Victims' advocate believes domestic violence awareness is on the rise

The NBA is now dealing with its own domestic assault allegations, as police arrested Charlotte Hornets Forward Jeff Taylor on misdemeanor charges last week.

After that alleged incident, and in the weeks since the shocking Ray Rice assault video surfaced, some advocates across the metro area believe people have become more attuned to the issue of domestic violence.

"It's both about encouraging victims to come forward, but really it's about changing cultural attitudes towards domestic violence," said Tania Tetlow, director of Tulane Law School's Domestic Violence Clinic.

Tetlow believes awareness is surging, but also a willingness to improve the situation.

"[People have] had to actually see the harm of domestic violence and to think about it and the public response has been overwhelming in ways that I think may be a sea change in our reaction to domestic violence. It's a really big deal," she said.

State Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, says she and other lawmakers are working on drawing up several domestic violence-related bills for next year's session.

One key step she says is needed - is actually assigning a legal definition to the problem.

"All different types of terms are used throughout the criminal code and throughout the civil code, so we need to come up with the absolute definition for what domestic violence is in Louisiana," Moreno said.

Moreno said the legislature took some big steps already this year. One of them was creating the domestic violence prevention task force.

Now, after the recent NFL scandals, she believes the response will lead to even more change.

"Some of the domestic violence advocates who have been doing this for many, many years said that they have never felt such a change, or seen such a movement start to happen with domestic violence in Louisiana," Moreno said.

"Nobody's for [domestic violence], but it's a matter of caring about it and seeing it as a big, important issue that affects millions of women in this country and that is really worth focusing on, and that's now happening in a way that it has never before," Tetlow said.

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