with if the victim was with them long
enough for violence to begin: situational circumstances
do not make a person abusive.
THREATS OF VIOLENCE:
This includes any threat of physical force meant to control
a victim; "Ill slap your mouth off", "I'll kill you", "I'll
break you neck". Though most people do not threaten their
partners, a batterer will try to excuse the threats by
saying that "everybody talks like that".
DESTROYING OR HITTING OBJECTS:
This behavior is used as
punishment (breaking loved possessions) but is used mostly
to terrorize the victim into submission. The abuser may beat
on tables with their fist or throw objects around or near
the victim. Again, this is a very remarkable behavior - not
only is this a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, but
there is great danger when someone thinks they have the
"right" to punish or frighten their partner.
FORCE DURING AN ARGUMENT:
This may involve a batterer
holding a partner down, physically restraining them from
leaving the room and pushing or shoving. The abuser may
hold the victim against the wall and say, "You're going to
listen to me"!
average, a victim will leave their abuser 5 to 7 times before
Again, each time a victim will leave, the abuser will use 5 to
7 excuses to get them back. These include:
The Sweet Baby
syndrome: "Oh, sweet baby, please come back... I can't
live without you... I love you so much baby, please come
back... I'll never hurt you again."
The Super Dad syndrome:
"I miss my kids so much...How can you do this to me...
How can you take my children away from me... I love them
so much... They need their daddy... Bring my kids back
to me... You're hurting them by keeping them away from
The Sobriety syndrome:
"If you come back to me, I'll quit drinking... I'll stop
using drugs... You can come home now... I've joined
AA/NA.. You know I only hurt you when I'm drunk".
The Religious syndrome:
"I went to church today... I was born again... God has
forgiven me, why can't you... Come home and we'll read
the Bible together... We'll go to church as a family and
everything will change".
I went to my pastor for counseling today... My counselor
wants to talk with you too... I'm seeing a professional
for my problems and you should too... I'm learning how
to control my anger in counseling... Let's go to
marriage counseling and things will be better... Come
home, I've changed".
The next two syndromes, Repeats of the above with
intermittent Somebody's Going to Die syndrome: "I'll
kill myself if you don't come back... Sweet baby, I
really love you and can't live without you... I'll kill
you and the kids if you don't come back... I've really
changed... I'll kill your family, friends, or co-workers
if you don't come back".
out of every four American women report they have been
physically abused by a husband of boyfriend at some point in
this country, an average of four women are murdered by an
intimate partner each day.
least 3.3 million children witness violence in their homes
After you decide to leave an abusive relationship, you must
devise a plan. You need to make sure that you have a place
to go to; that you can get a job, so that you can become
independent. Remember that when you leave an abuser the most
life-threatening period is the time right after you leave.
You must take precautions to ensure your safety and your
children’s safety, remember the safety tips from above. This
is the period that the abuser will try to lash out and show
you that they are in control. If you think that you need
help, call Police Social Service at 449-4477, unless it is an
urgent emergency then dial 911. For the long-term, please
consider seeking further education about domestic violence
so that it will not happen again.
Domestic violence does not affect many people.
Truth: Domestic violence is believed to be the most common,
but least reported crime in the United States.
Domestic violence is only physical abuse.
Truth: Physical abuse is
only a part of a larger pattern, which also includes
psychological, emotional, sexual and/or economic abuse.
the violent episodes don’t happen often, the situation is
not that serious.
Truth: Even if the violence
doesn’t happen often, the threat of it remains a terrorizing
means of control. No matter how far apart the violent
episodes are, each one is a reminder of the one that has
happened before and creates fear of the one that will happen
in the future.
Domestic violence is a momentary loss of temper.
Truth: Domestic violence is
just the opposite of a “momentary loss of temper.” The
abuser makes a conscious decision to abuse. The abuse is an
ongoing technique to enforce control.
the batterer is truly sorry and promises to reform, the
abuse is going to stop.
Truth: Remorse and begging
for forgiveness are manipulative methods used by abusers to
control their victims. Abusers rarely stop abusing. The
abuse often gets worse as time goes on.
Domestic violence is caused by drugs or alcohol.
Truth: Alcohol, drugs, and
stress are not causes of abuse. Not every batterer is a
substance abuser. Not every substance abuser is a batterer.
Substance abuse is not a cause of domestic violence.
Substance abuse may lower inhibitors which may increase the
frequency and severity of the abuse.
Domestic violence occurs more often in poorer families.
Truth: All racial and
cultural backgrounds, income and educational levels are at
risk for battering. Those having a higher income may have
more resources available to them and therefore may be less
likely to use shelter services; however, battering can
happen to anyone.
Victims get hit because they provoke their partners or have
the type of personality that seeks out abuse.
Truth: Many people look
only to the victim to understand why abuse happens. However,
battering is a choice and the person who hits is the only
one responsible for that behavior. No one can make another
person hit them. There is never a time when hitting is an
The victim can walk away from the relationship.
Truth: Victims believe that
they do not have anyplace to go where they will be safe from
the abuser. The abuser often knows the victim’s friends and
family members and can find a victim who leaves. It takes
money, a support network, and time for planning to ensure
that a victim can escape.
Victims have the types of personalities that seek out and
Truth: A number of studies
have determined that there are no set of personality traits
that describe victims of abuse. It is the abuser who is
responsible for the abuse, NOT THE VICTIM.
Lines for Help.
Chez Hope, Inc.
Battered Women's Program 1-800-738-8900
Louisiana Domestic Violence
All of this information and more can be found at